Breaking Away from the Us vs. Them Mentality: Gun Safety in America – Episode 58

from the Us vs Them Mentality - Episode 58This week begins a new series exploring gun safety as a polarizing issue in the United States. Robert’s approach deconstructs the us vs. them mentality to assume both political parties’ goodwill, innocence, and virtuous intentions. The process requires us to begin to think in shades of gray rather than black and white. This is as much the purpose of this series as gun safety, as one will naturally support the other, as well as our democracy. 

What will make democracy flower is finding the balance between individual freedom and collective responsibility. In this situation, like many others, both parties are looking at extreme ends of the political difference and are ignoring the tangible, potentially reachable, sane, and safe ground. As you hear this podcast see if you are open to considering not being identified with only one party. As you do this, please eliminate former President Trump and all of the people that directly support him with corruption, flagrant lies, anti-democracy actions and attitudes. The series assumes the part of the goodwill of the Republican party that cares deeply about democracy, the whole country and the world.  

Potentially, this could be each of our contributions to operating from principles that can unite us. See if you can meet us in being part of uniting in the many missing conversations and create a response that will be a new attempt at solving intractable issues. We all bear a responsibility to think outside the box, or we will be buried inside it. Three hundred million guns are already in the hands of Americans. How can we use this to protect America? Robert makes it clear, if it were possible, there would be an abundance of law changes, but until this is able to be passed, a new way to support safety is being proposed.

How can we make use of the way the laws on gun policies are and make constructive use of guns and high-powered weapons that are already on the streets today? Robert and Dave will be reviewing the second amendment and the interpretation by the conservative Justice Burger to reimagine how we can protect the state and protect each other beyond the home.  Follow TMC this week and in upcoming episodes to contemplate how the presence of guns in America can be transformed into a tremendous protective force.

Mentioned in this episode
The Global Bridge Foundation

Note: Below, you’ll find timecodes for specific sections of the podcast. To get the most value out of the podcast, I encourage you to listen to the complete episode. However, there are times when you want to skip ahead or repeat a particular section. By clicking on the timecode, you’ll be able to jump to that specific section of the podcast

Announcer: (00:00)
The Missing Conversation, Episode 58.

Robert Strock: (00:04)
It is because of the way the arms are being used, not because of the right to have them. Are they being used to protect the state? Are they being used to protect the innocent? Are they being used to really be a benefit to our country? This, as you will see, as we go into the podcast is much more of a subtle theme, if we explore into the depth of psychology of both parties, and really listen to the exact words of the second amendment.

Announcer: (00:39)
On this podcast, we will propose critical new strategies to address world issues, including homelessness, immigration, amongst several others, and making a connection to how our individual psychology contributes and can help transform the dangers that we face. We will break from traditional thinking, as we look at our challenges from a freer and more independent point of view. Your host, Robert Strock, has had 45 years of experience as a psychotherapist, author, and humanitarian and has developed a unique approach to communication, contemplation and inquiry. Born from working on his own challenges.

Robert Strock: (01:18)
A very warm welcome again to The Missing Conversation where we do our very best to address the most pressing issues that the world’s facing today and where we look for the most practical, inspiring programs and innovative ideas to support survival on our planet, and also find a sense of unity and inspiration. However, today we’re gonna be zeroing in more on the issues that our country is facing, as it relates to the division and the hatred that’s going on from one side to another, as well as how we can optimize the chance of gun safety. And unlike any other episodes that you’ve heard on The Missing Conversation, this is a series of six episodes, and it’s completely critical that you listen to all of them, cuz we’re dealing with the biggest controversy of our time in our country and a threat, a deep threat to democracy.

