When Do You Stop Needing A Coach?

I have benefited from having coaches, mentors, sponsors, and therapists. These people have helped my development and growth. They have led me to “pay it forward” to become a mentor and leadership coach. While mentoring has no time limit, coaching does have a limit. The question is, “When do you stop needing a coach?”

Whenever I begin coaching a client, we spend the first session getting to know one another. We see if we can dance with one another without stepping on toes. We seek to see if the vibe between us works.

It is important to be clear on the client’s desired outcomes. My coaching focuses on helping clients develop skills to improve performance, increase effectiveness, and raise emotional intelligence. These are fundamental behaviors for good leadership. Perhaps there is a desired behavior change of overcoming a bad habit with a new habit. While some coaches seek a successful outcome with better efficiencies, I seek to help the coaching client to be more effective by being more significant with others, which impacts their ability to lead themselves and others. After all, leadership is about relationships.

Early in the process, I do a SWOT where clients acknowledge their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Discovering opportunities and threats can help with developing needed skills. I help clients to imagine they will be on the front cover of Today’s Leader magazine three years from today. What will be the headline? What will be the significant accomplishments, notable quotes, and key learnings? I ask the client to project their legacy and the future they wish to create.

When does coaching reach its end?

Every one of us is a continual work in progress dealing with our imperfections, warts, scars, mistakes, and failures. When we reach a state of loving ourselves just as we are, accepting our imperfections, having a good practice of self-compassion, and can laugh at ourselves, perhaps it’s time to stop coaching. Confidence has been achieved.

Good coaching sessions have a flow where conversations go deep, challenge thinking, and create AHAs! When those conversations no longer happen, that may be a sign that coaching has run its course. At the heart of coaching are the questions that get asked. When the coaching client can ask themselves better questions than I am asking, coaching is no longer needed.

One size fits one. – Tom Peters

There is also a need to end coaching when the client is no longer committed to doing the work they need to do. I usually send a pre-work email to clients on issues to discuss and give them homework assignments to help them prepare for the upcoming discussion. It’s time to stop coaching when the client doesn’t do the pre-work and gives excuses.

There are some skills I am very good at in coaching others. There are other skill sets I am not good at. If the coaching client could use a coach with stronger skill sets in an area I am weak, I refer them. I am not everyone’s cup of tea, but I am that shot of whiskey for some!

If coaching discussion moves from discussing skills to issues around unhealthy relationships (i.e., marriage), regulating emotions (i.e., anger management), unhealthy coping skills (i.e., addictions), processing a traumatic event (i.e., PTSD), or mental illness, I recommend the client find a therapist.

What has led to you telling a coach, “Thank you! I no longer need you.”

What has led a coach to tell you, “I don’t think you need my coaching any longer.”

Are You The Person Your Dog Thinks You Are?

“Treat people as though they were what they ought to be and you help them become what they are capable of being.” -Goethe

A while back, there was a print ad for Twenty Things You Should Do in This Lifetime. It listed such things as riding in a gondola in Venice, standing on the Great Wall of China, seeing the sunrise over the ruins at Machu Picchu, seeing an opera at La Scala in Milan, and since it was an ad for BMW, owning a BMW.

The ad got me thinking about Twenty Things You Should Be in This Lifetime.

Here is my list.

