Terrible things happen in our world, it’s unavoidable. But when tragedies happen and make us sad, how can we deal with these awful things without asking the government to solve problems they aren’t capable of fixing.

Here’s a transcript of our conversation:

Brittany: Hi, Emma.

Emma: Hi, Brittany.

Brittany: So, unfortunately, we do not live in a perfect world, which is not a great thing and tragic and really terrible things happen sometimes. And recently, I don’t wanna go into the details ’cause it’s very sad, but we had a school shooting where a lot of students, and I think a couple of teachers died, and it was obviously devastating. It was horrible. And it’s absolutely understandable that people are really sad about this and they’re frustrated. But today I wanna talk about when we have these really tragic events, what can actually be done about them? Because as soon as these things happen, we have a lot of people immediately saying, you know, let’s, ban guns, or we’ve seen this with other things. I’m trying to think of things that aren’t school shootings, but we see this with a lot of things, even with drugs, right? With the opiate crisis. Like, okay, this is bad. Well, let’s ban drugs. Well, we already did that and it doesn’t work. So I wanted to talk about maybe, and get some feedback from you too on what we can do to handle these terrible things that happen. So the first thing I wanna talk about is using our feelings to guide legislation or lawmaking and how that’s not really a good thing. And we’ve talked about this before about how thinking or not thinking, that’s the opposite about how acting and only looking at your feelings to make laws is gonna make things bad. That’s how we get socialism, right? Cause people are like, oh, we don’t want poor people. And nobody does. Nobody’s like, oh, I would like to have poor people. Right? That’s not something we wish for. But just because you have a big heart and you don’t want that doesn’t mean that you can say, okay, let’s make the welfare state bigger. Cause it doesn’t work. It steals money from other people. So it’s a violation of property rights and it’s just something that harms everybody. So these tragedies are very similar in that like, it’s totally okay to say, this is really horrible and I’m so sad we don’t want this to happen again. But what can we do? So Emma, I’m curious, like, what are your thoughts when you first hear about what people say, especially when they’re like, oh, let’s ban guns, let’s ban this. What, what comes to your mind?

Emma: I definitely think it’s kind of a reactionary response, which we’ve talked about quite a few times where, like you said, when something sad happens, you just kind of want to, you wanna do something about it. And that’s the thing that I see the most from, you know, people that I know that are more on the left side of the spectrum may be that believe more in big government is they kind of all will say, this can’t go on any longer. We must do something we must act now. but that’s kind of a dangerous way of looking at it. And I know that can sound kind of callous or kind of like, I don’t care. I do care. These shootings break my heart. And I really do grieve for the families that are losing loved ones. And this has happened so many times and it’s awful. And every time it breaks my heart, it never is something that I will get used to. But at the same time, I, think it’s really dangerous when we let our emotions guide our laws because our laws are something that are supposed to reflect natural rights. And our natural rights include freedom. And that freedom includes the freedom to protect yourself, from evil people. Because the simple fact is there are a lot of bad people out there that do crazy things and hurt others. And, because we’ve chosen, you know, a society of freedom, there are going to be people who try to use their freedom to do bad things to others. But that also gives us the ability to defend ourselves. And we don’t have to totally go down the gun control debate today. I think we’re talking more broadly about, you know, what do you do when something really sad happens? But I think there’s kind of this misconception that we should all be completely isolated from danger and that the government should do everything possible no matter what the cost is to keep us from ever being in danger. And when you know why our country was founded and what ideas it was based on, you understand that that’s really not a promise that we’re made in this country. And even though things are sad and sometimes there’s really sad, awful things that can happen, it doesn’t necessarily mean that those things would go away if you were to take away people’s freedoms and response saying we have to do something. And it doesn’t even mean that it doesn’t necessarily mean that our country would be any safer. It would just make a lot of people feel better about themselves in the short term. And I think that’s kind of what’s dangerous about this line of thinking.

Brittany: I think you’re right. I think there’s also too, it takes personal responsibility away from people when we blame an object, right? So if we say like, oh, guns are the problem, guns are creating violence, it’s like, okay, but what about the individuals that are actually, you know, making those decisions to do terrible things? Because there are good people and there are bad people and a good person with a gun is gonna, and there’s, I think there’s probably more good people with guns and there are bad people with guns. We just don’t hear about the good stories because there’s no reason to. And so it would be like saying, you know, we have a, you know, a health crisis, so you blame the junk food instead of, you know, maybe like the government subsidizing the corn industry, which we’ve talked about before, or again, personal responsibility where people just make poor choices. So that’s what also really, kind of disturbs me when we talk about that because we make this about a thing, like an item that doesn’t have any, you know, thoughts or ability to make decisions instead of the person. But let’s shift away a little bit. So we talked about, a while ago, vices are not crimes. This, essay that Lysander Spooner wrote and we talked about prohibition in the drug war and that we like to have this, you know, oh, if we ban this, it won’t happen. But as we’ve seen that doesn’t always happen right. And again, I don’t wanna make it all about gun control. I’m glad you brought that up. So that’s just kind of the, my thoughts on the actual gun violence, but let’s talk about how we can deal with these really big tragedies. ’cause they’re always gonna happen. And I was probably a little older than you Emma, but you know, when nine 11 happened, that was a different kind of tragedy, but it was still, you know, an act of human violence against other humans. And that was terrible. And that was all over the news. Emma, how old were you when that happened?

