There is of course renewed discussion to ban or restrict gun ownership in light of the tragedy in Colorado.
Every course I teach begins with a presentation on ten basic principles of the economic way of thinking. Each principle includes examples as means of explaining the tenet and how it applies in real life. For example, in explaining the law of unintended consequences, I use the following picture with the quote below it from the Washington Post.
"A growing number of teens say it's easier to illegally obtain prescription drugs than it is to buy beer." Washington Post 8/14/2008
Make it more difficult to buy beer and the unintended consequence is that teens are driven to more dangerous and addicting prescription and illegal drugs.
For those who argue that, due to this psychologically deranged individual in Colorado, who by the way booby trapped his apartment with explosive devices to exact even more harm to innocent people, banning private gun ownership will make us safer, do you think it possible - even likely - that had he not been able to obtain a gun legally he would have still sought to destroy people, but instead of guns would have used something even more powerful and more destructive? He was determined to kill and guns were not what prompted his desire.
Apparently in 75% of mass shootings someone was aware of the killer's intent, at least to some degree. They noticed that the killer recently purchased guns or that prior to their action the killer made disturbing comments, generally expressing rage and anger. The observer either did not speak out or when they did their concerns were invalidated or ignored. People, pay attention!
One of the biggest problems with this type of personality disorder is that these people crave the attention their acts receive. They also find pleasure in fomenting dissension as a means of dividing people. They tend to be insecure and perceive themselves as outsiders. Actions like this give them the attention they crave and that they feel makes them important - the media obliges. If the media would curtail their reporting on events like this we would likely have far fewer of them. So instead of guns, I suggest we ban the news media, at least the 24-hour news cycle.
By the way, after reading the accounts in today's paper, my son commented to me that he preferred we not have guns in the house. I asked which he though makes us safer, we advertise that we are a "gun free" house, or that we fully arm and are ready to protect ourselves. He agreed to the latter.
UPDATE: Please read this post here.