Guns are Killing Us!

One of the things I tried to learn following Dr. W. Edwards Deming was to diagram “cause and effect” (see reference below). Looking at a problem, what were the possible causes of that problem? One of the stories I loved was that of Don Ardell’s “Upstream-Downstream” — how the people of Downstream worked so hard to rescue people who had fallen into the river upstream of them. The result of their approach to the problem was that they became experts in water rescue.

After many years of perfecting their water rescue and resuscitation techniques (they even built a special hospital to address the problem), a young person who was visiting Downstream asked an important and life-altering question, “Why hadn’t anyone from Downstream gone up river to Upstream and find out why so many people were falling into the river?”

UnknownThat’s where I think we are today with the matter of gun violence. We think of scores of other ways to try and manage the problem than the obvious one.

Police officers are being killed by handguns, the probability today of a police officer encountering a citizen with a firearm is quite high, hundreds of young, black men kill each other in intra-city violence, and deaths by suicide with a firearm continue to soar.

What is our response? We talk about gun violence as a major public health issue, we talk about conflict resolution, anger management, and keeping peace among youth gangs, yet we continue to pass legislation that blocks most the sane approaches to gun control — like 48-hour waiting periods for gun purchases, testing a potential gun owner’s knowledge of the law, their knowledge of gun safety procedures, and testing their firearms proficiency and accuracy.

The fact is that guns are killing us and we seem unable to go Upstream and find the real cause of this: There are too many handguns on the street.

When are we going to understand this? When are our police going to speak up about what’s harming them?

One of the reasons we have a trained, armed police in our society so that ordinary citizens don’t have to carry guns to defend themselves; that’s what police do.

I know this seems like an uphill battle given what many of us believe to be a wrong interpretation of our Second Amendment by the Supreme Court. But causes are causes – and the proliferation and lack of control and regulation of handguns is causing the deaths of too many of us.

Guns are causing folks to fall into the river Upstream.

It’s time to say no to the possession of handguns outside the home and do something about it.


For more about diagraming “cause and effect” see this: http://asq.org/learn-about-quality/cause-analysis-tools/overview/fishbone.html