Not that long ago, moving the discussion from gun control to mental health would have been called diversionary, a silly attempt by the firearm pushers to avoid the real issue that yes, guns do kill people, and it’s not only demented folks using guns who kill people. Unless, of course, you’re willing to look into the mental health of all those people who claim to be sane and still own enough firepower to put a small town in danger.
What I think is that over the course of a few millennia, we have discovered that killing others is no longer a daily necessity to the pursuit of normal living and contentment. We are seldom threatened; one of the blessings of living in the United States is that most of us feel safe and are, by and large, free of paranoia. Yes, there are wars, but no declared ones are currently being fought in the US save, perhaps, for the war on drugs. That one is being waged by trained lawmen who, in spite of the dangers inherent to of their profession, may never draw their service revolver in the entirety of their careers. The wars on poverty, obesity, illegal immigration, creeping English Ivy, illiteracy, rats, Burmese pythons, leaping carps, and other invasive flora and fauna are not dependent on bullets and powder for victory.
So I wonder, wouldn’t it be safe to say that a lot of gun-owning people are actually the ones who are whacked? Isn’t it possible that someone whose happiness depends on a machine that shoots out a killing projectile might have issues that may or may not have anything to do with manliness and penis length, with violence and a need to overpower others? And isn’t the guy with the collection of assault weapons simply saying, “Mine is bigger than yours”?
A recent story in the Washington Post reported on a popular 53-year-old pro-gun blogger whose most telling quote was, “Once you put a gun on, you gain situational awareness. I felt grown up. It was like a coming-of-age thing. I felt like an adult.” The man, well-to-do and urbane, followed this with, “You can control time down to 1/1000th of a second. It’s a Zen thing.” Holy crap! I swear that, years ago when I was a substance abuse counselor, a man who loved heroin used these exact same words to describe his addiction.
What addicts do at all cost is protect their addictions. What the gun folks appear to be doing is very much the same thing. And like addicts, they skate around the issues, change the focus of the discussion, blame others, and refuse to take responsibility for their actions.
I’m in favor of establishing Alagun Anonymous, and a sister program (Al Agungone) for all those unfortunates whose lives are made wretched by the gun addicts. Where’s Bill Wilson when we need him?