Peter Senge should come and talk to me. I'll show him where the blame lies. But Mr Senge will probably point out to me that blaming others is the main weapon in a politician's arsenal. Especially in South Africa.
But we will never convince a politician. Not "their" side and not "ours". Even "our" politicians will frame their fight in a way that allows for them to score a win with the highest number of people likely to vote for them. It is our job to convince the highest number of people, the silent minority, of our case. And to mobilise them.
But before we can mobilise them, we still have to convince them. And some people are just more difficult to convince than others.
We hear a lot of debates these days. And after every debate, people are angry at the other side: "How can she be that stupid." The better question is: "To whom did that not sound stupid?"
I can tell you to who it didn't sound stupid: Non-gunowners.
The guy who had a Glock stuck in his face knows that it doesn't look like the one on the hip of the policeman taking his statement. He has a very good idea that it was stolen from a civilian, not a policeman. The lady who was robbed at gunpoint at a traffic light also knows that her car would have offered much better protection against a knife than against the pistol. And they know that a gun of their own would only have helped if they carried it with them all the time. Which they don't want to do.
There are some people who, even though they don't currently own a gun, place a high premium on the ability to get one if they so desire. For the rest, we have to convince them that us having guns presents, on balance, more benefits to them than risks.
I believe that, I really do.
And I know a lot of non-gunowners who feel the same. The lady who desperately cried for help over the CPF radio knows that even her house isn't protection enough against a brazen attacker who isn't under pressure. Them not knowing whether she is armed or not creates pressure. Neighbours willing to help each other creates pressure. A single, armed, person's ability to raise the stakes against multiple attackers creates pressure. The police doesn't create that kind of pressure.
Even unarmed civilians benefit from the pressure created by the possibility of armed civilians in the vicinity. It is our job to convince them of that. But they know that we are emotionally invested in the argument, so they will evaluate our arguments critically. Understanding their world and their way of thinking is very important. This series represents my way of thinking. Not a lot of people will be drawn to it, but to those who are, it hopefully makes a lot of sense.
"We all tend to blame someone else—the competitors, the press, the changing mood of the marketplace, the government—for our problems. Systems thinking shows us that there is no separate “other”; that you and the someone else are part of a single system. The cure lies in your relationship with your “enemy.”
Peter Senge - The Fifth Discipline