When an issue becomes too contentious, focus on mutual pain points

[image credit: Al Jazeera]
[image credit: Al Jazeera]

Some political issues seem too contentious for any progress to be made

Suicide is the most preventable cause of death in the United States, when the public has access to the right services and resources. But the gun debate is such a heated issue, that most policymakers who haven’t chosen a firm side worry that people will continue to die while the partisans are at an impasse.

Solution: Focus on the mutual pain both sides experience

When Jennifer Stuber’s husband committed suicide with a handgun, Jennifer was reluctant to call the NRA and become yet one more voice in the throng. Jennifer phoned her local NRA lobbyist and began a dialogue. She soon discovered that no side of the issue is immune to the pain of suicide, and many have witnessed this tragedy firsthand.

After several phone calls exploring the issue, Jennifer and the NRA were able to open a meaningful dialogue exploring the role guns play in suicide. Traditionally, the NRA had assumed that if someone wants to kill him or herself, there’s nothing you can do about it. But the opposite is true: Suicide is our nation’s most preventable cause of death when the right resources and services are in place.

Washington collaborated with suicide prevention advocates, gun-rights advocates, and the public heath community to create a bipartisan policy to address suicide prevention. By having conversations that focused on commonalities rather than differences a policy was drafted and signed into law. From the article “For too long, we’ve allowed the debate over legal rights to dominate the conversation. It’s time to give equal emphasis to what we have in common, including the grief we all feel over suicide.”

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Category: CrimeGovernance

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Article by: Dave

Dave Cannon is a Seattle-based entrepreneur and consultant to nonprofits and small businesses. He loves Thai food and takes terrible photographs. You can follow him on Linkedin.
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