Americans may never have been so ideologically and politically divided, and guns sit at the symbolic center of that divide. According to a preelection survey by Pew, 79 percent of Hillary Clinton voters believed that enacting stronger gun laws should be a higher priority than protecting gun rights. Among Trump voters, only 9 percent agreed. Mass shootings, weirdly, seem to only deepen the rift, with liberals seeing the tragedies as proof of the need for further restrictions and conservatives seeing them as proof of the necessity of arming themselves. Statistics and argument make no dent in fixed opinions: Each side, incredulous, regards the other as sectarians who’ve somehow got their values mixed up.
This Is Powerful
Launching from the above premise Narrative 4 invited proponents from both sides of this divide to join them for one of their unique storytelling sessions. (See my previous post about Narrative 4)
During that day people from opposite sides were paired up with one another, asked to listen to each other’s story, and then tell the other person’s story to the group. While not all pairs worked well, one of the most powerful was that of Todd Underwood, a gun owner and operator of a gun friendly web site, and Carolyn Tuft, a mother who witnessed the random and fatal shooting of her daughter. Each acknowledged and demonstrated gaining some understanding and perhaps some empathy for the other.
The results of that day, which include a 20 minute documentary video, are described here.