The act of using a firearm to inflict harm upon others.
Presented by D.M.A.C.
In today’s society, the use of guns to solve conflicts has become more prevalent. Most conflicts begin as verbal disagreements and some lead to a form of violence. The Deputies Making a Change mentor program has taken a stand against gun violence amongst the youth in Ouachita Parish. Through this concentrated effort, we want to inform the youth that there is a different way to solve conflicts by using THE ART OF CONVERSATION. Just a simple conversation is sometimes the best way to resolve a conflict. Conversation can make any situation personal. Conversation can also escalate and deescalate a situation. It’s the way you converse that gives it the design and strategy to achieve what conversation is designed to do.
A conflict can begin in several different ways. The most important factor is “Conflict” has to have a starting point and it has to have an ending. Let’s take a look at some conflict starters.
Verbal conflicts happen every day, but most or resolved before they get out of hand. If the conflict is verbal, there is always a chance to talk your way out of it. Most youths don’t realize the value of conversation. A lot of our youth feel that physical violence is the way to solve your problems. If a conflict arises what should you do? Give yourself that split second to think “where is this going and how will it affect me”? There are a cause and effect in every situation. If the opportunity presents itself, you want to ask “what did I do wrong” or “how can we FIX the problem”. If you notice, there are keywords and phrases that emotionally affect people. The words Let’s Fix, I’m Sorry, This will affect, Is this the right thing to do, This will not solve anything. Sometimes these keywords will mentally stimulate the involved parties and may cause them to walk away or simply choose to resolve the conflict verbally. Gun violence is not the answer, it never is. Gun violence has consequences. That is why there are several risk factors when guns are used to resolve conflict. If not used in the proper manner, guns can not
only harm the involved individuals, it poses a major threat to bystanders or others that may be involved in the conflict.
Physical conflicts involving a Gun begin and end in several different ways. Regardless of the way it ends, it will start verbally. It is at that time you should make an effort to walk away or Talk about it.
So let’s do just that: A handgun has several parts but three major parts. The grip, the bullet, but the most important part is the Trigger. When the trigger is pulled, this is when the Gun becomes dangerous. The trigger can be pulled for several reasons: retaliation, fear, self-defense, or conflict. The trigger is pulled by the TRIGGER FINGER. This finger has numerous functions. It’s used to guide. It’s used to think. Most of all it’s used to point out who can solve a conflict. The Trigger is the deciding factor in each of these situations. YOU choose if the trigger is pulled or not. YOU choose to bring a gun to solve a conflict. So, when you think about the TRIGGER, try to remember these important steps:
- T = Think
- R = React
- I = Initiate
- G = Gather
- G = Go
- E = Empty
- R = Refresh
Once the conflict is over and a successful resolution has been reached, you have to then figure out what happened. How did it get to this point and most importantly, how can I keep this from happening again? If you were the cause of the conflict, you need to truly analyze the situation because this could have cost you your life. As an individual, you have to remember that if your life is taken because of gun violence, it affects your family, friends, classmates, and anyone else that cares about you. Now, what should you do to keep this from happening again? First, analyze the friends that you surround yourself with and the decisions they make. If you have a friend or people that you associate with, always know what they are involved in. If you know that he or she is a problem starter, you may want to distance yourself from that person. Always remember you are who you hang with! If you or the people that you associate with are known to start trouble, or continuously involve yourselves in wrongdoing, this is what follows you everywhere you go. So, what if your friend or someone in your school has a gun, what should you do? If a school-age individual has a gun at school or in the neighborhood, there is a serious problem. This individual may be planning to harm themselves or someone else, therefore, you have to ACT.
What & Why
If you have a way of communicating positively with this individual, ask them WHY they have a gun and most importantly, WHAT are they planning to do with it. If the intention is retaliation or protection, this is not the way. It is now your responsibility to use the ART OF CONVERSATION to convince this person that this is not the right thing to do. Also, it is your responsibility to communicate with the proper authority. If your school has a resource officer, immediately relay this information so the threat can be eliminated. This will not only save lives, but it will also help school principals and teachers find ways to identify individuals that may be having personal issues. Also, this will help law enforcement identify where the weapon originated from and determine if it was legally attained.
How can you identify a schoolmate or someone in your neighborhood that may be contemplating the use of a gun? Most school-age children have close but complex relationships. Some days are good and some days are bad. If your friend or someone you associate with is not acting the same or just strange in any kind of way, always ask them is something wrong. If they are visibly shaken and unwilling to tell you what’s wrong, it is best at that time to let someone know. Every situation is worth monitoring, never let a situation go unattended. So to identify a problem is helping to solve the problem. Identifying a person in need is helping that person in need. Identifying a person with a gun can ensure that someone’s life won’t be lost to Gun Play. Identifying these things will ensure the ART OF CONVERSATION will help to resolve the issue.
A number of conflicts that involve Gun Play either begin when a group is present or when one group has a problem with another. So, ask yourself, what if my friend(s) have a conflict with another group of individuals, what should I do? Peer mentoring is sometimes the most effective way to stop an altercation from escalating. Peer mentoring allows youth to mentor each other. Peer mentoring is sometimes the outlet needed to stop violence amongst our youth. If you’re involved in a group Conflict directly or indirectly, the same rules apply. By using the ART OF CONVERSATION, you should make every attempt to stop the altercation. Aggressively and consistently tell everyone that this is not the right thing to do. If you know someone has a gun, try to talk them out of using it to retaliate. Make it as personal as possible by using scenarios, the importance of family, or consequences. Hopefully, these words will provoke a change in the situation. If you can’t do enough to stop the conflict, let someone know immediately!
We must stop expressing decent through murder and we must learn to disagree without being violently disagreeable! (Martin Luther King) Remember, Conflict + Gunfire = Death!!
Sending Hope 2 Our Children