Obviously, one problem here is that, thanks to lax gun laws, near military grade weapons too readily fall into the hands of the mentally ill in the United States. Without taking away a person’s right to own a gun for purposes of self defense, there must be a way to keep semi-automatic weapons out of the hands of the sick.
The second problem is that we live in a deeply nihilistic culture, full of violence packaged as entertainment. Most can handle the media violence without becoming violent themselves, but a significant minority cannot. Therefore, those who cannot simply must be kept from owning weapons, period. It’s easier to tighten gun laws and fund mental health institutions than it is to change the broader entertainment and pop culture.
The irony is that the entertainment culture makes conservatives paranoid, leading them to insist on lax gun laws, and the lax gun laws in turn lead to dramatic killings, which heightens anxiety still more. It’s a vicious circle of contending liberties with both sides arguing that their side can handle either violent image viewing or gun access (depending on which form of liberty you affirm).
On his radio show today, Rush Limbaugh implied that entertainment liberty should be curbed rather than gun ownership:
If you people on the left are so eager to control things, we actually need some values control. We actually need some social guardrails.
And so the merry-go-round of recriminations spins.