1 Be loving. 99% of whom and what we are cannot be seen. Learn to love yourself and realize there is no one exactly like you. When you do, you will be at peace. Love begins with you.
2 Be a role model. Thunder makes all the noise, but lightning does all the work! Role models keep commitments.
3 Be a giver. Give 10% of your time, talent, and treasure to others. You reap what you sow. Give blood.
4 Be part of a community. It is within the community we can share our ideas as well as our pain and vulnerability without fear. A team is a community.
5 Be a saver. Save 10% of everything and anything, you earn. Rainy days will come and your savings will provide a rainbow.
6 Be curious. Great leaders are great readers. Study your life. When you go to bed, ask yourself, “What do I know tonight that I didn’t know this morning?”
7 Be compassionate. Random acts of kindness are not just a good practice they are good medicine.
8 Be passionate. A job is something you do with your hands. Work is something you do with your hands and mind. Passion is what you do with your hands, mind, and heart.
9 Be ethical. There is the easy way and the right way. The right way is ethically based.
10 Be spiritual. You can count the number of seeds in an apple, but only God can count the number of apples in the seed.
11 Be timeless. Our medieval ancestors had no concept of time, but we are in danger of being controlled by the clock. Time is the only resource you cannot save. Learn to use time more wisely.
12 Be healthy. Get enough sleep. Eat sensibly. Get 4 to 5 30-minute aerobic exercise sessions every week. Wash your hands often. If you ignore your health, it will go away.
13 Be able to laugh. Laughter is the only cure for grief. If you cannot laugh at yourself, you leave the job to others.
14 Be responsible. The United States is full of angry people. We confront and point fingers forgetting that three fingers always point back to us!
15 Be there. Light travels at 186,000 miles per second. Sound travels at 1,100 feet per second. Slow down and listen! Learn to be still. Be a caring parent. Be a caring friend. Just be there.
16 Be simple. Choosing to be simple and simplifying, your life reduces stress, conflict, and problems. Practice KISS – Keep It Simple Stupid!
17 Be humble. Instead of thinking, I am better; learn to think, I am different. The differences we have make us stronger together.
18 Be forgiving and forgetting. Learn to forgive yourself for your own shortcomings. Forgive others for their shortcomings. Build a bridge and get over it.
19 Be fearless. The opposite of love is fear, not hate. Fear causes real pain in life including war, crime, drug use, and other forms of destruction. Battle your fears constantly.
20 Be creative. Whenever you encounter a challenge, learn to identify as many resources as possible. Act and be willing to fail forward.

What would your dog add to this list?

How Are You At Networking With Others?*

One of the key conversations in my coaching work around finding a new position or career is about networking. How well does my client network with others? Networking is not what you know, it’s who you know. Who you know is key to creating a better future.

“The key to networking is to stop networking. Nobody wants to have a ‘networking conversation.’ They are hungry for real conversations and real relationships. It just has to be authentic, genuine, and sincere.” 

                                                                          – Greg McKeown, Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

What networkers don’t tell you, is that networking is like your smartphone – a source of distractions! You have to know what to avoid and focus on what is truly essential.

Your overall goal in networking is to be significant to those you meet. What value do you bring to the conversation? What is the value of knowing you? Your title, your status, and your success are about you, do nothing for those you meet.

Here are seven fundamental rules for effective networking.

First rule – is dress so as not to draw attention to your appearance, but to the conversation, you wish to have with others. This also means fresh breath, a warm smile, eye contact, and a good handshake!

Second rule – when you enter the gathering space, don’t wait to be found, go find! This may be a challenge for some introverts!

Third rule – have a crisp, professionally printed business card on high-quality thick card stock with your key contact information and some tagline that summarizes your purpose and hints at the value you may bring to your card’s recipient. Your business card is your one-of-a-kind miniature billboard. It helps create that positive first impression. It needs to be simple, clean, and easy to read. If you can’t get this info on one side of a business card, get help! There is lots of white space for my contact to jot down information.

Fourth rule – have plenty of business cards ready to hand out at all times. I always have cards in the chest pocket of my sport coat or suit. Extra business cards are in my business card case in my sport coat pocket as well as my billfold and briefcase…even more in the glove compartment of my car! Be prepared.

Fifth rule – If you have a drink, keep the drink in your left hand so your right hand is ready to shake hands (as well as not cold and wet!) Networking is not about telling, it’s all about asking and truly listening with good follow-up questions. This is at the heart of a real conversation and the beginning of a relationship. It is about being interested rather than interesting. People you come in contact with don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. Great networkers ask great questions. The questions can be more important than the answers!

If someone shares something, refrain from telling your story on top of theirs. AND make sure you don’t try to one-up or compete with their story! Be secure in yourself. Ask another question about what they have just shared. And by all means, make sure your body language is in sync with your questions! There is nothing worse than asking a question as your eyes stray across the room!