Robert Strock: (02:21)
We’re dealing with gun safety and attitude on the country’s part and how can we possibly come together? So while we’re focusing on gun safety, we’re also focusing on how do we assume the others part of goodwill or innocence or intention that isn’t bad, even though we have a tendency to group it. How do we think in shades of gray rather than black and white. That is as much the purpose of this podcast series as gun safety. Because it will support gun safety, if we’re able to pull that off and it will also support democracy. We’re attempting to do our best to look at the most sincere element of each political party, and to look to take the best potential inspiration from both approaches to serve America. The fringe on the left and the right, or let’s say the extremes on the left or the right, are pretty well being excluded as it appears that we need to look at the center of each party to really find a potential solution. What will make democracy flower is finding the balance between individual freedom and collective responsibility. In this situation, like many others, both parties are looking at extreme ends of the political differences, and are ignoring the tangible and potentially reachable sane and safe grounds from which we can support an evolving democracy, which our country so badly needs. I’d like to welcome you, Dave, and thank you again for joining me, Dave, as my partner at the Global Bridge Foundation and closest friend for over 50 years.

Dave: (04:21)
Robert, thank you. This particular issue is, uh, painfully poignant and timely. And I really, really look forward to this.

Robert Strock: (04:32)
Thanks so much. And today we’re gonna be exploring gun safety as a polarizing issue in the country and tragically leading to a loss of life for so many innocent people. It is also so polarized between the Democrats and Republicans. This will just be one critical issue out of the many that are polarizing, that we’re going to be addressing. We’ll also be exploring, in future episodes, abortion, immigration reform, police reform, traditional agriculture being modified to regenerative agriculture, low-income housing, and international agreements for world survival. All of these will be best efforts to include the best wisdom of both parties and providing clear alternative approaches that are inclusive of each of these crucial areas that threaten our democracy and the world. Now I ask you to really bear with me on this because we’re trying to do something that is gonna be counter conditioning no matter which end of the spectrum you’re on.

Robert Strock: (05:46)
If you’re a Democrat, it’s gonna feel like I’m leading toward a Republican. If you’re a Republican, it’s gonna feel like I’m leading toward a Democrat. We all need to think out of the box. So, I ask for you not to jump to conclusions when you hear one sentence that isn’t exactly as you wanna hear it. So as you hear this, see if you are open to considering that the black and white thinking of being with one party strictly is potentially each of our contribution to separating from principles that can unite us. And for me, I can only say that this, at this point in time, it’s crucial. I had been a lifetime Democrat, but can no longer afford to just be one sided. See if you can join us in being a part of uniting in the many missing conversations and create a response.

Robert Strock: (06:42)
That’s going to be a new attempt at solving issues that have been intractable. So, I wanna be really clear that when I talk about Republicans and Democrats, I’m not talking about Trump and Democrats, that when it comes to Trump, he’s in a completely different league. That he is corrupt, he’s anti-democracy and I’m not in any way trying to create any kind of an equivalency. Trump needs to be, as far as I’m concerned, he needs to be jailed. He needs to be tried. He needs to be having the people that participated and the conspiracy to overthrow the election and all the other fraudulent things that he did, that we need to channel our hatred and have it be expressed as passion to have him no longer be a danger to the country, have our country wake up to the fact that conspiracies cannot happen, that are lies about what happened with our election.

Robert Strock: (07:46)
The idea here is not to be grandiose, but to present a quality blend of wisdom that the details will no doubt be sorted by the powers that be, I’m not attempting to come up with every single detail. So here what I’m saying as being a direction more than a reality, but it is us as the people that need to start to loosen up our rigid black and white thinking in order to empower our leaders to take bold action. If we, as citizens are thinking black and white, guess what, of course, we’re gonna have black and white leaders, and we need to take individual responsibility as we’re listening, as we’re thinking, as we’re communicating to be able to be out of the box and say, how are we going to unite? We’ve gotta bring our passion to this. We’ve gotta bring our intelligence and our wisdom to this.

