Psychologist Shares Insight On Mass Shootings
Tony Robbins : Psychologists from Abraham Maslow to Anthony Robbins teach us all human behaviour is driven by six core needs, listed in their order of importance and power in our lives – certainty, variety, significance, love and connection, personal growth and contribution.
The first four –– certainty, variety, significance, love and connection ––make up our basic physical and psychological needs. We all need food, water, a job, interests that excite us, and someone to love and to love us. The last two – our need for personal growth and contribution to society – reveal themselves only after our more pressing needs are met.
Gun Control Advocates
Gun control advocates are driven by their certainty that if guns were banned, people would not kill each other. Failed logic of course –– an emotional response driven by wishful thinking. Humans kill each other with a wide variety of implements and methods, and with stunning regularity. It’s been happening since Cain killed Abel.
If laws stopped crime, our murder rate would be zero, as would the rate of all other violent crimes. Sadly, human beings respond to sticks more often than carrots, so our judicial system punishes offenders rather than reward law-abiders.
Firearm owners are driven to defence by their certainty they didn’t kill anyone, yet are blamed for every mass shooting, drug dealer killing, organized crime hit and gang murder. Ordinary people, guilty of nothing, bear the blame for the crimes of the few. This is not justice, hence the righteous indignation we feel every time someone blames us for a murder we did not commit.
Again, this is an emotional response driven by wishful thinking. “If only those gun banners would go after criminals and leave us alone, everything will be right with the world.” All our facts and indignation fail to make a dent in the emotionally-charged drive of our gun-banning fellow citizens.
Both sides must take a look at themselves and determine what outcome they truly desire, and be honest about that goal.
Our belief is both sides want the same thing – an end to the killing, regardless of the tool used to commit the crime. To that end, we must first understand what drives those who kill and address the root causes.
Murderers and Other Criminals
Mass murderers are typically driven by a combination of significance and certainty. Once they commit their heinous crimes, the perpetrator’s name will be written in history books for all time.
Drug dealers kill to ensure their significance as someone “not to be messed with,” while certainty drives their need to control the drug trade in their turf.
Organized crime members murder one another to ensure their significance, “even the score” with rivals and control their territory.
Gangs murder one another, with innocent civilians caught in the crossfire, to ensure their significance in gang hierarchy.
Mass murderers, drug dealers, organized crime and gangs essentially all kill for the same reason – to meet their core need for significance and certainty.
No wonder the thousands of laws already in existence can’t stop them.
What Lesson Can We Learn From This?
As we stated earlier, firearm owners want the same thing anti-gun advocates want –– an end to shooting deaths.
Where we differ is in our approach, and that’s why these two sets of people advocating for the same result –– an end to shooting deaths –– are so polarized against one another.
The murderer’s heinous act fulfills one or more of his four primary core needs. We owe it to ourselves to figure out which of those core needs are met by this bad behaviour and offer real, tangible solutions to meet those core needs in a healthier way.
Only when we replace murder as a means of meeting those core needs will we ever stem the tide of violence despised by gun owners and gun banners alike.
Both groups jump into action in the wake of the latest tragedy.
Those who despise firearms use the tragedy as “evidence” they are correct; that guns must be banned to prevent future tragedies.
Firearm owners rightly feel attacked by this attitude, since they didn’t kill anyone, yet are held accountable for the actions of every criminal or deranged individual that uses a firearm to kill people.
We all want the same result. We’re all focused on the same goal –– ending the violence –– but until these two, currently polar opposites can meet in the middle and discuss rational solutions, nothing will change.
Instead of pushing for civilian disarmament, gun banners are far better served –– if their goal is truly to prevent future tragedies –– by seeking solutions for why a person chooses to kill and to resolve the issue of why murder fulfills their core needs.
Banning Guns is Not the Solution
If banning guns was the solution, prisons would be the safest place on earth. They’re not.
In November, a Latino gang member died after smuggling the barrel of an M-16 into the California State Prison of Los Angeles County.[i]
In 2014, two criminals smuggled a pistol into the Columbia Correction Institution in Lake City and shot themselves with it in a deluded attempt to sue the Department of Corrections. They regularly smuggled drugs and cell phones into the facility as well.[ii]
In 2012, a man stuffed a .38 calibre pistol into his rectum and smuggled it into a North Carolina prison. Guards found the handgun in the toilet in his cell after fellow inmates reported him.[iii]
We cannot keep guns out of the most secure buildings in the nation, our prisons, yet some insist banning guns from civilians will do what our prisons cannot – keep guns out of the hands of murderers.
The issue is both sides use the same core need to validate their position. Anti-gunners insist banning guns will meet their core need for safety, while gun owners insist their right to own firearms is necessary to meet their core need for safety.
Both sides cannot be correct at the same time.
While we cannot claim to know all the answers, we’re certain of one thing –– whatever the solution, it must fully respect the rights of ordinary, law-abiding citizens to own firearms and the anti-gun advocates’ need to keep society safe.
Violating the civil rights of one group to disingenuously assuage the needs of another, is not the answer.
All parties must put aside their partisan ways and seek an evidence-based solution to this issue. Until then, we’ll keep going around in circles without accomplishing a thing.