My thoughts on guns, mental illness and "random" violence

I've tried to write a post about guns, about mental illness,  about "random" acts of violence a few times before. I put "random" in quotes because we almost always find out later that the act was not random at all. There are generally some precursors to someone acting out in that extreme manner. But anyway... I've tried to write a post of this type many times but I don't want to sound preachy or take one side or the other. Plus you can get very bogged down with politics and statistics. Instead, I'll just share some thoughts.

This may not be popular but here it is... I don't like guns. I never have. Not for me anyway. Coming from Texas, this is tantamount to not loving Jesus or football or barbecue. Jesus, football and bbq I am all very fond of, guns - not so much. Part of it was that I was never around them growing up. My father was a police officer in Guyana before he immigrated to the States and became a doctor. He owned one shotgun that he kept in the closet of his office and we weren't allowed to open the door... ever.

It's also tee-hee funny that I'm not a gun person knowing just how many law enforcement folks I've dated over the years. It's all romantic until you wake up at three in the morning and realize there's a gun under your pillow, two on the nightstand and another over the headboard. Why? Are we expecting a SWAT assault over bacon and eggs? Eek!

But I get the deal about guns. Folks have the right to arm and protect themselves. My problem is that anybody can have one. (License, shmicense - a-n-y body can have one) When I was in Florida over Thanksgiving I was astounded at the number of gun stores there. Again, coming from Texas for me to say Florida has a lot of gun stores - that's saying something. Not just gun stores, I mean we rolled past a one-stop shop where you could get a 2-piece chicken dinner, a case of Scotch and an assault rifle - and you only had to show ID to get the case of scotch -  does that seem like a good idea to anybody?

I guess I don't see the need for an average citizen to own an AK-47 or whatever the latest hot automatic killing machine is. No one is hunting elk with 50 rounds a minute. And what does an average Joe or Jane need a .50 caliber weapon for? Really? On the other hand, I have no problem with military folks, bodyguards, and law enforcement carrying. Or rational, level headed people owning a reasonable gun to protect themselves. Or sports enthusiasts owning a hunting rifle to bag a deer or whatever. Especially if those gun owners have registered the weapons and keep them out of the reach of children and fools. Is this truly being regulated? Again, I don't know. Is it for me to say that someone shouldn't have an arsenal in their basement?

As to the meme that guns don't kill people, people kill people. I agree and I disagree. I absolutely think if someone is determined to kill you and/or themselves - they are going to find a way to do it, guns or no guns. But I also think if someone is in the heat of the moment and has a gun, a situation that might have been easily diffused suddenly becomes a lot more complicated.

The other day on Fox News (I know, I know, consider the source), Dana Perino (Former Bush WH Press Secretary) was having a discussion with her cohorts abbout domestic violence. They seemed to feel the answer for women being assaulted was for them to arm themselves. Or just pick better men to date... O__o

When are we going to have a real discussion about mental health in this country? We throw the term "crazy" around easily but is it fair to say the ease to procure a weapon allows mentally unbalanced people a way to act on their instability? I don't know, I'm asking. Can "random" acts of violence be prohibited by restricting access to weapons? Is a more stringent look at mental health necessary not only in the country but within the black community?

I'm just throwing out thoughts as they occur to me, I'm interested to hear yours. Do we need tighter, stricter control on guns? Should we have as much focus on mental health as we do on overall wellness? What's it going to take (or is it even possible) to stop mass shootings? Do you own guns (you don't have to self-declare if you don't want to)? Are you okay with them around the house? Do share....