being better


This is a follow-up to my stomach ache post. And it took me a little bit to gather my thoughts.

I received a number of emails from people wanting me to discuss gun control because of the elementary school tragedy.

I won’t <well … maybe I will at the very end>.

But I will give my thoughts on what I see as the real issue … people control.

And I got lucky as I thought about this … I sat next to 2 South Africans today and talked to them about this <just to get some perspective on my thoughts>.


That heinous act was not because of gun control or more effective school security systems or even better mental health initiatives … it is about us being better as people.

What I mean is … taking responsibility for the actions of others.

Especially adults with regard to children.

Yup. I meant what I typed.

Taking responsibility for the actions of others <even if we do not know them well>.

Sorry about that folks … but I believe it in my soul if we ever want to be ‘better’ we have to assume responsibility rather than blame or point fingers or wonder what systems we can create to resolve these things … all of it to become  better people and a better country.


And there is an additional level to my thinking.

We need to be the best we can be … particularly when it comes to children.

And I fully understand I am suggesting different standards for children versus adults <which I am sure someone will take affront to> and even high school students. My standards are driven by innocent versus those who can actually protect themselves. Fair? I don’t know but it is my site and my opinion.


I fully understand there are bad people out there. And we cannot stop them from doing bad things all the time <yes … unfortunately … sometimes bad people win>. And sometimes I believe they, the bad people, are out there to remind the good people why ‘good is better than bad.’


Keep in mind … bad is a minority. Evil people are fewer than non evil people.

So when evil actually wins?

All that really means is that good people failed. Evil is never … and I mean NEVER … better than good.

To me? The only way evil ever wins is when good is not at its best.

This sets an exceptionally high bar for good people.

I recognize this thought … is it fair to think, let alone, type that? Heck. I don’t know. I am simply putting a burden on good.

By the way.

I could think of worse things to do.


I will use me as a hypothetical example.

Why? Because I cannot even faith in any scenario I would ever harm a child. But, frankly, I cannot fathom how anyone purposefully harm a child. So let’s assume I have hit the point … something has put me over the edge … and I am gonna go do something … something evil. In other words I am going to an elementary school and kill defenseless children.

Here is what I expect.

I expect when I open the door to be facing someone I know.

Kevin or Jim or David. Scott, Gary, Don or Donald, or someone else is I know, friend or acquaintance, facing me that morning.

And they say “stop.”

They say “no.”

They say “let’s get help.”

They say ..” it will not happen.’

And if I balk or be a lunatic … they are willing to sacrifice themselves if need be.

Maybe not for other adults <in which they may pause and think about it> but for the sake of children.


And I expect this and many of them are parents in their own right.

I expect them to stop me.

I expect one of them to say “how many bullets do you have? Okay. Use them all on me. You will not harm one child.”

I expect to have to run a gauntlet of adults before I get to one child.

I expect even my new neighbor, who I don’t know well and has three beautiful children his own, to say “no … you go no further than me.”


I expect a lot of my friends.


I expect a lot of adults when it comes to children.


I cried on that Friday.

I am sure I cried for the lost lives of children aged 5 to 7 but I think I may have also cried more because I expect better of us when it comes to children.

The big people need to take care of the little people.

That is the responsibility of adults.

A responsibility calling for any and all costs.

And I expect all adults to accept this responsibility and burden,


I have a reporter friend who has told me that we will be amazed when we hear some of the details with regard to what teachers did to protect the children.

I will not be amazed.

I expect it.

I expect us all to be better when it comes to children.

I do not want to diminish anything that anyone did there that day … and I will here and now apologize to all the teachers families … but … with due respect … were they heroes?

Did they do something exceptional?

Shit. I don’t know.

In my pea like brain they were not.

They did what was right.

They did what was needed.

They fulfilled the responsibility that all ‘big people’ have with regard to ‘little people’.

And, honestly, I do not like the suggestion that what they did was exceptional … I would rather it was suggested that is was ordinary.

I am fine to suggest they are heroes for ‘doing what was right.’

I struggle a little because the moment it is suggested it is exceptional .. and well … then ordinary people  feel the pressure to be exceptional. And with children? It is not an exceptional act <in my eyes> but rather the ordinary responsibility of ‘big people.’ Heroes for doing what is right? Yes. Heroes for exceptional actions? I hesitate. I am willing to call them heroes to honor their actions. That is it.

Yes. I know what I just wrote may be controversial and may piss some people off. Sorry. But I do not believe it is an exceptional act to offer your life, as an adult, for a child’s life.

The lifetime value is unequal. Unless I am exceptional <which I am not> than I see no reason my value is any higher than the future value <the possible exceptional> of a child.

Yes. I put that in business terms, in MBA like terms to make a point.

In the end.

I could talk about gun control and systems and mental health programs but they are all kind of irrelevant because in my head … unrealistic as this may sound … that asshole should have never gotten to those defenseless children.

Is that unrealistic? Am I being unfair to someone? Your call on that but I don’t think so.

I am a pragmatic person and I know you cannot protect against every single situation and scenario … but … when it comes to protecting our children?

We should be unrealistic.

We should be willing to sacrifice all. Everything and all.

And I do not mean crazy security processes but being the best we can day on and day out to protect our children.

The Connecticut guy.

Jerry Sandusky.


They will always exist. And no process or procedure will ever stop them from existing. It is only us … yup … us … to stop them.

We need to be better.

Because if we are not … then we will end up failing our children.

And I cannot think that is anything that anyone wants on their tombstone.

“I failed our children.’

With that said … that means it is not an exceptional act but rather a normal act … an expected act to do what must, and should, be done.


Because I didn’t want to end on that <albeit a good thought for us all to ponder>.

The south africans.

We had a good conversation on responsibility and heroes. One suggested I was way too harsh … that any person who decided to offer their life to another human went beyond the normal and could constitute a hero.

The other agreed the rules, or guidelines, are different when you get to children.


What they did agree with is automatic weapons.

Yeah. This is gun control. And I happen to agree with their thought on this.


You cannot stop a person who wants to do something bad. If they have it in their head they will do it.


If I could have figured out how to have this lunatic have only a hand gun and not an automatic weapon the deaths could have been lower. Now. Notice I said “could.” But that is an important ‘could,’ because we are talking about 5 to 7 year olds. If I ‘could’ have done something that limited the number it is a good idea.


People are people. And if they have access to the weapons they desire to do bad … they will do badder than bad. This is about limiting. Does that mean I am okay with 5 dead  5 to 7 year olds? Nope. But I like it better than 20 dead 5 to 7 year olds.

I just say that to make people think. I am not a gun control advocate nor am I card holding NRA guy. I kinda think this just may e be common sense.


What do I know?

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Written by Bruce