Robert Strock: (08:42)
We all bear a responsibility to think outside the box or we will be buried inside it. Are you ready? I’m gonna start off by quoting the conservative chief justice of the Supreme Court in the late sixties and early seventies, Warren Burger. But before I do, I wanna make it clear that these episodes are not designed to just stay with the apparent condemnation of what Justice Burger said, but to see how we can make constructive use of the way the laws and gun policies exist today. It is not about wanting to bash the Republicans or Democrats, but to ask everyone to serve for the benefit of the state and the country as originally intended, as I hope you will see and will contemplate what’s being presented is pregnant with a very assumption that we are proposing to allow people to protect their state. And you’ll see, as we read the second amendment that the commas and placement and the way it’s written leads to confusion that I’m asking you to take a fresh listen to what the actual simple sentence is and not let the syntax, or the way it’s written, leads you to not understand it.

Robert Strock: (10:14)
Justice Burger quoted the second amendment as follows a well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. Now, here are the additional words of conservative Justice Burger, just 50 years ago. Again, keep in mind, this is a conservative, the gun lobby’s interpretation of the second amendment is one of the greatest pieces of fraud. And I repeat the word fraud. And for those of you that are really listening, I’m not the one repeating the word fraud, he is. On the American people, by special interest groups, that I have seen in my lifetime, the real purpose of the second amendment was to ensure that the state have armies, and would be militias, and would be maintained for the defense of the state. The very language of the second amendment refused any argument that it was intended to give everyone a guarantee, an unfettered right, for any kind of weapon, he or she desires. The syntax or the complexity of the way it is written has allowed for massive confusion, more through time, much more so than the words themselves actually do.

Robert Strock: (11:36)
For instance, if you read as follows, I hope you’ll be able to see it’s not really changing the meaning, but it’s saying what is pretty clearly. I think very clearly the intention of the second amendment, a well-regulated militia, the right of the people to keep and bear arms being necessary, in parenthesis, for the security of a free state shall not be infringed. Now it’s quite evident when you look at the times, which I’m going to go into of the context of when this would be said, was to protect the country, to protect the state, not for individuals to bear guns to just to protect their own families, but to protect a wing of our country, of our state. Keep in mind that during the revolutionary war era, militia referred to groups of men who banded together to protect their communities, towns, colonies, and eventually states.

Robert Strock: (12:47)
Once the United States declared its independence from great Britain, in 1776, many people in America at the time believed governments used soldiers to oppress the people and thought the federal government should only be allowed to raise armies with full-time paid soldiers when facing foreign adversaries for all other purposes, they believed it should turn to part-time militias, or ordinary civilians using their own weapons. It was like another branch of government, another branch of protection. It is utterly clear that the right to bear arms was to protect against unrest or war that threaten the states of people, in any state, due to what the country had just gone through with the revolutionary war, as well as the fears due to slavery ending in a revolt. My hope in these episodes is to find the way, through you the listener, and to all of you that you know and can convey the real intent and find the way to protect our children, innocent civilians, and use the virtual army of armed citizens to protect the innocent.

Robert Strock: (14:11)
This is a dramatically constructive use of the amendment and is closer to the original intent of the amendment. You will understand that I am advocating a very similar principle that I believe both Republicans and Democrats that are at all realistic can get behind and join together. Finally, the conversion that we’re drilling down to will be one to ask for those that are holding arms to consider joining the ranks of protectors of our innocent civilians. It’s all too easy to polarize against the left or right wing of the Democrat or Republican parties starting with the Republicans. It’s so simple to say they, they wanna take away our constitutional second amendment rights, the right to keep and bear arms. There is potential truth in this Republican complaint, but as you have already seen, clearly I hope, and as you will see, more clearly as the episode goes on, it is because of the way the arms are being used, not because of the right to have them. Are they being used to protect the state? Are they being used to protect the innocent? Are they being used to really be a benefit to our country? This, as you will see, as we go into the podcast is much more of a subtle theme. If we explore into the depth psychology of both parties and really listen to the exact words of the second amendment.

