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Devotion • Andy Offutt Irwin

Take a breath and empty your brain for a minute. Try to un-know what you know.

Really. Right now. Please.

And breathe.

Thank you.


A lot is being written and talked about regarding this particular topic.

Here is a thought:

At the center of it all is a material object. Something manufactured. A thing. A thing to have. A thing to own. Steel. Plastic. Wood.

For the more passionate proponents of the object, they are known by the object. Many are organized around the object, and for those organized around the object, the object’s name is literally at the center.

The term they choose for owning the object is, “to bear.”

“To bear...” That archaic language from the old document gives gravitas, doesn’t it? One does not say, “ bear carpentry tools.” One does not say, “ bear musical instruments,” or, “ bear a pen.”

“To bear...” It makes it sound... sacred.

Sacred... it is most certainly an object that garners devotion. The loyalists declare their devotion publicly, vocally, with adoration. They literally wear it on their sleeves (and sometimes beneath their skin). They declare it on their vehicles. For the sake of owning — bearing — the object, they travel and assemble so that they may gather with other devotees.

Adoration. Devotion.

They are devout.

They remind all that their entitlement to bear the object is written in the old document. (It wasn’t actually on the original document. It was added later. The document has been changed.)

The object’s purpose — its mechanized design — is to shred and destroy organs and tissue and bones until an animal or person are rendered dead.

It is possible for anyone using the object to render anyone dead.

One of the problems we face is when evidence-based research is ignored, and decisions are made by simply guessing, or worse, when factual conjecture is made based on value judgment.

When the object is valued over life.

Idolatry by any other name.

A native of Covington, Andy Offutt Irwin is a storyteller, songwriter, and professional whistler. He can be reached at