The Courage to Take a Stand . . .


Here’s a courageous act of leadership that could begin to make a real difference in the out-of-control “gun culture” in the US, where children in schools are being gunned down with military grade weapons.

What if the Chairman from one of the big US defense firms made the following statement:

“As a supplier of military weapons and arms for the defense of our nation and our allies against hostile threats, our main purpose is to protect the lives of our troops and to make products that give our troops an advantage during times of hostility.  Weapons of this lethality and capability are designed and developed for those with professional skills and training. Not for home use!

Therefore I am calling on all my fellow senior executives in the defense industry to join together to press for a ban on the sale of automatic and semi-automatic military grade weapons and to contribute to a meaningful debate in Congress about stricter gun control laws in the US.  We respect the constitutional rights of our citizens to bear arms, but deadly military-grade weapons is, in a word, overkill!”

That would certainly get the debate going!

Right now the major US defense firms are keeping their heads down and trying to avoid the gun control debate.  That’s not in the best interests of the nation.  Get engaged.  Take a stand. In my mind the US defense industry operates using our tax dollars, so they should get engaged in the debate.

Open healthy debate from all sectors of our society is required, not just from grieving parents or paid lobbyists.

What do you think?

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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5 Responses to The Courage to Take a Stand . . .

  1. Anonymous says:

    The fallacy with this argument is that ANY weapon will do when one wants to commit murder on innocent children or unarmed members of a society. The root issue isn’t the weapon, it’s the sickness of the society…and this is a generational issue that can’t be solved with laws.


    • Malcolm: What I know about complex problems, from my business transformation experience, is that there is no one single fix, no silver bullet. But getting started on one piece of the problem automatically tends to put other forces in motion that begin to contribute to the ultimate solution. Everyone is looking for THE fix and as a result, no one is taking a stand and getting started. The President’s recent appointment of Biden is one person doing one thing to take that first real action. Where are the other? Many more stakeholders in this complex problem need to start being active as well. What happens is most businesses is that when one VP owns the problem, everyone else stands by and watches, taking pot shots from the sidelines. That’s why solutions are so tough. It’s time for all stakeholders, that’s why I mentioned the Defense industry, to come off the sidelines and get active in solving the little pieces that will eventually turn the tide on the big, hairy complex issue. My POV.


  2. Raunak says:

    John, recently my dad thought of surrendering his rifle to the government. He has owned the gun since he was in the Army. Now that Indian laws do not allow me, a civilian to own a gun, he has decided to return it to the government. The thought of not having a gun is disturbing though. In India, one can never be sure when the next communal riots will hit us. And with every year communal tensions come closer to where we live. With our gun gone…it will be another case of a good guy without a gun. The thought of not being in a position to defend my family is scary.

    Does a killer need a gun to kill? Someone determined to kill could easily pick up a bus and go on a road rage running over innocent pedestrians. This happened in Pune earlier this year. Does that mean we ban buses and say that only cars be allowed because they are not as big and dangerous as buses?


    • Raunak: I understand your unease about not having a weapon in the household. Fortunately India is not a gun culture like the US. I have no problem with owning a firearm for protection, but in the US you can buy an Uzi or an assault weapon over the internet. With rights come responsibilities. I am currently teaching my 13 year-old daughter to shoot a gun. A skill for self protection that I hope she will never have to use.


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