Dave: (16:02)
I just wanna call out here that roughly 20% plus or minus of the country is libertarian. Uh, even though there isn’t always a libertarian candidate and they get folded into different sides in their voting, but they identify with the freedom and the right to bear arms and they are in that camp. And I wanna make sure people who are libertarian that are listening, understand you are included in this discussion.

Robert Strock: (16:36)
Crucial point, crucial point, thank you for adding it. The clarity that there is such a deep divide on an action level and that there are just two extreme political camps that are missing the essential issues. We are really going to explore how this might be united in a way that hasn’t been considered to the best of my knowledge. This Democrat view is one of the two black and white views that amplify separation and alienation. This extreme view is crucifying the gun owners that want guns, AR 15 rifles, cartridges, and belts. It is vital to consider and to realize that most people buying these weapons are genuinely doing it for their own security and feelings of safety for their families. They wanna be another realm of safety for our country, should it be divided again, however they’re dominantly and maybe exclusively focused on their family. What they aren’t doing yet is creating safety for all the innocence that are being killed in schools, in churches, in malls, and more, this is a call to them and also to the Democrats to see a potential application of goodwill that is carefully crafted to be of the maximum of safety and security for all of us. Please pause and realize that if a major amount of the Republicans wanted to kill, we would already be in an overt civil war.

Robert Strock: (18:30)
I admit to myself, I spent years thinking, what in the hell do they need AR-15s for? And I was part of that condemnation for a long while, but then I realized as I had conversations with friends or what became less than friends, why in the hell do you want this? And I would hear enough times for protection for my family. And I started to realize, oh, they actually, 95% or more probably 99%, aren’t interested in killing. They’re buying these arms to protect. This realization, if you’re willing to consider it, and especially if you’re a Democrat, can be the beginning of a new vision and help us lead to a new unity in the United States. We are talking about converting a significant part of the “freedom of guns” to channel it towards safety, voluntarily. And I fully believe that there will be an army of goodwill that will come from it.

Robert Strock: (19:46)
If we unite as a country and realize this is much more in alignment with the original intent, not just to protect our families, but to protect the people that are being threatened by the small group, the small percentage of people that have arms that are killers. It is dependent on all of us in America, looking for uniting strategies that we’re gonna keep exploring, not only with gun safety, but in all kinds of other issues. As I’ve already mentioned, we need to look at the mutual goodwill, were it overlaps, and then look at the relativity that allows for healing options in our country. Please don’t react and get lost in your reactions until you hear the full interpretation of how the guns can serve our safety under clearly agreed to conditions. Most of this group of gun owners truly believe and anticipate that there is a very real potential of a civil war or an equivalent.

Robert Strock: (21:01)
That was always shocking, as I would talk to Republican friends of mine, it’s like, “what are you paranoid” was what was thinking. And then as the world has continued to devolve, we can see all kinds of ways this could occur, and it doesn’t seem insane anymore. It does seem insane to keep gathering weapons and not have a recruitment of people that want to be protective that are aligned with police, national guard, which we’ll go into later. We’re gonna hopefully use this protective instinct toward families and recognize innocence are part of our family. The problem is that there hasn’t been a united policy of how do we parlay this same need to be united in a common strategy to protect these innocence all over the country. Do you get that potential? If you assume that we’re going to create a safety net of how this is done, do you get how having millions of guns that sign up with careful screening and safety measures that would have a beeper that would be alerted and that they would be motivated to protect.

Robert Strock: (22:34)
And we’ll never be able to protect ourselves from these 300 million gun owners and the occasional person. If we don’t have a vast protective force and the fact that we have 300 million guns in the country, we’re not gonna be getting everybody to turn them in, let alone the resistance that is there and the interpretation that they have of the constitution. However, in talking with what now have become more of my Republican friends, I see there’s a very high percentage of them. That would be very game to sign up and to be protective of a larger percentage or the whole percentage of innocent people. If they got beeped, if there couldbe some kind of a sane agreement. Now, the question is, can you let this in? Can you spread the word? Can you see that? It’s possible that this is the real intent of why Republicans are getting guns.

