The Deflection of Responsibility

by | Jun 22, 2022 | 1 comment

Why haven’t we solved the issue of mass shootings and gun violence? We have been living with escalating gun violence at least since Columbine, if not earlier. Yet, it’s not an intractable problem. Other countries like Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Norway, and the United Kingdom—once faced with mass shootings—have greatly reduced gun violence.  Why not us? The answer comes down to a deflection of responsibility.


The Myth Behind the “They” Mentality

When it comes to gun violence, many individuals see themselves as helpless bystanders who can’t make any meaningful difference on their own. Instead, “they” have to come up with a solution. “They” need to change the policies. Or “they” need to adopt stricter regulations for background checks. Or “they” need to determine how to make sure schools are secure. Or “they” need to deal with mental health issues.

What happens when “they” don’t or won’t act?


The Deflection of Responsibility

In my leadership development program, Creating a Culture of Renewal®, we have an answer for that. We teach that renewal begins within. When a leader takes responsibility for beginning the process of change, that change ripples out to positively impact people and situations all around them. We call this tapping into your agency.

This is the same agency that our baptismal vows call us to:  to resist evil, injustice, and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves. Let’s tell the truth: gun violence is evil. It’s evil to shoot people. It’s evil to turn once safe spaces like schools, churches, homes, and medical clinics into suspect environments. It’s evil to let this violence fester and not take action. Especially when we are called to be a witness for the gospel of good, a witness for peace, and a witness for love.

So what would it look like for you and your church to begin to assume responsibility for gun violence? To understand that the responsibility for peace and safety begins within? What might you do differently?


Next Steps

I encourage you to join me in my commitment to take an active stance. I have four recommendations for how you can make a difference.

  • Reach out to your elected officials. I did. I told them my colleagues and I were tired of burying community members due to senseless violence. I got a call back and an offer to meet with my Senator and her staffers. I’m going to gather some colleagues to meet with them. If you’re not sure who to contact, the League of Women Voters website allows you to enter your address and get contact information for all of the elected officials in your local and state government.  You may also visit the United States Senate website, which allows you to choose your state and find contact information for the senators representing your state in Washington, DC.
  • Download and read this Gun Violence Cheat Sheet from Rev. Lindsey Long Joyce. It’s a great resource that considers the different views that congregations can have when it comes to common sense gun safety. Similarly, Discipleship Ministries published an outline on how to have a  Courageous Conversation on Gun Control. It’s a helpful starting point that can be adapted to fit your needs.
  • If you are able, donate your time or money to organizations whose purpose is to help end gun violence, such as March for Our Lives and Everytown for Gun Safety.
  • If you are a member of the NRA, call them and petition for common sense gun policies.

    While you may have given up on national leadership to make a change, remember that we are the ones that have voted these folks in. Eventually, politicians will have to follow us if we lead. If we don’t change, nothing will change.

    However you choose to participate, know that we do have a choice in what happens and that what you say and do matters. Comment below and share with me how you are or can take an active stand against gun violence.


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    1 Comment

    1. Ginny Biglow

      Encouragement to DO something is so important. – Thank you for that !!


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