A few of my favorite networking questions are:
– What has surprised or intrigued you about this gathering? Followed up with, That’s interesting! Tell me more!
– What are you expecting from being at this gathering? (This may be an opportunity to help make this happen!) Followed up with, That’s interesting! Tell me more!
– Who would you like to connect with here at this gathering? (You may be their connection and can help them out!) Followed up with, That’s interesting! Tell me more!
– What are you looking forward to doing or seeing? (Another opportunity for you to help make this happen!) Followed up with, That’s interesting! Tell me more!
– What has your interest and attention been on the Internet or what you are reading? Followed up with, ‘That’s interesting! Tell me more!’

Notice that none of these questions are:                                                                                                                                                                     – What do you do for a living?
– How long have you been at __________?
– How long have you lived in __________?
– Do you know _________? He/she works in HR at your company.
– “I’m looking to ______________. Who do you know that I should be talking to?”

If the “What do you do for a living?” question pops out of your mouth (after all, we are creatures of habit!) follow it up with, “Wow, that sounds interesting!” or “Wow, that sounds hard!” or “Wow, that sounds amazing!” or Wow, that sounds awesome!” or “Wow, that sounds edgy!” This response shows you are interested and can get the person to share more.

Sixth rule – ask for a business card. Jot down the date and keywords about this connection.

Seventh rule – follow up with those you meet at the gathering, immediately. I recommend a handwritten, snail mail note with your business card telling the person you’d like to continue the conversation over coffee or tea. Then follow up with a phone call or email to make an appointment roughly 4 to 5 business days later.

Are there other networking behaviors you would add and recommend?

* This is an updated blog I posted in June 2015.

How Do You Define Being ‘Woke’?

USA Today/Ipsos released a poll recently offering two definitions of “woke.” In the poll 56% chose the definition of “to be informed, educated on, and aware of social injustices and 39% picked “to be overly politically correct and police others’ words.” The first definition is correct. The term originated in the Black community as a reference to social injustice. 

The City of Asheville and Buncombe County, NC are working on becoming “woke,” by having formed a reparations commission to explore reparations in five key areas that impact POC (people of color) and their history including:

– health – average white male will live 5 years longer than a POC male; POC infant mortality is 2.5X greater than white

– education – only 57% of POC students have access to a full range of math and science courses necessary for college readiness

– justice – while POC makes up about 13% of our population, POC dominate our jails and prisons

– housing –  POC post a homeownership rate of 46% compared to 76% of white families

– economic – an average white family is 10X wealthier than the average POC family

There are very few communities in America doing this extensive work and study on reparations. Recommend reading From Here to Equality.

This conversation and study on reparations begins with learning and understanding the history of POC in this country and in this community. Knowing the history will help you to understand the inequalities listed above in the five areas of the reparation study. 

One of the first things an oppressor does is remove the history of its victims. I know I can trace my family history back to Scotland and Ireland for over 400 years. Most POC are lucky if they can go back 150 years.

Confederate monuments are a part of this history. If you have the courage, have a conversation with POC about Jim Crow-era monuments and their impact on them. To do a deeper dive, consider joining Building Bridges, attending an REI retreat, and/or becoming a part of CTTT.

The Vance Monument and three other monuments here in Asheville were a part of over 1,700 Confederate monuments erected during the Jim Crow era. Those monuments as well as 10 military bases, numerous streets, buildings, and schools were named after Confederates.

Those monuments are part of the caste system enacted in this country to control, dominate, and oppress POC. There have been three caste systems enacted in the world – India, the United States, and Nazi Germany. The German Nazis learned how to enact their caste system back in the 30s from the United States. They sent people from Germany to study Jim Crow tactics, and the United States sent people to Nazi Germany to help them control the Jews, gays, gypsies, and other ‘deplorables’. If you want to be “woke” to this, recommend reading Isabel Wilkerson’s Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents. This was the non-fiction book of the year in 2020. Recently, Krista Tippett interviewed Wilkerson on this topic.

