Dr. A's Grant Trickbag

Gun Violence, Wicked Problems

This will be a bit more focused than the Trick Bag generally is.

Gun Violence: Full Disclosure

I am a military veteran and a gun owner. Some of my best childhood memories with my father involve him teaching me to shoot safely and responsibly and supporting my shooting competitively small-bore rifle when in high school. I have not shot actively or hunted for years, but I the experiences and skills remain part of who I am. I do not support moves to simply outlaw all gun ownership, but never-the-less, like Mark Bryant who is discussed below, it is clear to me that things have gone off the rail. So here are a few resources for groups attempting to address the issue of gun violence with reason rather than rhetoric; open conversation rather than blind confrontation.

David Bohnett Foundation

Dedicated to the reduction of gun violence through research, advocacy, and community empowerment. The foundation has a history of grants in this area from a few hundred dollars to extremely large programs.

The current window has passed, but based on last year’s schedule, there should be a new application window opening sometime in November/December. Worth a look.


Other area groups and resources:

Sisters Working Against Gun Violence

This is a local grass roots organization in the tradition of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, one of the most successful American social campaigns other than Civil Rights of the 20th century. I suspect there are many others in many cities.


Mark Bryant: The Gun Violence Archive

Mark Bryant, from Harlan County, is a Kentucky resident who, like me, grew up when the NRA was simply a legitimate gun and hunting safety organization. A long time shooter concerned with the drift into blind rhetoric in the gun debate, he started the Gun Violence Archive operated here in Lexington which has documented over 100,000 incidents of gun violence. He was recently featured in the Lexington Herald Leader and has gained national prominence as shown by an article over a year ago in the English press. This is a nationally recognized data source that is particularly credible.



A couple of other sites:




The Lexington Herald Leader

The Herald Leader has begun a series of in depth articles about many aspects of gun violence in Kentucky. These are carefully developed, balanced articles well worth reading.

Gun Violence as a Wicked Problem

Because gun violence seems so pervasive and approaches seem so hard to pin down, it may be helpful to step back and think about it as a type of problem rather than a specific problem. What follows in an excerpt from a Trick Bag from a year or so ago..

Wicked Problem is an actual term of art, not a new movie from Tim Burton or an ethical category. Wicked Problems are social or cultural problems that seem to resist resolution. The inability to close on solutions to wicked problems comes from a number of reasons: incomplete knowledge, contradictory knowledge, an unmanageable number of people or perceptions involved in the population, too large an economic scale, or simply a complex, decipherable web of relationships to other problems. They are problems that, in short, cannot be solved through traditional deductive and analytical approaches. They are vulnerable to the slow and steady accumulation of data, and there is no last piece of the puzzle.

These problems call for the ability to shift from deductive reasoning to abductive reasoning. Deductive reasoning seeks to determine the correct or logically certain solution. Abductive reasoning does not offer the correct solutions but rather, in the face of ambiguity, to explore and move toward solutions that are “best available” given incomplete or open ended data and observations.

I can recommend: https://hbr.org/2008/05/strategy-as-a-wicked-problem John C Camillus. 2008 Harvard Business Review

David Arnold, AKA Dr.A Plantory Help Desk Resource Development and Strategic Thinking Member, Board of Trustees


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