Finding the Balance Between Individual Freedom & Collective Responsibility – Episode 63

Finding the Balance Between Individual Freedom & Collective Responsibility - Episode 63Robert and Dave continue their spirited conversation in the final installment on gun safety. The attempt is to look at the most sincere elements of each political party. As they examine the details of what could inspire the country to unite the fringe extremes are excluded. Trump and his key supporters who are committed to the big lie, insurrection, and many illegal activities are not considered part of the solution. A vote for Trump is a vote that threatens gun ownership. The paranoia and fear that he has unleashed and the deaths and mass shootings that have been a result of the questioning of democracy and every institution are a result of his alternative fact environment. We must tone down this animosity through more programs and treatment centers to combat dangerous nationalists and the anti-democratic calls to violence on the internet and in schools. What will make democracy flourish once again is finding the balance between individual freedom and collective responsibility. The other major theme of this series makes the connection between gun safety and transforming the expression of hatred into strength. 

For a more step-by-step breakdown of how to address transforming your own anger and resistant emotions please visit When we become aware of what we need, we can learn to express strongly what it is that we are for rather than what we are against. A big part of doing this is not to demonize a large percentage of our population believing this is going to create more peace. This method helps navigate converting black and white thinking into strength to be for democracy and against anti-democracy. 

Robert and Dave make an out-of-the-box proposal that is a new way of imagining people who have guns. It would require willing participants to go through approved training and psychological testing to become an additional layer of protection in the form of a militia in the way that The Second Amendment intended. There are plenty of people that want to do good. This would provide an opportunity for gun owners to become protectors. We want to create a sense of membership in the United States of America wanting to protect our democracy.

Mentioned in this episode
Awareness That Heals
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 63.

Robert: (00:04)
When you drive a car, do you have to have driver’s training? How can you say that you don’t need driver’s training? Or how can you say we don’t need gun training? Are they not similar? Is it not evident? Would you seek treatment from a doctor who hadn’t had training? Would you really put your life on the line with someone who hadn’t been through medical school? These are such minimum requirements that somehow guns are excluded

Announcer: (00:33)
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: (01:11)
So we’re gonna continue the spirited, uh, episodes on gun safety and toning down the hatred from every angle possible in our country. And I’d like to give you all this passionate welcome to The Missing Conversation where most of the time we’re addressing the pressing issues that the world’s facing. However, today we’re going to focus on those same issues that the, our country is facing and finish our series of podcasts, where we’re focusing on two of the most pressing issues that are dividing our country and threatening democracy, which is gun safety. And how do we tone down the expression of hatred as much as possible from all ends of the political spectrum. And we’re tempting to do our best, to look at the most sincere elements of each political party and look at the best potential inspiration from both approaches to serve America and democracy. The fringe on the left and the right are pretty well or actually are really being excluded.

Robert: (02:24)
As we examine the details of what we could really do to inspire our country, to unite by looking toward the middle of each party, we’re also eliminating president Trump and those that are his key supporters and the hardcore base that is committed to the big lie, the insurrection and the many illegal activities that seem very evident. I believe that there are many that can be accepted that have appeared to be supporters and their weakness is really their need to stay in power, or they have been only partially unconscious, but really down deep will be very open to change when the light of day hits revealing the many lies as is being exposed now by the special committee in the Congress. 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 the extreme ends of political differences and are ignoring the tangible and potential reachable, sane and safe grounds from which we can support in evolving democracy, which our country so badly needs. We also are going to do our best to both make a connection between gun safety and transforming the expression of hatred into strength. Before we go into that, I’d like to introduce Dave, my partner at the Global Bridge Foundation and dearest friend for over 50 years.

Dave: (04:06)
Robert, thank you. And these particular episodes have been, uh, hitting a really a, a tough, tough spot for people to get past their own preconceived or let’s say their own existing notions. Uh, historically, uh, the second amendment as you’ve gone over has meant one thing, and it is morphed into, as you’ve said again, 300 million weapons in our country. I think the aspirations, uh, that are being expressed here are, uh, prescient, important, and I am rooting with all my being that they come to pass.

Robert: (04:50)
Playing right off that, I wanna be very clear that in today’s world we’re very aware that nothing is getting passed. And so we’re really asking you to assume that we’re going to be able to have a sane Congress that wants to unite to have any chance of passing anything, let alone this. So we’re not living in a dreamland for those of you that are wondering. I believe the best way to really address the toning down of the hatred is really to make reference to the other podcast, which is at, and it’s the very last section of those podcasts, which are about 10 to 15 podcasts on what is called transforming anger and resisting emotions. And I’m gonna give a brief introduction as to how that is done and don’t expect anybody to fully get it and would encourage you to go over to and look at the last episodes that are on anger and resistant emotions.