Robert E. Lee was a traitor to his commission and the oath he took to serve in the U.S. Army. More U.S. Army soldiers died under Lee than any other enemy our armed forces have ever faced in American history. Why do we honor Lee, Vance, and so many others for their traitorous actions? Does Germany have monuments to Hitler and other Nazi leaders? Again, if you want to be “woke” to this history, suggest reading U.S. Army General (retired) Ty Siedule’s Robert E. Lee and Me. Here is a link to Ty Seidule being interviewed on CBS about his book.

Beginning with cotton, tobacco, sugar, rice, and the building of railroads, where are the monuments to POC on whose backs this country’s wealth was built? The Asheville community owes its growth to the enslaved building the railroads that led to Asheville back in the 1800s. Where is the monument to their work?

I haven’t covered what our forefathers did to the indigenous people of this country, the Japanese-Americans during WWII, or any other group of people who do not look white. That’s another topic!

Where are you now with being ‘woke’?

How Old Would You Be If You Didn’t Know How Old You Are?

This is one of my favorite questions to ask others. The responses are interesting. Then there is the follow-up question, “Why would you be that age?”

“There is a certain part of all of us that lives outside of time.” – Milan Kundera, Immortality

Traded navy blue blazer, oxford button-down shirt, tie, pleated cuffed trousers, Cole Hahn loafers, and briefcase for this!

While I am completely at peace with my current age and enjoy it, if pressed, I would respond, “47.”

At 47, I began climbing my second mountain. I began living my eulogy rather than my resume. I left the corporate world and took a position with Camp Joy in organizational and leadership development. I got out of my comfort zones. I was finally living my purpose full time, “Helping individuals and groups to learn to “seize the day” leading to reduced ignorance and suffering and to enhance living.”  This was the foundation of creating nurturing, inclusive communities. Relationships became more important. Family reunions were a joy. Being a part of a men’s small group that discussed issues other than work, politics, sports, and the weather helped me deal with my blind spots. I learned to be vulnerable and realized I was not the only one who experienced pain.

At 47, my marriage was in its 20th year and continuing to evolve in love, with one child in their teens and another not too far from becoming a teenager. My health was the best it had ever been, with great physicals and regular exercise. I was up on high rope courses, regularly facilitating groups from Procter and Gamble, Fifth Third Bank, and Cincinnati Childrens Hospital and Medical Center, to name a few.

I studied leadership in detail and read life-changing books like The Leadership Challenge, Fish Philosophy, and Tuesdays with Morrie.

There were life-changing and enduring relationships with adjuncts Lynn Watts, Scott Steel, Sarah Brown, Otis Williams, and Steve Coats. They continue to make a difference in my life today.

I traded meeting rooms for outdoor firepits.

I was no longer surprised to hear participants tell me they learned more about themselves and their cohorts in 2 days than they had in the past 5 years!

Many times I ended workshops and programs at Camp Joy by reading this passage from Michael Eisner’s Camp:

“Camp is one of America’s ultimate communal dwellings, a shared experience, and an anchor of stories that campers young and old exchange far from our camps, long after we’ve spent our last night in a tent or cabin. Camp is a laboratory of safe danger, and the science practiced in this lab will never be outdated. It’s God and humans teaming up to provide nature’s ultimate playground, where survival in the woods becomes an exercise in training for life’s real-world, man-made challenges; where young people (and old people) can develop their physical and natural skills while also maturing and growing socially.”

At 47, I began being a better version of myself. As you reflect on your version of How Old Would You Be If You Didn’t Know How Old You Are? when did you start becoming a better version of yourself?


Are Books Dumb?

Whenever I facilitate a retreat, a workshop, or a program, I take along books that are relevant to the topic(s) and put them on a table in the room.

I would refer to key New York Times best-seller books, asking if participants were familiar with such an author or book. Much of the time, I’d get deer-in-the-headlight looks. I stopped asking.

