When there are discussions about controlling guns in society, there is rarely a discussion about the human condition. It is my theory that everybody can be pushed to doing horrible things, given the right set of circumstances. There are two stories I want to tell you.
When I was a teenager, I was having a particularly bad time at my high school. People made fun of me and regularly rejected and humiliated me. One day at home, I decided to retrieve my father's shotgun from his hiding place under his bed. I sat there and held it and thought how I could use it in my situation at school. It was empowering. In my teenage mind, it it was a solution to my problem. Fortunately, my good reason took over or I weighed the obvious consequences, and I returned the weapon to its hiding place.
Just a few years later, I would recall the incident and it scared me. I vowed to never have guns in my home. In fact, I have never even shot a real gun.
My second story occurred decades later when I was married with children. My life was kind of perfect until 1996. During a two week period, both my wife and oldest son were diagnosed with different cancers. My wife died five months later and my son was expected to die for many months but survived and is still alive today.
I was devastated and the pain was beyond description. I didn't think I could go on, but somehow I managed the pain. It took me many years before I got back to emotional equilibrium. During this time, I realized there were things worse than death. Just before my wife died, she told me she was concerned about me because it was going to be a lot harder going on. She was right.
My main point is this. Things happen in life that can transform us in an instant in time. Some of these will push us over the edge. It will make us consider doing things that we never thought we would. Many times, our best side prevales, but there will be exceptions. These exceptions can be violent, particularly when guns and knowhow are available to us. This is why guns are so dangerous.
Anybody who will use a gun to kill innocent people will be considered mentally ill by society, because as a society we need to think that only a mentally ill person could do such acts. But, in my estimation, everybody has the capacity to horrible things given the right set of circumstances. And they are not all mentally ill or diagnosable prior to the acts, only afterwards.
Bad stuff happens to everybody and the longer you live the more likely bad stuff will happen. Perhaps, it is being bullied at school or on the internet. Perhaps, it is a divorce. Death of a loved won after healthcare was denied. Some event that makes us think that a gun is a solution to kill ourselves or somebody else. Oh yes, in the years dealing with healthcare, I wanted to kill my health insurance company many times. (It is the reason I believe in universal health care for everybody, medicare for all.)
So, just because somebody has always acted responsible with their guns does not mean he will continue to do so. It doesn't mean he is mentally ill prior to the act either. And being mentally ill does not necessarily predispose somebody to violence. In fact, hearing a right wing talking head tell you to go out and buy weapons because the end of America is near is scary. In fact, it a lot more scary to me than a person who has been diagnosed with a bonafide mental illness.
Guns need to be greatly restricted and even banned, because they are the means to horrible tragedy. And nobody is immune, nobody.