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Addiction was the story of 2017. No: Not addiction to opioids, though of course tens of thousands of families are still mourning the death of a loved one to the scourge coursing through the United States.
No: Not addiction to the toxic combination of power and lust fueling the sexual misconduct scandals that burst onto the public stage in the name Harvey Weinstein.
And no, not an addiction to President Trump, either on the part of his adoring legions or his “worst enemies.”
No, the centerpiece addiction of the past year—which is widespread and still growing—is to outrage itself, to the state of being perpetually offended, to the need not only to be angry at someone or something, but also to always and everywhere be, well, hating.
We are all trapped in this ongoing carnival of venom, a national gathering of unpleasant souls.
This year, let’s throw the trend into reverse. The best way to start is a long look in the mirror.
While motives behind the Las Vegas massacre remained very much in doubt, liberal pundits still rushed to blame the killer’s fascination with firearms for pushing an ordinary man to mass murder.
Actually, Stephen Paddock nursed another obsession far longer, and far more intensively, than he ever indulged an interest in guns—and that dangerous obsession has largely escaped condemnation in discussions of his horrifying crime.
For more than a decade, Paddock devoted most of his time and energy to compulsive gambling and—along with six million other American adults and half-million teenagers qualified as an obvious “problem gambler.” More than three quarters of those so afflicted suffer from clinical depression, and the problem impacts low income households far more commonly than it harms rich retirees like the Vegas killer.
Rather than encouraging gambling by promoting lotteries and casinos, government should try to limit damage from a devastating addiction that costs Americans $150 billion in annual losses.