I straddle a line between advocating kindness as a way of business and life, and working with healthcare professionals to improve patient care and engagement. Often, that line becomes blurry, as in when it comes to the topic of gun control. When gun injuries take place, either with individual shootings and accidents or with mass casualty events, caregivers stand at the front lines, too. First responders rush to the scene, and victims arrive in emergency rooms and trauma centers. A recent in-depth report in Modern Healthcare gives us a lot of insight into the effects of gun violence on these other victims of gun violence, many of whom wrestle with physical and emotional exhaustion or PTSD. Their sacrifice and kindness inspires.
While I have my own opinion about the necessity of gun control, I won’t address it here. The conversation about guns needs no more polarizing voices. Sadly, perhaps opinions have locked themselves in to a point where conversation, too, freezes up and fails. I will address this aspect instead: the enormous respect and gratitude inspired by the kindness of those who respond and treat the victims. These caregivers put aside the politics and give their all, their time, their energy, and their peace. For them, guns don’t represent an “issue.” Guns mean real people, real suffering, real lives, and they respond with a remarkable depth of care.
As part of the conversation about guns, let’s thank the caregivers for their kindness, wherever we stand on the political spectrum. Let’s truly honor it, by imagining in full the strength and courage it takes to comfort those who have been injured, as well as those around them at the scene, or those in the hospitals that receive them. We have big questions to answer, both as a polity and as people, to move forward past this point. Despite a broken dialogue at the level of opinion and politics, however, we can at least acknowledge this kindness, and perhaps bring some of it along with us when we turn to the topic as a broader issue.