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Psychology PhD Attempts To Equate Gun Ownership With Gambling & Alcohol Addiction

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If you read the article at Freedom Outpost, “The History Of Mass Shootings That Need To Be Heard Before People Demand More Gun Control,” several patterns were identified that occur after mass shootings, right on cue, calling for restricting further the people’s right to keep and bear arms.

Now, a psychologist has penned an opinion piece at The Washington Times claiming America is addicted to gunsRenee Garfinkel, Ph.D., an author and radio host, presented her case for identifying the “gun problem” in America as an addiction similar to gambling.

Garfinkel wrote in The Washington Times:

President Trump generally responds to mass shootings by talking about mental illness. As a psychologist, I note that he gets it almost right. He just fails to correctly identify the patient.

The patient is America, and the illness is addiction. Our nation is addicted to guns, with increasingly deadly consequences.

Wherever you find addiction, there you find denial. The alcoholic who says, “I can quit any time I want,” and the gambling addict who says, “If I hit it this time, everything will work out,” are in the same boat as those who say, “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” They are all addicts in denial, refusing to see the overwhelming evidence of the damage caused by their behavior.

When allowed to continue unchecked, addictions destroy lives.

So, those who support the Second Amendment are addicts in denial because we blame the person, not the instrument used to commit the crime.  While she criticizes President Trump for almost getting it right, but “failing to correctly identify the patient,” she engages in personification, assigning human characteristics to a land region containing this republic.

Of course, each and every one of us has been guilty of referring to the people in this republic as America, especially when writing.

However, to claim that our republic is “addicted to guns, with increasingly deadly consequences” is a gross overstatement and, in itself, inaccurate.

Is she trying to say that guns kill people and not people?  If so, one could say cars kill people;  knives kill people;  ropes kill people;  phone cords kill people;  baseball bats kill people;  airplanes kill people;  tire irons and crowbars kill people.  The list could go on to include sticks, stones, and a slingshot used by David.

Many of us gun owners have the laziest guns in the world.  These guns sit there, immobile, doing nothing, instead of growing legs, arms and brains to run around the neighborhood wreaking havoc by killing people.  In fact, some of us that possess all these instruments identified that “kill people” have the laziest objects in the history of mankind.

If she truly believes the inanimate objects that require interaction with humans are capable of killing people on their own, why is she nor anyone else calling for legislation against other inanimate objects that could produce the same dopamine/endorphin addictive behavior as guns?

She continued, explaining the process:

The neuroscience of addiction is the same regardless of the addictive behavior or substance. The brain doesn’t care if it’s porn addiction, shopping addiction, cigarette addiction, video game addiction or whatever you like, including gun addiction.

Here’s how it works: Dopamine is the brain’s neurotransmitter that is released when you expect a reward – when you expect pleasure. The brain is flooded with dopamine when a shooter gets ready to fire a gun. Firing a gun releases endorphins – the pleasure hormones – the same ones we experience with sex, with taking certain substances, and with other enjoyable activities. Pleasure (BANG! and endorphins) follows anticipation so quickly and reliably, that the brain easily learns to connect the psychological loop: guns – dopamine – pleasure/endorphins. The psychological loop is compelling, and some brains become preoccupied with seeking more dopamine. More guns.

The desire for more is another defining characteristic of addiction. The addict develops tolerance and requires more to get the same rush. Americans own more guns in absolute and relative terms than any other nation. We own about half the world’s guns although we are barely 5 percent of the world’s population.

And some of us own a great many guns, indeed. Stephen Paddock, the Las Vegas concert murderer who committed the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history, was found to have an arsenal of 47 deadly weapons. That put him in the 3 percent of gun owners who own large numbers of guns. This is exactly what addiction theory predicts – some users will seek more guns, bigger guns, with more firepower, in order to achieve the feelings they seek.

While Garfinkel presents a nice scientific case for addiction with other activities/substances addictive feedback loop, where is the empirical study or clinical trials proving her statements that guns are addictive?  It is assumed there isn’t any since no reference was given to support her claim, as is usually done when making a claim based on neuroscience.

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In rebuttal to her claim, one can say those who engage in mass shootings are not addicted to the gun, getting a release of dopamine upon hearing the bang;  but, these individuals receive a dopamine release upon seeing an individual murdered by their hand.  The same can be said of any individual using any inanimate object to commit murder.

Now, while not a psychologist or neuroscientist, the rebuttal hypothesis proposed has about as much weight as Ms. Garfinkel’s claim.  Without any clinical studies or trials to validate either position, both claims are nothing more or less than opinion, not verified fact.  One cannot use apples and oranges interchangeably, meaning one cannot compare alcohol addiction to firearm ownership.

As a gun owner, who has trained to learn to shoot, handle firearms and maintain those arms, never once was a feeling of “pleasure” received from firing that firearm or preparing to fire a firearm.

