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On Behalf of | Dec 17, 2012 | Families

This is not the blog I thought I’d be writing tonight.

Our response to addiction comes in three forms: one, acceptance; two, moral approbation and three, clinical identification and prescription. 

Pick an addiction, any one I suspect, and you can see how this plays out. Take alcohol, for example.  Some accept the drinking without comment or request for change.  Some see drinking as a weakness of character.  Others perceive alcoholism as an illness suitable for diagnosis and treatment. 

Our addictions are many and varied.  If they have a commonality, it may well be the rush, the tie, the hook that pulls and holds the addict in.  The addict’s need defies logic and health.  The attraction is undeniable and inescapable. The addict is self-centered and incapable of appreciating the consequences they impose upon others. 

Many, many addictions have been named, scrutinized, ridiculed, investigated, proscribed and prescribed. Some still live in the shadows, still too concealed to be considered in polite company. But some addictions are fully revealed, proclaimed, endorsed, espoused and even extensively lobbied.

Some among us revel in an addiction that has yet to be named though is a great scourge upon our nation.  Our nation has long enough accepted and endured the frightening obsession/addiction to guns.  This weekend, this addiction took the lives of 20 beautiful babies in their first grade innocence. This addiction, this repugnancy, can go unidentified, unexamined and unchastened no longer.

The gun fetishists deny their addiction.  Of course, that’s what un-realized, un-repentent, un-treated addicts do.

Addicts rationalize away their disability.  For the sake of guns they swear allegiance to the Second Amendment. But do they swear similar allegiance, devote similar energies to the Fourteenth or to the Nineteenth or even to the Sixteenth?  Or is it solely the Second which receives their enduring vows? Also, where does the Second Amendment provide for a right to keep and bear many high capacity magazines for a Bushmaster Assault Rife?  Where does it provide for owning a Bushmaster Assault Rifle at all?  And even if it did (which it does not) how can such an expression make the murder of 20 innocent babies not just endurable but allowable and acceptable?

Another rationalization is that guns don’t kill people, people do.  Of course, guns don’t kill without people and people without guns don’t kill nearly as well. (People with assault rifles kill people remarkably well.)  How many innocents would have been spared in the time it took the first responders to arrive if this mad man had been restricted to something far less lethal?  Without access to weapons of mass murder, how many mad men would not tread that dark road?

Another argument is that assault rifles are necessary to protect oneself from an invading horde motivated by some calamity or to hold off a government determined to deny the liberty of every God fearing American.  From the press reports today, the mad man’s mother subscribed to the first theory.  That didn’t work out for her.  For the second theory, teenage blood-lust fantasies of Red Dawn do not make a convincing argument for condoning the deaths of thousands of men, women and children each year.  It just doesn’t.

Addictions are many and varied, and the people who suffer from them have varied degrees of dependency.  Some, upon a horrific event that seizes the intellect and makes clear the heart, will awaken to their addiction and vow to avoid it’s destructive pull.  Some though, even though the heavens have fallen and death rains down in a deluge, cannot pull themselves from the depths of their condition.  For them, their addiction is intractable, even hopeless.  

America has suffered from these people’s addiction long enough.  Enough innocent blood has been spilled.  Whether we proclaim our moral outrage at their self-centered, societally destructive fetish or whether we label it for the peculiar, suicidal/murderous attraction it certainly is, we must remove this ability to kill each other so wantonly so rapidly from our midst.

The adults in the room, the non-addicted among us, have a solemn duty to move society past the days of acceptance of the gun addicts affliction, for their affliction afflicts us all.

 Michael Manely