Off Topic: Home of the Free or Hostage to Guns?

I live in Boulder, Colorado. For a small town (about 100,000 people), Boulder is famous for many things. JonBenét Ramsey died here. The politics are very left of center. We have more marijuana dispensaries than Starbucks. It’s not unusual to see a $10,000 bike on top of a $300 car. The University of Colorado is here (Go Buffs!). We live at the intersection of high plains and the mountains, so the view is dramatic. We have 300 days of sunshine a year. And now we’re the latest home of a mass shooting that left 10 people dead.

I’m not an emotive person, though I guess many of us carry more inside than we let out. However, I’m beyond sad and somewhere well beyond disgusted. I’m sad that we have a society that leads all developed nations in gun death, and I’m disgusted that the political will to do something is lacking. I’m not someone who would be described as liberal, but I am someone who’s confidently described (by myself and others) as rational.

I’ve owned a gun. I’ve read the Bill of Rights. In fact, I have a copy of the Constitution of the United States on the shelf behind me. In my opinion, it’s one of the most perfect documents ever written. We must continue to honor it for our society to flourish. However, when the Second Amendment says, “A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed,” I’m sure there’s still room for action to start reducing what just happened in my town. 

I appreciate the folks who say we need to pray more. Although well-intentioned, I don’t think that’s going to do much. When I coach executives and work on changing behavior for them to be better leaders and more effective managers, we go well beyond prayer and good intentions. We work on concrete actions that will result in them achieving their objectives — specific things to do, not handwringing and excuses about why it won’t work. 

My perspective on life is in great measure through the lens of “business leadership,” which requires making tough decisions to achieve specific objectives. If you led a company and saw behavior that would cause significant profit loss, destroy your brand or harm your co-workers, you’d do something about it or you should be fired.

You would, of course, have some nimrods in the company who’d fight the change. “That’s not the way we do things here” might be something you hear. But you’d find a way within your existing culture, vision and strategy to get it done. And if someone refused to even engage with you on the topic, you’d throw their ass out the door!

Intelligent people engage in fact-based conversations (yes, within the framework of the Constitution) to make things better, whether it’s a business or a society, and then they do something. As a leader, you wouldn’t tolerate inaction (or worse, intentional obstruction) in your company, and you sure as hell shouldn’t condone it in our political system’s leaders either. 

I’m not smart enough to know what the best solution to mass murder using weapons is (multifaceted for sure, heck it may even involve prayer!), though I believe there are options in the realms of mental illness and gun policy that may decrease the number of deaths. I’m completely befuddled by the argument that universal background checks, for instance, violate the Second Amendment’s intent or harm our free state’s security. It seems like that act, and others, would make us freer — but that’s just me.

Should one of our objectives in the United States be to reduce indiscriminate death? If you say no, please kindly unsubscribe and think about therapy. 

There ain’t no perfect way, but you have to try. Thanks for listening. 

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