The Power Of Persuasion. Use It Well

Students and young people gather for the "March for Our Lives" rally demanding gun control in Washington

The Parkland Kids. Squarely in the public eye.
“If that were my son……….”
What would I say? In analyzing some newsworthy situations, sometimes the proper balance of facts and feelings can be found by asking this simple question,

“What if my child was in this situation?”. Maybe your kid misses 12 free throws in the spotlight of March Madness. Or maybe your kid walks into the national news spotlight following a tragedy. Yeah, they chose the spotlight. Either way, they’re still your kid whether they’re 17 or 21. Hopefully you would be able to keep them grounded in some truths that they are probably yet to possess.

So if my son, like activist David Hogg, went charging full throttle into the daily circus of news broadcasts, social media, and the world of tacky memes, I’d be sure to pass on some fatherly truths:
“Son, I trust you to use your brain and make sound decisions. I won’t be silent if you walk away from the truths of God’s word, but otherwise you need to form your own opinions, make your own decisions, and learn from your own mistakes. You and your classmates have endured a tragedy that will stick with you for entire lives. Your grief doesn’t make you an expert on other matters but it does mean that you have the attention of a nation. Don’t let it go to waste. Your opinions may not align exactly with mine or many others, but I’m proud of you for standing boldly for what you believe. Just make sure you understand why you believe what you believe. Don’t let your thoughts and words be solely dictated by fear, frustration, anger, or grief, while accepting things as facts that just aren’t true. Don’t let your feelings be swayed by those who cheer you on or exploit you simply because your ideas about solutions match their own. Choose your tone and your words wisely. People will listen to you because of your pain, but only to a point. Challenge people to think, but don’t simply challenge them. Don’t just invite them to argue. The public eye and social media are cruel places. Once you enter, your words and your tone will dictate how tough it will be, but you will not be immune to criticism. Don’t tie together things that aren’t truly connected, “If you don’t agree with my opinions, then you want people to die” sort of statements. Because those are just lame tactics that adults are using already. To be heard by those with opposing views, speak with humility and honesty, but with passion. To truly be an agent of change instead of an agent of further division, cast aside all forms of arrogance and limit profanity. People don’t change their opinions or their ways because others act like they’re stupid. Don’t give people a reason to tune you out. Opinions will differ widely on the degree to which government regulations offer any lasting solutions to problems. So while so many people have arrived at the idea of “somebody needs to do something”, don’t waste the opportunity to speak boldly (regardless of political views) about the “power of one”. The somebody that needs to do something is me and it’s you. Challenge your peers to commit to being better parents than their own have been. Challenge your peers to be aware of their surroundings and know that they have the power to change life paths and outcomes for others. They can’t make a difference for everyone. But we all have to make a difference for some. It becomes necessary at times to push for legislative changes, but don’t be fooled into thinking that the solutions to all our problems lies in governmental actions. Be strong. You’ll have to be, because you don’t know what’s coming. Pray for wisdom and listen to those who are wise, not just those who agree with you. Fight smart. Don’t waste the opportunity to make a difference. It lasts your entire life, even once you fade from the public eye.”
Yeah, I should tell my sons those things. I think they’d need to know. I’m not talking about views on gun control. I’m talking about making sure kids understand the power they have, not in influencing the government but in influencing the world.

But that’s just me. That’s just something to think about.

The UPS Truck Ran Over the Cat. Where’s My Gun?

gun control

Some years ago, my daughter had a Calico cat that I despised.  And I had a gun that I’d never fired.  But no, it’s not what you think.

I can’t recall the exact sequence of events on that fateful day, only that a UPS van that turned around in our rural driveway, plowed over poor Daisy.  But Daisy didn’t die.  She was left in a sad distorted mess and destined to die.  It became my job to put her out of her misery.

That brings us to my brief history of gun ownership.  Events in my life had led me to purchase a small caliber pistol for potential protection against the presence of some evil folks who lurked on the outskirts of my work life.  But I had never fired it.

My experience with guns (here in the heart of hunting and gun-loving friends) consisted of one bold shot into a pond with a .22 rifle as bored teen that sent a large frog a long distance through the air…… a lot of pieces.

So I find and load my pistol, and drag poor Daisy to a secluded spot behind our house to bring her life to a merciful end.  The only problem was, that even though she couldn’t move, it still took me three shots to get a direct hit.

twit of the year

Apparently I turned my head, closed my eyes and flinched each time I shot.  But I finally finished the deed.  I’m pretty sure my kids still think of this story every time they see a UPS truck.

But why do people buy guns?  Why do people vehemently defend their right to own guns?  And why do politicians bring up gun control laws every time a news story of gun violence reaches national airwaves?

I couldn’t begin to get inside the mind of an avid gun owner.   But I think the main reason that people purchase their first gun later in life is simply to protect themselves against the presence of evil people in their world.  A couple of horrific news stories motivated my wife to arm herself………not against guns, but against godless evil people.

Make no mistake, it is of greatest importance to be more heavily armed that whatever potential evil we may face.  If somebody wants to assault me with bare hands, then I want a baseball bat (since I’ve never been in a fist fight in 47 years, I don’t imagine I could win one now).  If someone comes at me with a knife, I’ll be needing a gun.  If danger shows up with a gun, I’ll most likely need a bigger gun.

I won’t argue just how big of a gun is big enough.  And I won’t argue the finer points of intrusions and registrations that gun control regulations present.

But I will toss this out there:

There needs to be a shift away from freaking out about what people possess (guns), and serious consideration of changing the way people think (heart)

The problem with so many problems is that government wants to step in and overstep in cases where inaction is perfectly fine.  But politicians want to grab every horrible headline and say, “Yes, I am going to fix that for everybody.”

Hillary Clinton certainly wasn’t going to miss her chance after two TV journalists were fatally shot on the air last week.

“We have got to do something about gun violence in America. I will take it on. There are many people who face it and know it but then turn away because it’s hard,” Clinton said. “It’s a very political, difficult issue in America. But I believe we are smart enough, we are compassionate enough, to figure out how to balance the legitimate Second Amendment rights with preventive measures and control measures so that whatever motivated this murderer who eventually took his own life, we will not see more deaths, needless, senseless deaths.”

Gun control would have prevented this double murder?  Probably not.  You simply can’t ignore the condition of a man’s heart in all these discussions.

She claims that it’s a political problem (and of course, she will fix it).  But it’s not a problem of laws, regulation, and ownership.  Gun violence is a problem of moral decay.

Laws can be made to bring and maintain order in society.  But government cannot enter homes and legislate the presence of moral values and respect for life.

Instead, government officials constantly claim to fix problems that they can’t fix, but all they achieve is poisoning impressionable minds with false hope of easier and better lives by someone else’s provision.  The result is that misguided souls experience the disappearance of personal responsibility.  Dependent people become hopeless people.  Hopeless people become angry people.

Just as you can’t fight a war on poverty by passing out checks & removing incentives to work, you can’t fight a war against hatred and violence by ignoring moral issues, placing blame on objects, and cultivating false hope with empty promises.

We don’t have a gun problem.  We have a people problem….a hope problem.  Ever increasing government intrusion and chatter breeds hopelessness and helplessness.

God and self, in that order.

Big government……silence is golden.  You can’t really fix a lot of things.  People can fix things.  But the more you intrude and the more you talk, you continue to demonstrate a fine ability to make matters worse.