Gun Violence

In her TED Talk, “The danger of the single story,” Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie warns that knowing only one story about people different from you can result in a vast misunderstanding. A single story can never be representative of the entire group that the subject of the story represents. The power of stories is that they show one possibility. That possibility, if it resonates with beliefs we already have, is very motivating – for better or worse.

“Single stories create stereotypes. And the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete.” Allowing single stories to speak for the identity of a vast group of people is, to say the least, problematic. But that doesn’t mean stories themselves are the culprit.

Adichie goes on to say, “Stories matter. And many stories matter.” Our job is not to stop telling stories, it’s to stop repeating the same tired stories, listen to new stories from others and start telling our own.

What does all this talk of stories have to do with guns?

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It was easy to tell myself I wasn’t doing work that supported the NRA. Until a man walked into a club in Orlando and killed 49 people, injuring over 50 others. Once again, dozens of innocent people were dead. Our nation mourned. Vigils were held. Arguments raged. Who is culpable for letting this happen again?

I was. And I didn’t act alone.

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