Gun Ownership: An American Addiction?
by Tom Pappalardo
October 8, 2015
Updated June 21, 2016
Is gun ownership in America an addiction? By understanding what motivates gun ownership, we can possibly put a HALT to all the tragic senseless killings in our country. Americans are trapped by the obvious over abuse of the Second Amendment. It‘s time to look outside the box in seeking answers to the madness of mass killings. We need to do that or stay trapped in this living nightmare. One out-of-the-box-idea, is to consider whether gun ownership is really an addiction. For comparison’s sake, the reason gambling is so addictive, is that gamblers are hooked on the adrenaline rush that gambling produces. It seems entirely possible that gun owners get the same adrenaline rush when shooting animals and other targets. For example when Trayvon Martin was killed, was his shooter craving the adrenaline rush brought upon by gunning him down. This angel needs to be explored. Especially given that the NRA has fixed it so that the CDC cannot do any research on gun violence. However, they should be able to research if the use of guns creates the adrenaline rush similar to what gamblers experience. Clearly, Trayvon’s killer to put it mildly is not a stable person and should not own a gun. The Orlando shooter appears to be a real combo special of psychological deficits. Addictions can make the will of the strongest person crumble when they want what they want.
People with psychological damage always show signs of their deep emotional failings. One such sign that is common with very many gun owners is the absolute denial of the value of the statistics that reveal communities, harboring many guns, have far more killings than those communities that do not. Most gun owners absolutely refuse to recognize this fact and the reason appears to be denial. Denial is indeed a major symptom of addiction. The question that gun owners need to ask themselves is, “Why not consider the possibility of owning a gun may be the root cause of mass murder in America.” When gun owners completely deny this possibility, this position implicitly concludes that someone’s right to own a gun is much more important than other people’s right not to be shot. Thousands of innocent bystanders including children have been killed while teaching, being taught, watching a movie, walking down the street etc, etc. To vehemently resist any reasonable avenue that might stop this murder of innocent human beings, is the type of selfish immoral behavior that is seen in addicts. Any moral rational person would give this “conjecture” serious thought. Gun owners say they like shooting at things because it relieves stress and makes them feel good. The same can be said of taking drugs, drinking alcohol, having sex and gambling. These are all behaviors that can lead to addiction. We all have to live with the fact that behaviors have consequences. Gun ownership is also about self-identity and self-esteem. Many gun owners proudly say they feel exposed even naked when they do not carry their gun. Does this sound like a psychologically healthy attitude? To feel complete you need a gun, statistically speaking, carrying that gun someone, not deserving, could be killed by it including loved ones. However, this is not the Wild, Wild West…. Or is it?
Another question that the media should be asking is what does it mean to be a strong self-reliant man or woman. Does it mean carrying a gun is really cool? How manly is it to use a gun to kill an animal with a small brain and limited ways to defend itself. How manly is it to hunt animals with an AR-15. With semi-automatic weapons like this it is reasonable to suspect that it is much more the killing not the hunting that makes them feel good. Please point out where it is said that being a strong man or woman includes owning a gun? I always thought a truer definition of power and strength was about facing off under equal terms.
Another question to ask is, “are gun owners compensating for low self-worth by feeling more powerful by owning and carrying a gun than not owning and carrying a gun?” If gun ownership is enabling low self-esteem, isn’t it better for these people to not rely on the superficial fix of gun ownership to address this problem. It certainly would be better for everyone else.
Instead of having the same old discussions about gun ownership that feel like a road to nowhere, let’s start having fresh discussions and put gun owners, including the NRA on the defensive. The right wingers believe in the saying that the best defense is a good offense approach. So, let’s fight some fire with fire and make them defend their psychological health based on gun ownership. If a strong case can be made that gun ownership is a crutch for people with low self-esteem, a push needs to be made to embarrass and shame them into admitting their problem.
If we show them that they have an addiction perhaps, we can then see some light at the end of the tunnel as far as changing laws and saving lives.