With gun violence escalating in our culture in alarming rates, it’s clear that we need much more regulation on who can purchase or get a license for firearms. This is especially true for consumers who have Mental Illness, terrorist inclinations, or are convicted felons.
Yes, we’re in a place in our nation where we need crisis intervention, and legislation that must be enforced so that as a nation that claims equality & fairness for all of its citizens, will hold itself accountable for the rising rates of gun violence (even in randomized ways) in our society.
So, yes, I’m for this type of crisis intervention. But the truth of the matter is that there’s something much deeper making for more colorations of philosophical reasons & concerns. This leads to the long-term issue as I view it, not only a short-term “stop gap” issue as we typically view it.
I’m an addict in recovery, and have walked the path for many years. Addiction is that powerful, mysterious, cunning & mind-blowing dynamic that hooks us, pulls us in, and then leaves us stranded on the island of disengagement and powerlessness.
At the root of the gun control issue is our nation’s prediclection & addiction to violence and weapons’ use. On a global scale, we say we need war & militarism, so ‘that the world is kept safe for peace.’ As complete as is this idiosyncratic, paradoxical phenomenon that it represents, flips us upside-down, and results in many “crazy-making” outcomes when it comes to guns & violence.
The first thing an addict needs, is to see her problem, to enter a “bottoming out” phase-the epitome of ‘I’m sick & tired of being sick & tired,’ has to kick down the door of our consciousness, for us to get denial, support, and individualized methods of detachment from attachment. This is one of the most difficult times in recovery.
Let’s return to our societal addiction to violence & guns. There’s a bloodline in our culture that’s rarely even spoken of, or seemingly not noticed-denial & silence go together, and the desire to overcome our addiction to violence & guns, just like any other addiction, is often not strong enough for us to make real changes.
Wendall Berry wrote an essay, (The Best Spiritual Writing 2000. (2000). Edited by Philip Zaleski. Wendall Berry. The Failure of War. New York: HarperCollins Publishers), and in it mentions the fundamental inconsistency between “war and freedom” (p. 36) “Some of us who approve of our monstrous military budget and our peace-keeping wars nonetheless deplore ‘”domestic violence”‘ and think that our society can be pacified by ‘”gun control.'” (p. 37). Trying to do war and peace at the same time, creates a splitting in our collective psyches, or so it seems.
Justifiers of those who believe we can better keep the peace through war & militarism, fail to see that violence breeds more violence, and reinforces in a kind of perverse way even “state violence” through the Death Penalty, or abortion as birth control. “Acts of violence committed in ‘”justice”‘ or in affirmation of ‘”rights”‘ or in defense of ‘”peace”‘ do not end violence. They prepare and justify its continuation” (p. 38).
The intersectionality of Capitalism, Corporationism, and War-Making systems ramps up & deepens the quagmire. This vicious circle says we want peace, we want it our way, and we have to keep “improving” our armaments to insure we get it done our way. Each component is motivated by profit, often accompanied by the denigration & exploitation of human beings-a characterization of a fascist or oppressive system.
It seems only reasonable, only sane, to suppose that a gigantic program of preparedness for national defense should be founded first of all, upon a principle of national and even regional economic independence. A nation determined to defend itself and its freedoms should be prepared, and always preparing, to live from its own resources and from the work and the skills of its own people. But that is not what we are doing in the United States today. What we are doing is squandering in the most prodigal manner the natural & human resources of the nation (p.42)
Our addiction is a co-dependent relationship with Economics, Corporations, Government, the earth, our convoluted thinking, power and control. Co-dependency is an unhealthy, often pathogenic system of need for those in the relationship-the essence perhaps of addiction. It grows out of a drive to replace our needs with that of another party, who we feel may give us what only ourselves we can give ourselves.
This dysfunctional co-dependency has to be seen for what it is: an addiction of distraction, of shifting energies to less helpful modes of living, with the main outcome, not that of living in sobriety, or matched in the ability not to think in a clear-headed way about the sources of violence & conflict within our culture. As persons or organizations, we should take a closer look at our addictions, taking note of inherent flaws and obstacles in each one. Certainly, we also need to do this as a society.
The sooner we change the old, dilapidated premise of “making peace through war,” to a newer, holistic, person-centered one, the greater our prospects of seeing a life-giving alternative emerge.
Copy: CBB November 21, 2017