Yeah, I’ll admit it. I’ve always had that “Not in my neighborhood” false sense of security even though I’ve always lived in or near Chicago’s south and west sides. Chicago’s breaking a record for the highest number of shootings this year and many of them are happening within a few blocks of where I live and work. I used to think it was gang member killing gang member but over the past few years, it’s not. Children and law-abiding citizens are the unintended targets of stray bullets and a day hasn’t passed that someone hasn’t been shot.
Last weekend, roughly 130 miles south of Chicago in Champaign shots were fired outside a party in my daughter’s college town. Someone spilled a drink on another person at a party and a fight escalated. What happened to plain old fist fights? Not that I ever want any fighting to happen but because of guns, five innocent bystanders were shot and one 22 year old was killed.
Time to wake up people! We are all vulnerable and it’s not just those of us living in urban neighborhoods.
When was the last time you turned on the news and didn’t hear about someone being shot? People are dying from gunshots all over this country yet we respond with saying “I’m sorry” or “You’re in my thoughts” and have a numbed reaction to the violence. No one wants to discuss the real problem. These are lives being lost, many of them young but we all continue plugging away as if this should be our “Normal”.
I just finished watching Happy Valley, a Netflix series about a policewoman in some unnamed Yorkshire Village in the UK who deals with some pretty evil people. She doesn’t carry a gun and the perpetrators she comes across don’t have guns. She carries a club to ward off attackers and yeah, she gets pretty beaten up but so do her perpetrators. What would our country look like today if guns weren’t so readily available?
In 1996, after a mass shooting, Australia enacted broad gun reforms. Twenty years later, these reforms have not only halted mass shootings, but they’ve helped contribute to a decline in other gun-related deaths as well. (Must READ! The Guardian- How Australia gun laws stopped mass shootings and reduced homicides)
I realize just suggesting we discuss how to resolve the gun issue in America is making some of you angry. You’re starting to shut me out and now you want to unsubscribe to my blog but please bear with me here. Like you, tough topics make me dig my heels in and I don’t always want to see someone else’s point of view.
Are we all just stubborn or is there a logical reason for why we can’t talk about the issues that divide us?
Just last week I attended a seminar where the speaker discussed the difficulty we face when trying to change people’s opinions. He gave the example of a man trying to ride a backwards bicycle. When the handlebars turned left, the front tire went right and vice versa. The man, regardless of how hard he tried, could not ride the bike. He deducted that once we “have a rigid way of thinking in ‘our’ brain, it’s almost impossible to change it.” Our brains actually create an algorithm and that algorithm can actually keep us from changing. (See the experiment here!)
I’m convinced this algorithm is why many of us can’t even discuss gun reform but I’m also convinced if we just start talking about it, we actually CAN change the algorithm.
The guy with the backwards bike changed his. After 8 months of practicing, he was able to change the algorithm in his head and ride the backwards bike. What’s even more amazing is now he can’t ride a regular one!
I talk a lot about pollution and making conscious choices each day to support our beautiful planet (did you get a chance to check out our Environmentally Conscious Choices article yet?!) and I know how difficult it is just to get people to change their habits.
Even convincing them to change something as benign as their shopping habits like buying fast fashion is tough enough so I realize how difficult discussing gun reform can be.
We all deserve a more peaceful, beautiful planet where we don’t have to worry about our children playing in the front yard or our college coeds getting shot at a party. Let’s at least start the honest conversation about what is happening around ALL of us! Regardless of your stance on gun control, I’m certain if your child were unnecessarily shot and killed, you’d work hard to change the algorithm in your head and begin rethinking how we deal with guns in this country.
So let’s start talking. Send us your thoughts, ideas and suggestions on how we can stop living in fear of getting shot on the way to work or on the way home from a party (and don’t say “take a different route”) because this is a problem everywhere! No parent deserves to lose their child to a senseless shooting and none of us deserves to live the rest of our lives in fear. Be the change you want to see in the world and let’s start talking NOW.
– Germaine Caprio, Company Owner & Designer
TO HEAR FROM YOU
Please share your own thoughts with us – let’s get a conversation started in the comments below! Your comment may even win you a free MAJAMAS garment this month!