There is a sickness at the heart of the United States of America. As we watch the disturbing pictures of the killing spree in Newtown Connecticut, it is hard not to cry. As a parent of two young children, the thought of such a terrible ending to such innocent lives is almost too unbearable to cope with.
Yet despite the choked up reaction of Barack Obama, and the rhetoric that 'words are not enough', it is hard to imagine anything much changing in the US. They have more Gun stores than branches of McDonald's. They sold over 2 million guns in November 2012 alone. There are almost as many legal firearms as people in the US (311 million people)
The gun carrying culture is enshrined in their constitution, and, perhaps even worse, is entrenched in the US psyche. And as the incredible 'Bowling for Columbine' documentary by Michael Moore tries to show, the problem is so much deeper than just a few disaffected kids who have watched too many violent video games. US society and internal/foreign policy has been based around killing and destroying for well over 150 years. It is no wonder that they as a nation have been involved in or have been responsible for more wars than any other nation since 1900.
The US government is seemingly addicted to war, and while that continues, then the belief in the importance of 'bearing arms' will forever be part of the 'American way of life'.
It doesn't have to be this way.
Even the biggest drug/alcohol/gambling addict has an opportunity to change. The answer is almost always a total cessation. For an addict - there cannot be a partial 'cut down'. So if we see gun ownership as an addiction, the answer is not to 'tinker' around with minor gun control. There needs to be a full reversal of gun policy - heading towards a virtual zero tolerance of weapons of mass destruction being in the hands of any citizen.
It is unlikely that Obama will have the wisdom or the power to make such a stand. He is having to deal with the first major block to any addict making a serious attempt at recovery: Denial.