Yes, a gun is basically a tool, and like other tools, is safe in the hands of competent users and less so in the hands of the incompetent or deranged. That said, at least in this society, a gun is also a powerful symbol -- whether of freedom, as some on this forum have noted, or of manhood (we like to point this out about others, e.g. gangbangers with "fotays" in their waistbands, but I suspect there's often a "pots & kettles" issue here
)... In general, to both pro- and anti-gun people, guns are a symbol of power.
So the anti's want to take power
away from people they don't trust, and the RKBA folks want to keep the power they have. If guns were not such a potent symbol, I doubt that either side would get as worked up as they do.
And when you consider people who are desperate, fearful, angry, due to "economic hardship, stress,etc." -- as seems to be the case with those who commit these increasingly frequent "rampage" shootings -- it makes sense to me that going out with a gun
is more attractive to them than, say, running people down with a car, or running amok with a knife.
And in the current climate of economic meltdown and utter hysteria over gun bans, etc., all of this gets ramped up even further. As noted above, the shooter in Pennsylvania does seem to have been one of those who bought into the "gun ban" mania... I'd hate to think that he started shooting, even in part, because
he thought the police were coming to take his guns, but it does seem possible. And I'd note, in this regard, statements made on this board about giving up guns "ammunition first," and the like. Just how responsible does this make us look, in light of events like this?