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Let's pretend for a moment that the primary cause of mass shootings (especially in our schools) has to do with "mental health," not with the sale and possession of high-powered weapons; is it not reasonable to suggest the possibility that anyone who purchases such a weapon may be viewed as having a kind of mental health problem?

After all, what state of mind must that person be in to believe that such a firearm is necessary for self-protection or -- even more absurdly -- to improve his hunting prowess?

A friend argued that some people use such weapons only for use at shooting ranges. I can't help but wonder what's going on in their minds while they're shooting at targets using weapons that were clearly designed for shooting people, not for target skill development.

It is fair to wonder about the mental health of individuals who work so hard at creating what they feel are rational arguments leading to the obtainment of high-powered weaponry to some of us it seems clearly delusional to think that an high-powered rifle is required in order to feel safe about protecting one's home and family.

I withdraw the question, however, if being delusional is not a mental health issue.

It is worth considering a parallel question about our society as a whole: Do we, perhaps, live under a nationwide delusion (and, therefore, a society-wide mental health problem) when we look at our almost worshipful regard for a self-created emotional and psychological need for weaponry to make us feel safe as individuals and as a human community?

Do we really believe that, as the NRA promotes, if the government, using military force, decided to take away our "arms" that our being in possession of high-powered rifles would fend them off? Would even a bazooka in our hands do the trick? If your answer is yes, then you clearly don't know much about our military's capabilities. You obviously have a mental health problem, if living in a delusion counts as one. If not, you're good to go. Buy a big gun and see if it can protect your "freedom."

When I read what citizens and leaders in other countries (many of them our allies) are saying and writing about us and our ever increasing gun violence (despite our insistence that the possession of such guns can protect us from such violence), I find myself picturing them visiting us as patients in a mental health facility called, simply, America.

Richard Morgan

Napa

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