I came across this piece by Thomas Chatterton Williams in the Atlantic. It speaks to what I have experienced. It is why I challenge people about opinions. Tell me the basis of your opinion and its foundation. 

“We have never before had access to so many perspectives, ideas, and information. Much of it is fleetingly interesting but ultimately inconsequential—not to be confused with expertise, let alone wisdom. This much is widely understood and discussed. The ease with which we can know things and communicate them to one another, as well as launder success in one realm into pseudo-authority in countless others, has combined with a traditional American tendency toward anti-intellectualism and celebrity worship. Toss in a decades-long decline in the humanities, and we get our superficial culture in which even the elite will openly disparage as pointless our main repositories for the very best that has been thought.”

I grew up in a home of readers. There was always a book or two on my father’s nightstand as he read every night. One of my mother’s favorite ways to relax was to pour a cup of coffee, light up a cigarette and read a book. (She quit smoking in 1969.) We went to the library a couple of times a month. Today, part of my lifestyle is to read a book for one hour per day…and I still have time for 4+ hours of screen time on my iPhone, computer, and TV as well as to eat, exercise, complete “to-dos,” and work.

“I submit that we’d save ourselves an enormous amount of trouble in the future if we’d agree to a simple litmus test: Immediately disregard anyone in the business of selling a vision who proudly proclaims they hate reading.


Consider reading Annie Dukes, Quit: The Power of Knowing When To Walk Away. Dukes, a former professional poker player, learned the secret to winning at poker was knowing when to quit. It turns out, it takes grit to quit! As a rule, most of us are terrible quitters! Dukes helps the reader to learn to quit in order to be successful in life.

I will be facilitating a book discussion on Quit this spring. If you want to learn more and sign up, email me at carrpe.diem@gmail.com

Is the Question More Important than the Answer?

As we come to the end of 2022, how you would answer the following questions?
How would you sum up 2022 in 10 words?
What is the most important lesson you learned this year?
What was the failure that taught you a lesson?
What accomplishment are you most proud of?
What was your favorite memory of 2022?
What were you grateful for in 2022?
Who or what had the most impact on you in 2022?
What challenge(s) did you overcome this past year?
What did you learn about yourself?
How did relationships with family, friends, and cohorts transition this past year?
How were you significant this year? In other words, how did you make a difference in other people’s lives?
What energized you? What zapped the energy from you?
What habit did you stop? What habit did you start?
Going into 2023, how would you answer these questions?
What is your purpose in 2023?
What are your values for 2023?
How will you live those values and hold yourself accountable?
Our habits define us. How will you be defined in 2023?
How do you want others to experience you in 2023?
What is your one big audacious goal for 2023?
Where can you make a difference and put a ding in the universe?
Where do plan to travel in 2023?
Who will you visit in 2023?
What book is on your ‘must read’ list?
What challenge will cause you to get out of your comfort zone?
What is your word for 2023?
What is your question for 2023?

Have You Had A Time To Die Which Led To Your Rebirth?

Recently I was invited by More Fearless Change authors, MaryLynn Manns and Linda Rising, to be a part of a virtual Fearless Change Campfire. I was asked to share a personal story about personal fearless change. Reading their book, I recognized several patterns of implementing change in my life.

My story began after I graduated from college with a major in psychology. I was trying to decide what my next move would be, including going on to get a master’s degree in psychology.

My father left the corporate world to go into business for himself. He purchased a Jan/San distribution business back in the ’60s. He had a sales territory that needed a rep and asked me if I’d like to take the position. I took the position and earned my “master’s degree” in cleaning, learning how to run a profitable business and manage twelve employees! More than that, I learned a lot about my father and leadership. He became a mentor (one of the practices of More Fearless Change). One of my favorite events was meeting my father for lunch to discuss business life.

I loved working with him. We became business partners with a yin and yang way to lead and manage the business. On Sunday, March 13, 1988, we both heard a sermon based upon the V-formation and its connection to creating a loving, nurturing community. I was intrigued by this message and went to the library to check out a book on this Canada goose behavior. On St. Patrick’s Day, March 17, 1988, I shared this information with my father and told him that I thought we had a V-formation with our staff in our business. That was the last conversation I had with my father. He died that night of a massive heart attack.