Robert Strock: (23:34)
It’s not to shoot ’em up, it’s actually to be protective. The problem is the protection isn’t expanding beyond the home. Can you let that in as a beginning concept, as I said, I haven’t until very recently seen the potential innocence that can be activated by both parties. If we drop into our core intentions and we haven’t fallen prey to a bit of prejudice without really asking why do most gun owners really want guns? If it’s really to kill wouldn’t we all be dead already. Isn’t it obvious that we’ve misjudged them, not out of malice, but out of just this divisiveness that’s happening in our country, is it really simplistic that they are crazy violent killers or is there really a more innocent and accurate interpretation of the overwhelming vast majority that have protective instincts? There is this incredible potential. And granted it’s going to require drilling down beyond my pay grade to figure out how this can be done safely.

Dave: (24:52)
Clarify, please, if you would, what you’re proposing, what you’re asking all of us to be open to with the need, given all the police forces, which is another conversation, how many different aspects of law enforcement overlaps, et cetera, exist? I mean, it’s ad nauseam. How this squares with the need for a person to protect with an AR-15 paramilitary, or you could call it military weapon?

Robert Strock: (25:29)
It’s a crucial question. I’m gonna give you a brief answer because that’s designed for future episodes, but I agree to keep you the audience really attentive. You need to see some glimmer of what we’re talking about. What happened in Texas is a classic example of police being outside the room, cuz they didn’t have the same kind of weaponry. Because they were afraid, they were paralyzed, they’re frozen. We need to have a very carefully screened, psychologically sound, well-trained, group of people that sign up specially. That they will hold a beeper, they will go through the training, they will take the psychological test, they will have a background check, and they will be part of a force that will be only able to utilize this force if they’re called on by the police departments, and they will be only able to go directly at the killer.

Robert Strock: (26:42)
They know they bear responsibility if they’re careless, they know they have one target and that’s to save the innocents. They have no other permission and they are an extension of the police for this one and only purpose, and the details of which we’re gonna go into. But I have no illusion that we’re gonna cover all the details. But the premise is if every area has a protector that has the same weaponry as the attacker, then the odds are overwhelming that they will be able to nail this attacker and do it in a crisp way that the police currently aren’t able to do.

Dave: (27:30)
So, am I understanding you to say that if AR-15s, for example, are available to a person that potentially is going to do harm to innocents, that police forces should have the same or even more significant weaponry? So we’re in a sense you’re expanding, uh, the number of those weapons?

Robert Strock: (27:56)
That, that indeed is, is a suggestion that every police force has at least one AR-15, and my understanding right now is most do. But that they have that available and accessible for just and only this circumstance, only a mass killing emergency that is to be kept under careful protection. But yes, in addition to the citizenry, the police also must have this option or else what happened in Texas will occur again. And not only is it important for the response to be able to happen, it will be a great disincentive for the attacker to know that there are gonna be local people that are gonna be fighting fire with fire, and they’re not as likely to succeed. It will be an enormous army of protectors. If we can see that the goodwill is actually really there. I had a conversation with one close friend and he said, sign me up, I’m ready to go.

Robert Strock: (29:08)
If you look at the heartbeat of the Republicans that have the weaponry, I believe a significant percentage will sign up. Even if they have to go through a couple days of training or retraining and psychological testing and background checks. So, I hope that you will start joining me and be eager to follow how we go into this, how we run it down, how we see that how we viewed as an actual evil can be a tremendous protective force, but it does require thinking outside the box. So, I invite you to join me and to contemplate this. And if you are joining me, hopefully this is a conversation that will spread like wildfire. So thanks again for your attention. And I look forward to penetrate further with you in this.

Robert Strock PhoitoJoin The Conversation
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