Robert: (06:02)
So basically, that process starts off with really appreciating the awareness of our own anger. And in this case, hatred on a continuum, including impatience, frustration, annoyance, irritation, uh, in this case it’s on the more dramatic end. That awareness is sacred because we can just speak as if we’re God and we’re speaking the truth, and we’re just truth-tellers, and not realizing that we’re actually spilling off rage, hatred, anger toward Trump or toward the Democrats or whatever direction it’s coming. And after we’re really aware of that anger, which is a big step, and it’s not just the truth. We then come into contact with a part of us that recognizes, you know, what I wanna find a way to have this be creating some benefit and not just slashing out. And we’ve called that the intention to care or the intention to heal. And so, with the awareness of anger being the first step, the second step is really being aware of that intention to care or do some benefit in whether that’s personally or whether that’s globally or whether that’s politically in any area of life.

Robert: (07:19)
When we really have that intention to care, it will give us pause. And that leads us into the third step of transforming anger and resistant emotions, which is containment. And in the containment phase, we’re holding back the dumping of the anger, or for that matter the suppression of the anger, and the containment doesn’t mean suppression. It means we’re doing our best to try to see that we’re angry or hating because we’re against something, and we’re inquiring in this containment phase how can we be for something, because whenever we’re against something there is a need that we have–that we’re for–that’s thwarted that makes us angry. So we’re going back in the containment phase to try to understand what it is that we’re actually for. So in every case, I believe except for the very extreme end of the Trump anti-democracy element, we’re for democracy from different angles.

Robert: (08:22)
And so we need to find a way to be strong and even-keeled when we’re expressing what we’re expressing. And then when we become aware of the need, we’re now learning how to express strongly what it is that we’re for rather than what we’re, what it is we’re against and learning how to speak in a tone of voice that is sane and not just rip-roaring against. And that’s where we make that shift from just being hating and against the opposite view of what we have and we’re civil, but strong. And it’s a lot longer process than that, but that’s a quick summary. Now, in the last episode, I wanna repeat a couple of the themes because they’re so instrumental in understanding the whole premise of trying to recruit gun owners that really are the potential for being heroes and are really, have the courage.

Robert: (09:29)
If the congress was at a stage where it could empower it to be a force to prevent the senseless killings that we’re seeing all over the place and using the analogy of seeing what’s necessary to have any kind of dangerous weapon in our society seems utterly sensible. And as we shared in the last episode, would you sit on a plane if you knew your pilot had no training, and can you see that a gun and a plane are both potentially weapons of let’s say a peaceful transition or killing, would you fly with somebody that didn’t have a license to fly? When you drive someone in your car, do you use seat belts when you drive a car, do you have to have driver’s training now? How can you say that you don’t need driver’s training? Or how can you say we don’t need gun training? Are they not similar? Is it not evident? Would you seek treatment from a doctor who hadn’t had training? You know, would you really put your life on the line with someone who hadn’t been through medical school? These are such minimum requirements that somehow guns are excluded.

Dave: (10:51)
So funny, I, I was just gonna offer to do heart surgery for you.

Robert: (10:55)
as long as it’s an emotional heart surgery, I, I would consider it, but definitely not with a knife. So those people that have gone through in this proposed, uh, new way of dealing with people that have guns, those people that have gone through the approved training, that would be significant if they haven’t already had it in their prior background. And the psychological testing will be really utilizing what we’ve already expressed as the real intent of the constitution and the second amendment, which is a counterbalance of another level of safety. There eventually are several areas that we need to come to an agreement on, in addition to this out-of-the-box proposal. And that is the obvious ones that have been talked about a lot, whether to ban use of AR-15s, all the belts and weapons and alterations of weapons that allow for mass killing quickly, the depth of psychological background checks, or which violent records need to be part of the safety for our country.

Robert: (12:13)
I have no doubt. I really have no doubt. And I think if you look closely, most of you will have very little doubt that our founding fathers could never have imagined the amount of senseless death that we have today because of shootings, not only mass shootings, but shootings period. While I believe they would wanna keep these rights, they would ensure we have sane checks and responsibilities. This will be a lot easier once the many great Americans that feel the need for guns can, can reveal their heroism as they will no longer feel judged or be judged and will be amongst the country’s heroes. Now, for Democrats, that sounds like a betrayal, but in reality, if you can open up your mind and your heart, as we’ve talked about in the prior episodes, that 99% plus of people that are owning guns have no issue or interest in killing people, they’re there because they’re scared and they wanna be protective.