Easter came on April 3rd and I was deep in the grief of my father’s death and very angry with God. I would have nothing to do with showing up at church in my Sunday best. I did wake up early on that Easter morning and walked down from our home to the Miami River in Dayton, OH, to attend an Easter sunrise service. As I got close to the river, I heard loud honking overhead. I looked up and saw an incredibly large V-formation!

I was speechless, teary-eyed, and humbled. I simply looked up to the heavens and said the greatest prayer of all, “Thank You!” I had just experienced the practices of The Right Time and Emotional Connection leading to the practice of a Time for Reflection, chapters in More Fearless Change.

I took over the principal leadership role in our business. That led me to the More Fearless Change practice of Go-To-Person. I created a board of advisors who challenged me on where and how I was going to lead the business. It also created the More Fearless Change practice of Know-Yourself and Wake-Up Call.

While I loved working with my father in our business, I recognized this was not the purpose of my life. I felt the call to organizational and leadership development. I left the Jan/San business to become the Venture Out! Director at Camp Joy in Clarksville, OH. This work was transformative and rewarding, feeding my gifts, talents, and passions.

My father’s death was a gift. It lead me to helping individuals and organizations learn, live, and promote “seizing the day,” leading to reduced ignorance and suffering and enhanced living.

“We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.”                                                                                                                      – Joseph Campbell, The Hero’s Journey

Question: Have you had a “death” experience, literally or figuratively that led to your rebirth?


How Are You Doing?

Recently, I received an email from a friend asking me about alternatives to the age-old-worn-out-daily-grind-rote-question, “How are you doing?”
What would be your alternative to this boring, unimaginative opening question?
Here are a few of my favorite “How are you doing?” alternatives:
What has your attention right now?  Why? Tell me more! (What has my attention is Dan Harris’ podcast, Ten Percent Happier)
What recent movie or TV series keeps popping up in your mind? Tell me more. (Top Gun Maverick and Ted Lasso for me!) 
You look important (or special) (or significant) (or unique)! Who dressed you today? (Tone of voice and quisical facial expression are important!) (My favorite clothes come from Orvis and Goodwill!)
That aura you are giving off is stunning! How do you do that? (My college psychology senior thesis studied how stimuli impacted an individual’s auras that showed up in Kirlian photos.)
May I ask you a deeply personal question? What is the last photo you took with your smartphone? Why? (Mine is of a bear while I was walking Dash this morning! See the picture in the beginning of this blog!)
I’m doing a survey. Where do you get your news? FOX News, MSNBC, or Comedy Central? Why? (I always hope it’s Comedy Central!)
What is your favorite drink during cocktail hour: Bourbon, wine, or sparkling water? Why? (Bourbon – either New Riff or Michter’s All American Whiskey)
Which is the most interesting city: New York, Paris, or Rome? Why? (For me, Paris, although New York keeps me interested. WAY too many crazy drivers in Rome!)
You have a chance to have dinner with just one of the following: David Brooks, Fran Lebowitz, Howard Stern, or Michelle Obama, who would it be? Why? (David Brooks would be across the table from me. I’d love to talk with him about his books, The Road to Character and The Second Mountain.)

How Can Darkness Cast Out Darkness?

We live in a time of darkness. That darkness is rooted in evil. The darkness seems overwhelming and feeds fear and breeds distrust.

Besides the epidemics of opioids and COVID, we are also experiencing the epidemics of un-democracy, denial, ignorance, and assault weapons – all are rooted in darkness and fed by fear and distrust. The desire to overcome this darkness is thwarted by Einstein’s definition of insanity – “doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”

On April 22, 1999, I flew out to Littleton, CO for business. Not far from my business dealing was the scene of, at that time, the deadliest high school shooting in U.S. history at Columbine, H.S. The whole Denver area was a sea of grief and disbelief that this mass killing could come to be. Like the recent Uvalde, TX mass killing, police were criticized for their response. That mass killing lead to rapid action deployment against active shooters. School security increased dramatically nationwide. Conversations focused on parenting and violence in video games and movies. Debates began on gun laws, gun control, gun locks, gun owner background checks, and better-policing methods. Editorials spoke of making efforts to get a grip on this violence growing in our country.

