The Tyranny of the Few . . .The Pain of the Many


‘The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.’  ~Edmund Burke

Another senseless massacre of innocent children, again at a school, this time in Connecticut.  When is enough enough?

I have been reading the blogs and articles from those who send their prayers  and condolences and those thoughts are much-needed by the community of Newtown at this tragic time. But prayers won’t change laws, but activism can.

We can react by turning our schools into fortresses and arm the teachers, as some propose, or we can get real and come together as a nation to pass sensible gun control laws.  It’s choice time people, unless we want to wait until it’s one of our own children, and by then it’s definitely too late.

Current gun laws are too lax and we can’t wait for the politicians to muster up their courage, or create watered-down compromises.  It’s time the majority made their voice known loud enough to drown out the special interest lobby groups and their piles of PAC money. Otherwise we will continue to have the tyranny of the few and the pain of the many.

Let me be clear.  I firmly believe in the right of responsible citizens to bear arms for hunting and self-defense, but being able to purchase Uzis, M-1 military rifles, AK-47s, Glocks and other weapons only designed for war and killing other people is, to me, stretching our rights and responsibilities too far.  Growing up I hunted quail, doves, pheasant, goose with shotguns and as an adult belonged to a gun club where we shot clay targets.  But the thought of owning, or even wanting, an arsenal of military weapons at home never even crossed our minds. And I am certain the majority in the country agree.

And gun ownership is currently all too easy. Today extremely dangerous weapons are available over the counter, from street gangs, and even over the internet. And the consequences are catastrophic when disturbed teens and irresponsible adults acquire guns and kill innocent people in schools and movie theatres.  This is no longer a public right, but a public problem.  And the public must act. We need more sensible gun control laws.

On the other hand, I also know there are people in the world who hate and wish to inflict harm on others. Learning to protect one’s self, through martial arts training, boxing training, and learning to shoot a gun are some of the life skills I believe are important to possess, and hopefully never need to use.

Some people believe that the solution is to arm themselves to the hilt. But I see another option. A good community, working together with community officials, is a much better way to protect our freedoms from burglars and others who mean to do harm, than hiding behind barred windows with an arsenal of heavy weapons. With more community involvement and saner gun control laws, we can turn the tide on this deadly epidemic.

Our Choice:  Either change it or ignore it! Both have consequences.

John R Childress

About johnrchildress

John Childress is a pioneer in the field of strategy execution, culture change, executive leadership and organization effectiveness, author of several books and numerous articles on leadership, an effective public speaker and workshop facilitator for Boards and senior executive teams. In 1978 John co-founded The Senn-Delaney Leadership Consulting Group, the first international consulting firm to focus exclusively on culture change, leadership development and senior team alignment. Between 1978 and 2000 he served as its President and CEO and guided the international expansion of the company. His work with senior leadership teams has included companies in crisis (GPU Nuclear – owner of the Three Mile Island Nuclear Plants following the accident), deregulated industries (natural gas pipelines, telecommunications and the breakup of The Bell Telephone Companies), mergers and acquisitions and classic business turnaround scenarios with global organizations from the Fortune 500 and FTSE 250 ranks. He has designed and conducted consulting engagements in the US, UK, Europe, Middle East, Africa, China and Asia. Currently John is an independent advisor to CEO’s, Boards, management teams and organisations on strategy execution, corporate culture, leadership team effectiveness, business performance and executive development. John was born in the Cascade Mountains of Oregon and eventually moved to Carmel Highlands, California during most of his business career. John is a Phi Beta Kappa scholar with a BA degree (Magna cum Laude) from the University of California, a Masters Degree from Harvard University and was a PhD candidate at the University of Hawaii before deciding on a career as a business entrepreneur in the mid-70s. In 1968-69 he attended the American University of Beirut and it was there that his interest in cultures, leadership and group dynamics began to take shape. John Childress resides in London and the south of France with his family and is an avid flyfisherman, with recent trips to Alaska, the Amazon River, Tierra del Fuego, and Kamchatka in the far east of Russia. He is a trustee for Young Virtuosi, a foundation to support talented young musicians. You can reach John at or
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11 Responses to The Tyranny of the Few . . .The Pain of the Many

  1. Frank Tempesta says:



  2. John, these nuts are not wandering into police stations and massacring police. Why not? Because that is where the guns are. We have turned schools into gun-free zones allowing the sickest elements in society to massacre our kids knowing that they are helpless.The Federal Gun Free Schools Zone Act prohibits carrying firearms on school grounds effectively criminalizing the right to self-defense in places filled with the most vulnerable citizens. Without that federal prohibition, adults working at the school would have been free to defend themselves, very possibly saving the lives of many of the young children and adults who were slain in this horrific tragedy. Responsible gun owners can and do prevent mass shootings from occurring and escalating:

    • A 1997 high school shooting in Pearl, Miss., was halted by the school’s vice principal after he retrieved the Colt .45 he kept in his truck.
    • A 1998 middle school shooting ended when a man living next door heard gunfire and apprehended the shooter with his shotgun.
    • A 2002 terrorist attack at an Israeli school was quickly stopped by an armed teacher and a school guard.
    • A 2002 law school shooting in Grundy, Va., came to an abrupt conclusion when students carrying firearms confronted the shooter.
    • A 2007 mall shooting in Ogden, Utah, ended when an armed off-duty police officer intervened.
    • A 2009 workplace shooting in Houston, Texas, was halted by two coworkers who carried concealed handguns.
    • A 2012 church shooting in Aurora, Colo., was stopped by a member of the congregation carrying a gun.
    • At the recent mall shooting in Portland, Ore., the gunman took his own life minutes after being confronted by a shopper carrying a concealed weapon.

    For several years after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, gun prohibitionists blocked pilots from carrying firearms. But after it became undeniable that guns are an essential line of defense against hijackers and other terrorists when the lives of innocent passengers are at stake, Congress finally passed legislation allowing it. How many of our children must die before Congress changes its mind and allows responsible gun owners in our schools?


    • Malcolm:

      Arming teachers may be the ultimate answer, but not much of a role model for the next generation, that all have to carry guns. I’d rather see better and more common sense gun control and stricter enforcement. England is about as multicultural as you can get but there are very few gun crimes because of the very strict gun laws. The balance between civil liberty and civil safety has swung too far and needs to get back to some sanity.

      Thanks for your comments and data.


  3. Actually, even the thought that one or two teachers or administrators might be armed would probably be sufficient deterrent. I recognize that there are many variables determining the level of gun crimes and the availability of guns is just one factor. However, I would not be too complacent about gun crime in England:


  4. Hello Malcolm,

    You say, “Actually, even the thought that one or two teachers or administrators might be armed would probably be sufficient deterrent”.

    I beg to differ from you.

    What leads you to believe that responding in kind, with teachers equipped to shoot people, is more likely to be effective than prevention at source?

    I yearn for the day when the US will eventually grow up and learn to live without guns.

    The US currently has the world’s most well-equipped navy, the world’s most well-equipped army and the world’s most well-equipped air force. So why do people in US now need guns?

    If you really wish to see yet more children and adults killed by shootings in the US, then simply stick with your existing gun laws. This will certainly do the trick.




    • Alan: Nice to see a former military officer in the mix. A dose of reality is welcome.


    • Alan, I share your dream but have you considered that the militarization you refer to above might be part of the problem? I suspect this country would have a high rate of gun violence regardless of our guns laws. Liberals are correct that America does have a “gun culture” unlike Japan and much of Europe. It has more gun violence than other Western countries for the same reason it has a culture of flag-worship and “supporting the troops” unequaled anywhere else in the West, and for the same reason that Christian Fundamentalism is such a powerful political force in this country. Part of the reason is the influence of the fighting Scots-Irish in shaping American culture:

      As a result American political culture is more predisposed than most to the worship of the military and the executive and to policies fixated on the use of violence to “show them who’s boss” or “teach them a lesson.”

      I expect that strict gun laws will have the same effects as Prohibition and the Drug War i.e. it will expand the influence of organized crime, and empower criminal gangs fighting over control of the black market, in exactly the same way Prohibition did in the 1920s and strict drug laws have done since the 1980s.


      • I don’t think it is realistic to talk about banning guns, but I am advocating more sensible gun control laws than the all too lax ones we now have. Also, most Americans don’t own a closet full of guns and I believe are sympathetic towards saner gun control. There will always be those in the minority who will try to circumvent any law, especially on gun control, as they do now. Saner gun control regulations and prohibition are two very different animals. The majority drinks, but they don’t stockpile weapons.


  5. Pingback: Tyranny and Cat Paws « Survival Sherpa

  6. Steve Borek says:

    I met with a client this week. Someone’s opinion I respect. He’s a big believer in the right to bear arms. He said we have to get back to caring for each other as a society. There’s many mentally ill people walking around though for some reason we don’t have the means to treat and take care of them.


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