Robert: (13:25)
And at, at one level, it’s a, let’s say it’s one derivative away from the original intent of the founding fathers as we’ve clarified. Do you get that? Is that something that you can let in at least as a contemplation, it is clear as I emphasize in the last episode that president Trump couldn’t do anything to create more of a backlash against gun owners, think about it, think about the paranoia that he has created by starting with a big lie and having people come out with their guns. And then the backlash of Democrats that are saying, oh my God, they’re killers. And oh my God, we’ve gotta stop the guns. You as a gun owner, if that’s you, can you not see that president Trump represents the, your worst nightmare of your rationale for why you have a gun and you being seen by many people as a potential killer, rather than a protector.

Robert: (14:38)
I fully believe that you are overwhelmingly a protector, but can you not see that a vote for Trump is a vote that threatens your guns? That seems like a completely issue paranoia and the fear that he is unleashed and the deaths and the mass shootings that have resulted as an extra result of questioning the democracy, questioning every institution we have is utterly clear. I hope for you, as you look at it, you can see a linkage between the understandable fear of president Trump unleashing this violence and the threat to your guns that this will allow you to pause and think twice, even if you agree with some of his policies, even if you see a couple of the Republican policies, which frankly, I agree with a couple of, of the policies, I do believe that we need to have clearer immigration reform. I do believe we needed to, we needed to do a better job of leaving Afghanistan.

Robert: (15:46)
I happen to agree with more democratic proposals and approaches by a fair amount, but because there have been enough failures, I can no longer afford to stay in that box. And I think a lot of us need to stay in a middle box. And if we really think for ourselves, we’ll, we’ll see that the majority of the country is in a middle box. A lot of Republicans are disenchanted with Republicans and a lot of Democrats are disenchanted with Democrats. So, this is speaking to that voice. I believe that all of those that have used guns to murder others without reason have had extreme psychological trauma in their background. This is not the norm. And it’s also not even the norm, if you’ve had severe psychological trauma, that you’re gonna be a killer, but the killers that are there are damaged people. They are not the norm of a gun owner. And again, I’m not saying that if I had my way that I wouldn’t be eliminating AR-15s and that I wouldn’t have background checks and I wouldn’t raise the ages. And I don’t agree with the majority, I do agreement with the majority of democratic views on having much more safety, but I surrender to reality and we all need to surrender to reality cuz we don’t have control and we’re not gonna have control of that.

Dave: (17:12)
I think it’s important to say, uh, that we don’t have control over the political reality, but putting aside the political reality, I think the majority, and I think that there is clear evidence that some of those things are supported by the majority. And in fact, with background checks, the overwhelming majority of Republicans,

Robert: (17:36)
It’s a great point, but the fear on the part of the Republican voter that their guns are gonna be taken away, make them not see that they’re shooting themselves in the foot. And so you have this big division of being against guns, but still voting for Trump. And, and you have the, you, you have not against guns, but against gun control. And so the fear is that gap of 20 or 30%. And that’s what we’re attempting to speak to, that your guns are not gonna be taken away. Our guns are not gonna be taken away for those of us that have guns. What might happen if the country becomes much more divided, is there may be a threat to all kinds of additional protections. If Trump is elected and the country is really in a civil war or a Trump character that isn’t Trump because he’s behind bars and somebody else that’s going to have the same policies.

Robert: (18:42)
We’re gonna be in a deep and profound division that is going to threaten our society. And it may be that it’ll be the next president that will be the non-Trump, or the non-Trump surrogate that ends up getting elected that will then backlash. So, what we need to do is tone down the hatred and start to have the people that are voting for anti-democracy leaders. See that we’ve got to protect our democracy at all costs, and we need to create more programs, more treatment centers that are set up to be able to see who are the people that are putting out messages on the internet, who are the people in school that are isolated, who, who are the people in school that seem to be a threat? How can it be easier for kids or adults to report when they see sites or they see schools or teachers see students, how can we set it up to be able to have more treatment centers? Can we add a class or at least an auditorium get together in every school to talk about the dangers that are there and that, that we all need to be protectors as individuals, whether we’re in school or whether we’re in society or whether we’re reading a site that we have a place to report it to.

Dave: (20:13)
Without sounding like it’s too self-complimentary to us, I just wanna let people know how possible it is to do something in a program, in a treatment center like this. And I age myself here, but you’ll recall the program we ran for I think it was 125, something like that, emotionally disturbed adults, uh, that lived in an apartment building in Los Angeles. And before we ran that program, uh, suicides were not infrequent. In the years that we ran that program, the two to three years, there were none. And I don’t think that’s an accident. I think it’s because of bringing to bear, uh, creatively, lots of people from colleges, people that were training, people that were trained to be there to notice, uh, to pay attention, to sort out things before they got to a level where that happened. I don’t think that’s an accident.