Here we are 23 years later with no change, just more “thoughts and prayers for the victims and their families.” Since Columbine, over 311,000 children at 311 schools have been exposed to gun violence at their schools. We have failed to learn that “thoughts and prayers” are useless to dead children and the families left in grief. We are numb from the heartache. For those of us practicing Christianity and asking WWJD, we continue life as spiritual zombies. Commonsensical, holistic, modest, minimally coercive measures still have not gained traction. The secular gun lobby and the second amendment still hold us hostage to escalating mass killings.

Some facts to consider about the gun culture of the United States:

  • 123 people die each day due to bullets according to Pew Research.
  • Gun violence is the leading cause of death for children under the age of 18 according to CDC.
  • The NRA is the #1 lobby group in the U.S. GOP members of Congress receive the lion’s share of the NRA funding.
  • There are three times more federally licensed gun dealers than there are Starbucks in the United States.
  • According to Pew Research, more guns have not equated to more security. Escalation of gun ownership has made U.S. society less safe. When guns are easy for good people to get, they also become easy for bad people to get.
  • After the Clinton Administration banned assault weapons in 1994, mass shooting deaths dropped by 43%. When the ban expired in 2004, mass shooting deaths shot up 239%.
  • The United States has just under 5% of the world’s population but owns 35% of civilian handguns which are estimated to be close to 400 million. It’s estimated over 20 million of those guns are AR15 types according to American Gun Facts.
  • The AR15 like the U.S. military M16 is a killing machine. Its sole purpose is to destroy a human life. If you want evidence of the destructive power of these weapons, watch CBS 60 Minutes – Why do mass shooters choose the AR-15 style rifle?

“Americans do not understand what these weapons (AR15) do to children’s bodies. They destroy them. That’s not hyperbole.” – John Woodrow Cox

Can you call yourself “pro-life” if you want to ban abortion but don’t want to ban assault rifles that have killed children?

This is what it has come down to:

“Dying in mass shootings is the price of freedom.” – Bill O’Reilly.

Switzerland, Canada, Japan, and over 150 other countries have freedom. They have citizens with mental illnesses. To pin the epidemic of mass shootings in the U.S. on mental illness when Switzerland, Canada, and Japan don’t have mass shootings is illogical and warped thinking.

“It’s impossible to reverse assault weapons in the United States.” – Anonymous

The United States has taken up impossible tasks before. Lewis and Clark didn’t know where they were going when they went exploring for the Northwest passage back in 1803, but they took up the challenge, fortified by courage and faith. It was thought to be impossible to put a man on the moon, but we came together and put a man on the moon in 1969. Could we not come together and do a “moon shot” against our gun culture?

I challenge each of us to look in the mirror and ask what each of us can do. Some suggestions:

Fear and distrust are at the heart of our gun culture. We use the 2nd amendment to hide our fear and distrust. Work on your fear and distrust. Study it. Seek support. Lean into your discomfort. Get out of your comfort zone.

If you own a gun, lock it up and keep it separate from the ammunition. If you know someone who owns a gun, ask them to do the same.

Let’s have some thoughtful conversations. Let’s be curious. Let’s explore. What about gun registration, gun insurance, and testing like we have automobiles?

How about higher taxes on guns and ammunition to help curb gun violence just like what the cigarette tax did for smoking?

When the Civil Rights Act was passed in 1964, it didn’t end racism, but it was a beginning to making the United States a more perfect union. It began to help overcome the darkness …

“For there is always light, if only we’re brave enough to see it, if only we’re brave enough to be it.”                                                                                                                                                   – Amanda Gorman