Emma: Very young. I was, lemme think, I think I was three or four.

Brittany: Oh wow. Okay. So when I was that age, that’s when the Iraq war was going on. I was like four or five, the first Iraq war. Yeah. And I remember like, that’s actually some of my earliest members. Do your memories, do you remember anything from nine 11?

Emma: So, I don’t remember like watching the news or anything like that. I think my parents kept me kind of shielded from that, which I appreciate. Just because it was a really sad and heavy day. And I think it’s, it can be good to, within reason keep very young children from having to think about those things until they’re ready. But I remember hearing everyone talk about it all the time and it my dad listened to a lot of conservative talk radios, a lot of like Rush Limbaugh and that sort of thing. And people were always talking about the Twin Towers. And it’s kind of funny, it’s a sad thing about nine 11, but sort of a weird anecdote about that is we had this building in Portland that had these two buildings that looked exactly like each other next to each other. And growing up I always called them the Twin Towers, which I didn’t know what that meant, but, yeah, it was like such a part of the conversation when I was a kid that it was like, I feel like everyone was talking only about nine 11 for like the first few years of me kind of understanding what adults were talking about. So a very interesting time to have been that exact age.

Brittany: And it was so for me, who can remember all of it, you know, again, it was really scary. You began questioning humanity. It was this tragedy that everybody was dealing with. So, which kind of made it interesting ’cause it was like, and obviously we don’t love collectivism, but we were collectively as a people and not even just America as human beings. Everyone was like, oh my goodness, this is so tragic. Well, I wanna share a quote from Mr. Rogers with kids these days. No, Mr. Rogers.

Emma: I don’t know. I hope so. He was pretty great.

Brittany: I loved that show. It was kind of like slow-moving and kind of boring. It might be considered boring compared to today’s shows. But I really loved it as a kid. So he has this really, really great quote that I wanted to share. And that’s when I was a boy, I would see scary things in the news. And my mother would say to me, look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping. And I really isn’t that just such a nice quote? And I love that because even in the darkest times, there’s gonna be little bits of light. Right. Little things to look for that you can say, okay, there’s still good in this world. And you know, there were a lot of brave people. We hear about this with every single tragedy, whether it is a shooting or a, you know, an attack or something. There are always people that go above and beyond that are heroic and they do things that maybe they didn’t even know they were capable of doing. Right. But that element or that need to help somebody comes forward. I know in nine 11 there are many first responders that went into buildings, you know, that were coming down and helping people when they were probably really scared to do so. There were parents for instance, that were trying to go into the school and save kids. So when it comes to how we deal with tragedies, Cause again, it is very sad. And my answer to almost everything I will ever talk about on this podcast is always to be grateful for what you have. Because I think that’s really important to be grateful for your family and everyone that you have that is alive and with you. But also to look for people who are helping to take the advice that Mr. Rogers, mom gave him. Cause I think that’s just a beautiful piece of advice. Do you have any kind of closing thoughts on that, Emma?

Emma: Absolutely. I love that quote that you shared. That’s one that I’ve always loved about from him. And I think it’s such a good example of like you said, there’s always a silver lining. And that’s kind of like a cheesy cliche by now. Cause cliche, obviously, when something as horrible as a shooting happens, you know, it’s not like there’s an obvious, oh, well, at least here’s the upside. But I think we can always see these little glimpses of, humanity’s redeeming factors and people who step up and help their community. And even people who are brave and who put themselves directly in harm’s way to save other people. even in the face of violence and even death, I think it’s, it can be a good reminder that there are a lot of good people out there that do care about helping others. I think kind of another thing on this note would just be that this can be a really good time for us to reflect on, you know, the important things in life. And not to sound cheesy, I keep saying that, but, it’s a really good reminder that life is short. And if you lose a loved one or if you’ve ever lost someone that you loved, or a good friend or anything like that, you’ve had that reminder come up before where it’s like, wow. You just, you never know what’s going to happen each day. You know, treat it like it’s your last and tell people in your life that you love them and be conscious of how short life is because it’s easy to take for granted the time that we have, but we really, none of us knows how long we’re gonna be around for. And that sounds again, like kind of a corny, cheesy thing, but.

Brittany: But it’s true.

Emma: It’s true. And it’s really important to understand that life goes by in the blink of an eye. I mean, I remember being super young and people are talking about nine 11 when I was like a toddler like it was yesterday. And it’s just, I think when these tragedies happen, it’s a good time for us to draw closer to the people in our life that are important to us and tell them that they’re important to you and, just kind of reflect on the fact that we’re not all going to be here forever and it’s good for us to, us, I don’t know, I don’t know where, where, what I’m trying to say here, but life is short and it’s good to be in touch with your loved ones. And I think sometimes hard, hard things like this, that make us really sad can help, help remind us that, you know, it’s important to stay in touch with people that you love. So I’ll kind of wrap it up there today. thanks for listening everybody, and we will talk to you all again soon.

Brittany: Talk to you soon.