Stoneman Douglas school shooting. Another painful national memory. Another senseless waste of life. Another wide gap in the American understanding of guns and violence.
With every school shooting, Americans become dumber. Their minds drown in a turbulent sea of emotion.
The polarized views about Second Amendment rights, arming teachers, and restricting gun sales are all well intentioned and totally miss the mark.
The issues are serious, and the outcry is understandable. But the debate remains reactive, not responsive. Whenever we are in reaction mode, we do not think clearly. A brilliant mentor of mine, T. Harv Eker, said it beautifully: “High emotion, low intelligence.”
Where do I stand on the issue of gun control? I would be happy if we made every gun in the world disappear. And, yes, I believe that fewer guns and tougher gun laws will save lives.
I also strongly believe that guns are a symptom, not the source of repeated school shootings or the kind of murderous rampage we saw at the Mandalay Bay in Vegas last year.
If guns are a symptom, what is the cause? INSIGNIFICANCE.
Tony Robbins, in one of his brilliant CD programs, said that we will never eliminate violence completely because the human need for significance is so powerful. I agree.
What does significance have to do with lone shooters wiping out innocent people in the United States? Everything.
Just look at the icons of American culture in movies, on TV, in pop music, social media, and advertising.
Look at the heroes on movie posters. How many of them are drop dead gorgeous, ruthless, and heavily armed? They clearly send a message that it’s ultra cool to be dangerous, fearless, and hot-hot-hot.
Most human beings are not. So, when young, scared, confused adolescents unconsciously compare themselves to the revered symbols of American manhood and womanhood, their self-worth shrivels up and almost disappears. That is deep painful insignificance.
Pick up a gun, wipe out a horde of people, and you will be talked about and remembered for a very long time. Major significance.
Make guns harder to get, and there will be fewer mass murders. But, the tortured souls who can only find meaning in shocking acts of violence will find other ways to maim and destroy.
Why am I writing about this on a blog about storytelling? Because I want to make some noise about changing the stories we are creating to define ourselves in society. Especially the stories that are unconsciously defining the troubled youth of America.
Stop calling these young shooters monsters. That is a convenient label, a story, that makes us feel superior and safe. It’s just another lie that spreads the disease of insignificance that explodes again and again into violence. One day, it may kill you.