America’s Addiction to Guns

Kurt Vonnegut once commented that picking up a gun immediately and irretrievably drops the human intelligence quotient of any individual thirty points. I will not argue with such wisdom, but I will note that most people can’t afford to lose that many points and still find their butts with both hands. But they can still find guns.

Guns in America are as dangerous as alcohol, drugs, and tobacco because guns appear to be equally addictive. Since we often casually use terms like addiction without definition, here’s what the American Society of Addiction Medicine identifies as characteristics: “a: Inability to consistently Abstain; b. Impairment in Behavioral control; c. Craving; or increased “hunger” for drugs or rewarding experiences; d. Diminished recognition of significant problems with one’s behaviors and interpersonal relationships; and e. A dysfunctional Emotional response.” (Check it out yourself:

As a society and individually, addicted Americans clearly and presently display these characteristics in current actions concerning and attitudes toward guns.

If you find yourself in possession of large numbers of weapons, admit that you have a problem. I suggest going cold turkey. Just let go before we have to pry the gun from your cold, dead hand. Disassemble all of your weapons, pack the pieces into cardboard boxes, seal the flaps with tape, and drop off your collection at your local police station for disposal.

Treat your cravings with long walks on the beach, through the woods, along the river, and on mountain trails. Take along the people and animals you love.

No matter what you think, feel, say, or do, your guns are never, ever going to matter more than other people’s children. That’s just true. Before you deny this again, for just one moment, vividly, imagine your own child staring down the barrel of someone else’s gun.

Eric Shaffer