Each time we have another tragic mass shooting, my friends on the left immediately renew their chorus for banning or restricting the possession of firearms. Their reasoning is that in a modern society, there is no longer any need for the average citizen to possess guns, let alone automatic assault rifles. While I understand their argument and like any rational person agree that the misuse of any firearm is to be condemned, their viewpoint is more emotional than realistic. There is no real sentiment to overturn the Second Amendment. This is probably based on the majority of Americans realizing that no matter how many times a gun is used to commit a crime, there are many compelling reasons to support our right to bear arms. Virtually every person I know, particularly those in the West, owns one or more guns. Many of my friends collect guns, including those who have a federal fire arms permit to do so. These people are not nuts. In fact, they are the people who are the most responsible gun owners. They use guns for very practical and legitimate reasons, including for self protection and hunting. I personally own a .44 magnum which I carry when hiking in bear country. Although bear spray has been proven more effective for deterring bear attacks, should a close encounter ever occur, I like having the handgun for backup. It could mean the difference between surviving or not surviving. For those who live in urban areas, our liberal media seldom reports the many incidences each year in which citizens effectively use guns to deter attacks on their persons or property. It should also be noted that with my background in law enforcement, while I respect police, our society is not a police state. In our system, the police are largely reactive, not proactive to crime. In other words, we do not want the police to have the right to pick and choose, in advance, who they think might pose a risk of using a weapon, including a gun, to commit a crime. It is ironic that those on the left who advocate gun control are the same people who routinely condemn alleged violations of someone’s civil rights by the police. The mass shootings we continue to experience are most often perpetrated by mentally disturbed people with no prior criminal records. It is practically impossible to round up every mentally disturbed person and lock them away because they might some day snap and start shooting someone. It is ridiculous to assume that banning guns would prevent these people from finding a way to kill people if that is what they are determined to do. I will not create any possibility that what I might say could be used by anyone to commit a crime but even if you banned all guns, there are very efficient ways to kill large numbers of people without resorting to the use of a gun, particularly when you can use the net to learn how to build a nuclear bomb. Rather than spend time and resources on so-called gun control, might we be better served by putting that time and money into improving our flawed and inadequate mental health care system? In the final analysis, we can only protect ourselves by avoiding venues where large numbers of people routinely congregate or at least making sure, like at our airports, that screening, no matter how flawed, increases our chances of survival. The recent shooting at the mall in Colorado gives some indication, with the prompt response by both law enforcement and mall security, that such precautions can at least assist in minimizing casualties. Life, by its very nature, risks the possibility of death. The fact that we are in denial about that possibility is one of the biggest factors in preventing us from taking the precautions, including owning a gun, that may save our lives.