The focus was on technique, accuracy, and calm in order to be able to use that firearm in self-defense.  Moreover, the first incident of actually training to use the firearm produced more of a nervous and anxious feeling than pleasure.  Afterward, the feeling of completing the training and following proper technique consistently produced confidence that the firearm could be used appropriately, when necessary.

Confidence is not the same as “pleasure.”

Garfinkel went on to claim, “The desire for more is another defining characteristic of addiction. The addict develops tolerance and requires more to get the same rush. Americans own more guns in absolute and relative terms than any other nation. We own about half the world’s guns although we are barely 5 percent of the world’s population.”

And some of us own a great many guns, indeed. Stephen Paddock, the Las Vegas concert murderer who committed the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history, was found to have an arsenal of 47 deadly weapons. That put him in the 3 percent of gun owners who own large numbers of guns. This is exactly what addiction theory predicts – some users will seek more guns, bigger guns, with more firepower, in order to achieve the feelings they seek.

Again, Garfinkel assumes that the number of guns an American owns is a “desire for more” and a development of tolerance, which “requires more to get the same rush.”  However, many Americans obtain a diverse collection of firearms.  Since a shotgun, rifle, and handgun all require different techniques to fire, it is important to learn the different methods to be proficient with the firearm, in case one has to use that firearm.  And, many individuals collect firearms, modern as well as antique arms, as a hobby, like coin collecting.  The unalienable right to keep and bear arms has everything to do with opposing a tyrannical government.  An unarmed populace is subjugated individuals to a government holding all the firepower.  Moreover, this right is God-given to each individual inherent at birth.

One could assume from Garfinkel’s take on firearms that individuals who own 100 knives, which are also deadly weapons when used for committing a crime, is a prediction on the addiction theory as well.  It matters not if those knives are used in cooking, each having a different purpose, or needed for multiple attendants at dinner to cut their meat.  The addiction theory she references would assume the individual would need to acquire bigger knives, with more damaging potential, until one reaches the need to use a guillotine for cutting watermelons.

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And, notice she calls it “addiction theory,” meaning there is no conclusive study or trial to establish it as fact where firearms or other inanimate objects are concerned.

Garfinkel sits on a shaky fence when calling for governmental action based on theory.  Where have US citizens heard a similar pitch?  That’s right – Al Gore’s global warming/climate change.

She proposes the following:

Organizations representing nearly half a million physicians and medical students, including family physicians, pediatricians and psychiatrists, called on the president and Congress to do the following:

  • Call gun violence what it is, a national public health epidemic.
  • Fund appropriate research at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as part of the FY 2018 Omnibus spending package.
  • Establish constitutionally appropriate restrictions on the manufacturing and sale, for civilian use, of large-capacity magazines and firearms with features designed to increase their rapid and extended killing capacity.

If one is going to call “gun violence” a national public health epidemic, one has to call violence using any object a national public health crisis.  However, the common denominator in the entire proposal is “violence.”  Garfinkel cannot see the problems the government itself has created through its actions that have contributed to violence in our society.  She should ask the right questions instead of “assuming.”

At a time when the US debt is at approximately $21 trillion, jobs for Americans have dwindled, and the need for frugal government spending is paramount, Garfinkel calls for more taxpayer money to add to the exorbitant budget for the CDC to conduct “appropriate research.”  Yet, Garfinkel does not define what she considers “appropriate.”

When left to government to determine what is “appropriate,” Americans are saddled with funding research to “teach prostitutes how to use condoms.”  But, most Americans know there is no need for funding any research on “gun violence” since the guns are not violent, only an instrument used by individuals to perpetrate crimes.

Garfinkel, holding a Ph.D. in psychology, has a reading comprehension problem since she cannot understand the phrase “shall not be infringed” contained in the Second Amendment.  There is no such animal as “constitutionally appropriate restrictions” on anything regarding firearms.  The purpose of the Second Amendment is to ensure that citizens have equal arms as the government in order to prevent despotism and tyranny.  Remember, “when government fears the people, there is freedom;  when people fear the government, there is tyranny.”

Garfinkel, essentially, loses the argument in her last sensational statement – “Thoughts and prayers alone won’t cure the country’s lethal addiction.”

While thoughts and prayers may not singularly cure any addiction, prayers are not useless since God does answer prayers.  Surely, rational people do not believe this republic has a “lethal addiction” when it comes to firearm ownership or firearm use.  If some do, it means these individuals should hold the same thinking process on other inanimate objects used in violent acts.

Maybe, if certain sects of the population and the government had not pushed Christianity out of the public sphere,  worked to destroy the family unit,  destroyed morals, values and principles, eradicated taking personal responsibility for one’s actions, engaged in propaganda campaigns using the lamestream enemedia, usurped responsibility for education of our children, turning it into indoctrination, promoted idol worship of government, backed lawless groups such as Antifa and Black Lives Matter, and enacted the “nanny” police state, God would not have removed his hand of protection and divine providence from this republic. 

This statement is not emotional sensationalism, but fact.

Article posted with permission from Freedom Outpost

 

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