Saturday, January 5, 2013

What is our responsibility?

Almost 200 years ago, a small group of passionate English women helped abolish slavery in British possessions by starting a sugar boycott. You can read about this social activism in Adam Hochschild's great book "Bury the Chains." Hochschild

I think about this as I think about our gun crisis in America and the silence of corporations. In an era where we are bludgeoned with the notion that brands ought to engage with us in conversations, brands are silent about the issues of the day. Gun control, I believe, is one of those central issues.

What would happen, I wonder, if Apple ran an open letter to Congess? If Verizon, AT&T, IBM, Exxon/Mobil, General Motors and a few others joined in?

Sure, they might alienate some of their customers.

They might lose some business.

They might depress their stock prices.

They might even be harassed by the same Congress they wrote to.

But more than 20 children were shot multiple times by an assault rifle in Connecticut just a few weeks ago. And every four years, a Vietnam's worth of people die at the hands of guns.

Where are the voices of corporations (people, according to the tax code) who are such a big part of our lives?

What is their responsibility?

What is ours? As people, ostensibly of influence over our clients, over the giant corporations that are so important in our nation?

Surely, it must be more than silence.


Tore Claesson said...

I am glad you are speaking up.

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Urban Viking said...

The worst schoolhouse massacre in history is not a current meme, so I present it to you now: May, 1927, Bath, Michigan, 48 dead, 53 injured, a total of 103 casualties, three bombs.

I've heard it said, even if you can achieve 100 percent gun control, you can't control crazy. Or maybe we just don't want to think about it. Maybe taking responsibility for the social, political, economic, and even spiritual climate that allows such aberrations to occur with such frequency is just not the American way. So, as usual, innocent liberty is the first casualty of brain-dead reaction. When will we shift the focus from inherently inert pieces of metal, to the responsibility of people for their actions, including all who turned a blind eye to the coming storm. I live in Tucson. The mental state of the famous mass-shooter here was well-known to a lot of people including many in authority. But no one had the power or the will to take preventive action. Why is that? Police authorities will tell you they can't act until a crime is committed. Well and good, but what about the developing period leading up to that? None of these horrors came to pass in a vacuum.

I saw video last week of Al Sharpton appearing to advocate knife control after we get control of all the guns. Knife control? Really? If this is what passes for enlightened thinking in this country we are doomed.