B²: Grief and Gun Control

While Charleston still mourned, President Obama used the tragedy to remind America of his gun control agenda.

At an annual meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors in San Francisco on Friday he said, “We have to shift how we think about this issue and we have the capacity to change…That’s how we honor those families (in Charleston). That’s how we honor the families of Newtown, and that’s how we honor the families in Aurora.”

The process of politicizing pain is increasingly familiar. “Why” and “how” questions after tragedies are natural to the human experience, as they are in media interviews. But while the nation grieves with Charleston, do you know how to answer questions about calls for urgent change? The proposed changes take our focus off viable solutions and may forever alter our right to protect ourselves.

Good thing it’s Tuesday, B² day.

Here is this week’s likely media question and the B² (block and bridge) that sets the narrative straight:

Q: “We have to do something. Isn’t it time to institute tighter gun control laws so that another Charleston, another Newtown, or another Aurora doesn’t happen?”

: “What’s happened in all these cities is absolutely terrible, and I can’t imagine the pain the families experience on a daily basis. But the sad reality is that tighter gun control laws wouldn’t have prevented any of these tragedies. What we should do is <insert talking point>.”

Wherever you take the conversation next, whether to talk about the need to protect the rights of responsible gun owners so that we are all safer, or the importance of dealing with mental health issues in this country, DO meet the emotion of the question first. If you ignore the victim in the question and move straight to a talking point, you’ll sound like you don’t care.