Sunday, May 10, 2009

Guns & Romance

© 2009 Leighann Lord

So here we are again: a man walked into a college bookstore in Middletown, Connecticut, and shot a woman in the face. According to early news reports he was her boyfriend. This tragedy raises the issues of more and better gun control, access to quality mental healthcare, and mandatory couples conflict counseling.

Statistics say a woman is most likely to be assaulted by someone she knows. Many of those violent assaults involve a gun. Clearly love and weaponry don’t mix. Gun show background checks should be expanded to include pertinent questions such as:

How would you describe the current state of your relationship? Blissful? So-so? Or, I fantasize about the funeral?

Have you purchased flowers and firearms on the same day?

Does watching Law & Order, CSI, or any A&E TV show narrated by Bill Curtis make you think you could "get away it?"

It might also be time for Love Marshals: Round the clock, on-call couple’s counselors who lay out the ground rules, referee arguments, and ensure everyone’s safety. To the woman:

Stay on point.
No combining nine arguments into one.
No setting his clothes on fire.

To the man:

No one-word answers.
No zoning out.
No premature capitulation just so you can go watch the game.

To the combative couple:

"I want this to be a fair fight. No talking about each other’s mamas unless, of course, that’s what the argument is about. No hitting, spitting, stabbing, or shooting."

If this were The Breakup Argument, The Love Marshall would call for an immediate cease fire complete with a weapons ban and confiscation of firearms. Total disarmament until each of you has fully moved on.

Love is complicated. Science has shown that the chemical make up of the brain while in love looks very similar to mental illness. Add this to any pre-existing pathologies and the situation gets problematic. A broken heart, a misfiring synapse, a chemical imbalance and suddenly you’re sitting there in your underwear loading your gun while the voices in head cheer you on.

Doctors don’t know why a person opts for gun play over say, the comparatively harmless drunk dialing or texting, but until they do it’s probably best that lovers – current and former – are not armed. Harsh? Perhaps, but so is getting shot in the face.

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