As Ayn Rand postulated, the one cardinal sin in any civilized society that holds individual rights, liberty, and freedom as values is the initiation of physical force. There is absolutely no excuse for it, and I wholeheartedly agree.
When one is confronted with it, it must be met with overwhelming retaliation. Such is the only legitimate (moral) use of force – in retaliation, or in response to imminent threat of force. This goes on a personal level and, in the case of law enforcement (particularly the military), on a state (generic) level.., and is why allowing law abiding citizens the right to protect themselves with guns isn’t just important, but fundamental to the protection of individual rights.
I think the Founders were wise in this judgment to add it to the Bill of Rights. Otherwise, the only people who will have lethal weapons will be thugs, whack jobs, and other various and sundry criminals and terrorists whose purpose IS to deprive others of their property, or life. Moreover, those who have a legal monopoly on physical force (law enforcement) were (and typically are) totally impotent in stopping the initiation of force and mayhem; they only surface AFTER the violence has commenced and are called in to mitigate it.
At the moment the crazed lunatic in Tucson started blowing out brains everyone present was at his mercy (I understand there was at least one armed individual who pulled his weapon). Consequently, there is a case to be made here that had more law abiding citizens had guns (and knew how to use them) there may have been some lives saved.
I think it is sick that there are those who would attempt to engage in some policy or political leveraging in situations such as this… the reality is that this psychotic individual is a profoundly rare exception. Policy and law should not be crafted based upon rare exceptions; policy and law that would deprive rational, law abiding citizens, of their individual rights.. One would hope there would be zero political mud tossing on the heels of this matter. Sadly, the opportunism and slanted brain reactions will persist – around the horn I suspect.