You don’t last 35 years at a company without strategies for this, and a favorite is what I call “The Third Way.” A shot of interpersonal WD-40 to get the frozen gears moving again. You want Plan A. Your boss comes along and touts Plan B.
“That’s a stupid idea,” sticks in your throat. What to do? Insisting on your own way, telling them they’re wrong gets nowhere. But meekly submitting to the bad idea feels like surrender, and the wrong strategy wins.
Enter The Third Way. Not your idea, not theirs. But a different approach, not as good as yours or as bad as theirs. A compromise that gets you moving again. Both sides save face.
I thought of the Third Way after our most recent spate of mass shootings: University of Virginia, Colorado Springs, Chesapeake. Keeping track hardly seems worth the effort. The Republican solution to America’s gun nightmare is ever more guns. Arm everybody, everywhere, all the time, and let them shoot it out. We’re seeing how well that works.
The Democratic solution — shore up the tattered framework of laws into something a bit stronger — seldom goes very far. That isn’t to say it can’t help. Our nation banned assault weapons, whatever they are, for a decade. We could again. I don’t want to underplay the value of restrictions entirely, as states with more sensible gun laws have lower rates of gun crimes. A car loving nation, we still manage to demand driver’s licenses and speed limits.
But there is a third way that gets ignored. Not arming teachers or crafting laws but education, in the form of advertising. We gained all sorts of social goods through advertising. The public didn’t just naturally stop tossing their trash out their car windows. They had to be taught. Guns are an area where people flail in the dark. Why not teach them? Most handgun deaths aren’t murders; they’re suicides.
To continue reading, click here.