Our hearts go out to all those affected by the Vegas shooting. What an unimaginable tragedy.

How do we move forward? By having a unified conversation about necessary changes. This think piece is meant to provide a framework of how we can have a conversation about such a difficult and divisive topic.

When a crisis happens it is only natural for our brains to go into “crisis” mode, also known as “flight or fight” mode. This process leads us to see things as either threatening or nonthreatening, good or evil, black or white.

Oftentimes, crises can leave a profound “footprint” in our minds. Whatever triggered the crisis, is forever ingrained in our minds as “threatening” or “bad.” This process is formally known as post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

On the flip side, positive experiences with potentially dangerous items and activities can leave a positive “footprint” in our brains.

Recently the United States experienced the worst mass shooting in its history. This event has rekindled a variety of strong emotions regarding guns.

Some people have had traumatic experiences with guns, while others grew up shooting guns with their father and grandpa and have nothing but positive experiences.

Some people want all guns banned, while others want all guns readily available.

Here’s the thing. Your experience is irrelevant to public policy. Your “bad experience” doesn’t justify a total gun ban. Alternatively, your “good experience” doesn’t justify tabling much needed regulations.

If we never move beyond “my experience” we can never talk about “our collective reality.”

Your experience matters to you, but we need to start talking about we. What can we do as a nation that is sensible and will help stop more tragic events like this from happening.

That is the only way change will ever come.

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