Another senseless mass murder has turned our attention once again to the problem of gun violence and the resulting loss of innocent lives. The focus of the discussion has been on gun legislation. However, we must speak more broadly and act more effectively if we are to create a culture that cherishes and protects life.
1. LEARN THE LANGUAGE OF VIOLENCE PREVENTION AND REPEAT IT OVER AND OVER.
GUN VIOLENCE IS PREVENTABLE.
Using the word violence is accurate and unlike other terms, for example safety, it activates emotional responses and keeps people from losing their sense of urgency. Always use strong language when talking about gun violence – death, tragedy, pain, senseless … Never, ever allow the argument that there’s nothing we can do go unanswered.
WE KNOW HOW TO REDUCE GUN VIOLENCE.
The discipline is called injury and violence prevention and it is part of public health.
It is based on the 3 Es – Education, Engineering, and Enforcement. Each of the three is necessary, no one or two are sufficient.
There have been suggestions that we have a taskforce to address this public health problem. I agree that this should be one of many actions. The taskforce should be based out of the Centers for Disease Control and Injury Prevention. Strong advocacy will be needed to get the efforts funded and so that the politician’s don’t just bury the results.
WITH THE POWER TO SAVE LIVES, COMES THE MORAL RESPONSIBILITY TO SAVE LIVES.
Some of our elected representatives deliberately obstruct measures to reduce gun violence. They are directly contributing to perpetuation of violence and death and this should be made very clear in public discourse. They are not honorably “protecting” anyone; they are supporting a deadly status quo. This is a betrayal of their oath of office to work for the health, safety, and security of the people.
Other elected representatives “talk the talk” but won’t “walk the walk”. Each seems to be waiting for someone else to do something. While less egregious than the obstructionists, this is still a moral failure.
2. COALESCE INTO A SINGLE GROUP THAT SPEAKS WITH A SINGLE VOICE.
More than anything else, we need a single umbrella group … an anti-ALEC that is not only focused on gun violence prevention but also broadly on public health, safety, and security!!
I’m sure it was at DailyKos that I read why liberals and progressives have such a hard time countering the destructiveness of the extreme right. It is because we work in smaller groups each pulling in different directions and they coordinate their message and their actions.
The good news is that many of the things you would do to reduce gun violence will create healthier, safer communities in other ways. And things that increase economic security, access to education, and better healthcare will reduce gun violence.
We are irrevocably linked to each other so that what hurts one hurts us all and what helps one helps us all.We should combine our resources, coordinate our message, and strategically plan our actions. No idea how to make it happen, but there are better minds than mine I trust can make it so.
3. FIND ALLIES WHEREVER THEY MAY BE.
Don’t write anyone off. Speak to them in the language of violence prevention and moral responsibility. Connect with their hearts or their minds and most people will respond.
Give them something practical they can do to make a difference.
4. PERSUADE THE PERSUADABLE AND MAKE THEM AN OFFER THEY CAN’T REFUSE.
Don’t waste energy on those not persuadable. Find those who know the right thing and make them do it! How about we have a pledge that we will not support a candidate who does not support gun violence prevention efforts and the people’s agenda. How about we respectfully refuse to provide campaign money to anyone who isn’t willing to try.