It's simple. Don't give guns to people. And actively practice Kind Leadership.
Gun violence is now the leading cause of death of children in the United States.
I grew up in Canada, where there are very strict gun control laws. Over the years, those laws have gotten stricter, including a nationwide ban on handgun sales, purchases and transfers at the end of 2022. Assault weapons have been banned since 2020. When I sent my kids to school in Toronto, I never worried that there would be the threat of a mass shooting in their school, and I never worried that the person sitting next to me on the subway might be carrying a concealed weapon. I felt safe. And I felt that my children were safe.
And they were.
According to a study by the Kaiser Family Foundation, in 2020, only 48 children died as a result of gun violence in Canada, while 4357 died in the United States during the same year.
The effectiveness of gun control was never a question until I moved to the United States. Then I heard the now all too familiar argument: "Guns don't kill people. People do".
I agree with part of that statement: "People do kill people."
Which is why, in a simple, logical equation, people shouldn't have guns. Because allowing people to have guns gives them the possibility of making the choice to kill other people.
Now, you may be asking yourself, "What does this have to do with Kind Leadership?" Well...everything. First of all, killing isn't kind. It doesn't create a positive outcome for whatever, or whoever is being killed. That includes killing for "sport" or "hunting" (killing for the "fun of it"?)
Kind Leaders work to help people acquire skills to deal with disagreements and differing points of view though empathy and compassion, not violence. Learning how to really see things from another's points of view (especially when it is very different than yours), feel compassion for that person and find ways to help them that will cause a positive outcome, like talking things through, providing support and even agreeing to disagree, takes time, patience, a LOT of strength, and often puts leaders outside of their comfort zone.
It also creates trust. And trust is the opposite of fear.
When people fear each other, they are more likely to have heightened emotional reactions that could result in violence. Annabelle Hind, in her article on Wellness.org on How are Fear and Violence Connected? states:
"What we know about trauma or fear tells us that it is compounded. If we live in chronic fear we do not grow to be immune in the same way we might be if we were exposed to germs. We are in fact much more likely to react extremely when under threat if we have experienced threat repeatedly."
When people trust each other, they are much less likely to act violently.
And that's what Kind Leaders and Kind Leadership does. Reduces and eliminates fear and creates trust. And that trust spreads throughout organizations, families, communities and the world.
I don't want any other children to die in school shootings. I don't want any child to have to fear going to school and be traumatized by active shooter drills. I don't want parents to wait fearfully for their children to come home every day. Not a single one. Not a single day.
That's why we need gun control...to eliminate guns...and Kind Leadership...to eliminate fear and create trust in people.
Because I'm a person of action, and an Activator, my thinking has also led to "doing".
During the month of May 2023, I'll be hosting a Strength Through Kind Leadership Collaboration Community to actively work on issues such as reducing gun violence, hate and discrimination and positive ways to create eliminate fear, create trust and improve mental health.
It's totally free, totally online, and you can participate as much, or as little, as you are able.
I hope you'll join.