Recently, a guy was shot to death while trying to rob an AA group in South Carolina. The shooter was an AA old-timer. An attorney who has remained sober since 1981, who was lawfully carrying a concealed weapon, and I think rightfully defending himself. The first question that came to my mind was why this AAer felt he needed to carry a gun to that meeting in the first place. It seems to me that if God helping this guy fix up his character flaws and stay away from the sauce, the least he could do was protect these steppers from being shot in a meeting. Couldn’t he have just added “please don’t let me get shot today” to his prayer and meditation?
This story, along with the story the FTG postedgot me thinking about what type of people attend AA meetings. Most people I know in AA are nice folks, even those zealots who have drank the religious kool-aid. AA’s policy is that they will accept any person who has a desire to quit drinking, which really should be amended to include the many AAers who have been ordered by the courts to attend. AA is free, so it costs nothing to send a person convicted of a crime to AA – at least not in terms of fees. It does cost in terms it being ineffective, and as a result those who attend to receive treatment wind up back where they started, and back in the court system. The revolving door of AA costs society an unthinkable amount of money.
Most AA meetings will include those who are not there by choice, but are there to get their “cards signed” as proof that they attended, and fufilled their sentencing requirement. One might assume these consist mostly of those convicted of impaired driving, but that isn’t the case. AA has become a dumping ground for criminals of every stripe, from wife beaters to off duty cops who beat the hell out of a fireman. Often, AA is used as pre-sentencing condition to prove to the court that a defendant is serious about getting help, as with this man who raped a 13 year old girl. The abuse excuse is alive an well in the courts, and AA has become the catch-all anecdote to just about any crime. Drunk drivers, wife beaters, muggers, robbers and a host of others have all found their absolution in AA. Blame it on the booze and you are almost certain of lessening your accountability, but you will ironically be forced to attend AA, who will hold you accountable for everything.
Some of the old-timers are among these scoundrals who were sentenced to AA and found religion. With time, these people become the leaders of various AA chapters. People who have failed at everything in their lives can thrive in AA. They become the sponsors, the arm twisters, the 13th steppers of the group. People who would never be allowed a license to become a therapist are counted among those who manipulate and control the lives of others. One might also think that there is shame in being sentenced to AA, but that is not always the case. Drunkalogs among the old-timers often become a pissing match as to who was the biggest scumbag before they found the religion of AA. This is when I have to actually agree with one AA slogan – “Take the alcohol out an asshole, and you still have an asshole”.
I don’t own a gun, and I’m not a big gun guy – but I don’t blame this guy for packing heat in his meeting. With AA, you never know who you might run into.