Benjamin, Aaronson, Edinger & Patanzo, P.A.

Who’s mentally ill on Gun Laws?

     In the old Soviet Union days, prior to its breakup leaving Russia with Vladimir Putin
as its head, trying to regain that sense of greatness, there used to be this belief in the Soviet
Union that if you spoke out against the country, you had to be insane.  The rationale went
something like, the country is so great and things are so perfect that to not believe it meant
that you have a mental disorder.  Because you had a mental disorder it was the State's
obligation to put you into a mental institution and of course, you virtually were never heard
of again.

     The gun lobby, of course spearheaded by the NRA (National Rifle Association) and
its minions in both political office and on the news, have picked up that spirit.  Guns are
good, AR 15's are even better.  To use any of them in a killing spree on other human beings
by definition means that the person had mental illness.  Therefore, it is the mental illness that
is the problem and not the gun or the AR 15.  

     There is a simple beauty in that argument.  The hundreds of millions of guns in the
United States can never be blamed for anything.  Therefore, there is no need for any type of
gun legislation and any gun legislation only impinges on the rights of the good people.  The
mentally ill people are not gun owners, rather they are people that own guns that are mentally
ill.  Why should we punish the good people in the name of protecting ourselves from the
mentally ill?

     In that same vein, if a foreigner, especially one from a country which is predominantly
Muslim or an American Muslim, should use an AR 15 in this country, then immediately it
is an act of terror.  Since it is an act of terror, it is not the guns fault, but rather the ideology
or the religion of the person.  Again, then why should we punish or detract from the rights
of Americans, and especially good Christians, because as foreigners, those people believe
in the Quran.  

     If a white supremacist should open fire in a black church, such as what occurred in
South Carolina just a few years ago, then he is not a terrorist, because he is not Muslim, but 
he is a person filled with outrage and rage that has overwhelmed him.  But to take away
somebody's right to own a gun or an AR 15 because another is filled with rage and hatred
and has lost sight of decency, would be an outrage.  Especially if the purpose of the mass
killing in the church was to start a race war.  That is just someone who has gone astray.  

     There is logic to the arguments above, because from these standpoints there has to be
something wrong with you to want to kill another human being, but there has to be something
incredibly wrong with you to want to kill many human beings.  There is something wrong
with you when you wake up that morning, and for whatever reason, hurting others, even
though you know that when all is said and done you will either be dead or in prison for the
rest of your life, still seems to be a good idea.

     Whether it is in the name of vengeance, racial purity, religious vengeance, or some
other idea, the killing of a mass amount of human beings means something is wrong.  But the
problem with the logic above is that there are too many people out there who have their own
personal ax to grind.  There are too many people out there who have their own justifications
for committing mass murder and hurting countless individuals.  There are too many people
out there who seem to be waking up in the morning with that desire to kill, to maim and to
hurt.

     For all of the NRA supporters and their minions again in Congress and in the news
media that claim that people who do these acts are mentally imbalanced, mentally deranged, 
and mentally ill, not one of them will be there when that person goes to Court and claims to
the Judge that the person should not be punished for murder because they are mentally ill. 
No, for these defenders of the AR 15 and its like, the argument that these people are mentally
ill ends the moment the outrage of the shooting is over.  Once the thought of the carnage
subsides, all of a sudden these mentally ill people are now common criminals and must be
punished to the fullest extent of the law, and to these people, that usually means death.

     Well they can't have it both ways and quite honestly, they should have it neither way. 
If you believe these people are mentally ill, then you must believe they need treatment.  If
you believe that they deserve the death penalty or incarceration for the rest of their lives, then
you cannot blame their actions on mental illness and sidestep the question about gun control,
about gun registration, about loopholes in buying guns at gun shows, and about the fact that
there is no logical need whatsoever for someone to possess an assault rifle in their home.  

     We have heard too many times a person on television or on the radio talking about
how they grew up with their grandfather from the time they were 5 years old, hunting. 
Whether the sport of killing an animal is something to be proud of, we leave for another day. 
But how many of you who went hunting, used an AR 15 or an assault rifle?  How many of
you took the sport out of hunting by using a weapon that could fire 30 bullets in a matter of
seconds?  You want to hunt, we will give you your hunting rifle.  You want to target practice,
we will give you your gun.  You want an AR 15 or another assault rifle, give us one good
reason.

     It is time that those of you who look at your assault rifles as extensions of your penis,
something that somehow makes you more manly, to realize that these types of weapons are
getting into the wrong peoples' hands too often.  That these types of weapons, although they
may make you feel good and may make you feel tough, have no legitimate purpose other than
to kill many others.  It is time that all of you took a step back and realize that maybe our love
of fire power has gone too far.
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