Robert: (21:25)
Even expanding what you’re saying. You said emotionally disturbed adults. We had a schizophrenic population that were in mental hospitals that were functioning enough to be able to be in a halfway house in multiple apartment buildings. And the optimism that you’re conveying, I fully agree, if that was brought to schools, if that was brought to auditoriums, if that was brought to the populations that want peace. If people were talking about people possibly signing up to be heroes in a much bigger way that are gun owners, but what about the heroes that are just ordinary people that–they may be gun owners not–but they’re looking at websites, they’re listening to conversations. They’re ordinary people that wanna do good. And there are plenty of people that wanna do good. There are teachers all throughout our country that would welcome a health course that would be taught, or like I was mentioning earlier, an auditorium get together where we’re trying to create a sense of membership in the United States of America in our program that we did at the Beverlywood Aftercare Center that Dave’s referring to. We changed the identity of what was the patients to members.

Robert: (22:54)
And it’s that kind of thing where we are members, we are citizens of the United States of America wanting to protect our democracy. And if there’s such a high percentage of us that need to think clearly about how do we do that. And certainly a big part of doing that is not demonizing a large percentage of our population in believing that the demonizing is actually going to create more peace and this containment of anger and rage and hatred, and finding a way to not have that convert to black and white thinking. And finding a way to transform that into strength, to be for democracy against anti-democracy. That is such a key part that every one of you that are listening have a responsibility to do that. And as I’ve mentioned, a few other episodes, it will make our dinners with our family relatives, which almost all of us are going through a lot more peaceful.

Robert: (23:59)
If we’re thinking about how do we transform our incredulousness, our superiority, which I am certainly one that has had to do that into conversation that will be still selectively chosen. But if we’re gonna have a conversation, the tone is gonna need to be more civil. We can still be strong, but we’ve gotta differentiate between strong and hating. So in summary, I believe we would do well to ask the gun owners at the various levels to see if they’d be willing to be a protective arm for the country, with a National Guard, with a police and training and psychological testing, being a key element of it. Even if for five years, we have to wait until the Congress is ready to potentially implement such a program. Just even toning down the conversation, to see the, the intention of the average gun owner as being protective rather than to kill.

Robert: (25:08)
That’s starting to make a, a real shift in the tone of our country. I believe I’ve made it clear enough throughout all the episodes that I would like to change things if I had the power, but I have surrendered to reality at one level. And then thinking out of the box at another level, the environment of learning, how to contain our anger is an individual responsibility that relates to every one of you. It includes me, it includes Dave, I have hatred inside me, but I also have the ability to contain it and to work with it and to tone it down. I had one time where I completely lost it and I had to apologize. And, and I apologized not for what I said, but for the way I said it, and I am asking you to be a source of conversation and to hold the awareness that 99% plus, and it’s probably 99.99 in reality of gun owners are not killers.

Robert: (26:19)
And that for us to harness and re-invite them back into our hearts as being people that could actually be heroic is something that will create a tone shift and will lessen the division in our country. I agree it may be overly optimistic to be believing that this could happen in any short period of time. And I certainly am not trying to be grandiose and say, I, I have a clear idea of how much training there’s gonna need to be, how much psychological testing it’s gonna be, how many people are really gonna sign up. But I do believe that it’s completely in sync with our founding fathers and what they aspired to create in our democracy, as a key element of protection for our democracy. And I believe if we go at the level of intention of non-gun owners or gun owners, protection is the dominant tendency that exists in America, but because of misunderstanding each other because of black and white thinking, because of the rhetoric, because of the hatred, because of the Trump influence of bringing lies and making truth seem like a philosophy. Because of the corruption that has gone on, we’ve lost the access to that pure intention that is dominant in an overwhelmingly high percentage of Americans.

Robert: (27:53)
I’m asking you to join in this reevaluation and thinking outside-the-box toward the middle of both parties, regardless of whether you are a strong Democrat or a strong Republican, being able to see that hatred is gonna create hatred. So, I thank you very much for your contemplation for going all the way to this point in the podcast. If this is the only one you’ve listened to, or you’ve only listened to a couple, I would strongly encourage you not only to listen to all five of these, but to listen to and how to transform anger or hatred into strength and communication. And I would ask you to pass on the word to those you know that are an influence to those that are just friends, because you never know how far this could be taken when you pass this on to your friends and your colleagues.

Robert: (28:53)
So I thank you dearly for your attention. This is the most passionate episodes that we’ve ever done. And it’s because the issue is so hot. Please don’t understand-misunderstand my passion for anger, because you may hear it that way. But I promise you, I’m doing my very best to communicate in a passionate, strong way, so you don’t think this is a wimpy message, but you also don’t mistake this for hatred. Whatever level of hatred I have is my problem. And it’s a problem for the country. Whatever hatred you have is a problem and it’s a problem for the country. You transferring that into anger and finding a way to do that is your responsibility and all of our responsibility as Americans. So please join me out of the box and into the center of both parties and fighting for in a peaceful way, but a strong way for democracy. Thank you so much for your attention.

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