Given the shocking violence we've seen this week, with more predicted around the country, I found myself in a very strange place: feeling like my home and family are under potential threat.
Granted, I have a hypersensitive sense of danger, given my cultural and familiar heritage as a Jew and the child of a holocaust survivor. My ancestors survived long enough to pass down their genes to me because they erred on the side of “get out of town” rather than “things will settle down.”
And because my threat assessment now includes the possibility of civil unrest led by racist, antisemitic militia who believe that the Jews and Democratic establishment and Hollywood are perpetrating an evil conspiracy to kidnap and abuse children, I started wondering about how it might all end.
And one of the elements that fed into my modeling was the uneven nature of gun ownership. Very few liberals I know own guns. Most conservatives do. And in a recent poll, about one-third of those who voted for Trump expressed at least partial support for the Capitol Hill insurrectionists.
I'm very anti-gun by nature and philosophy. I've never owned one. I wish they had never been invented. And this week I found myself thinking, “Should I buy a gun to defend my family if the nation descends into violent anarchy?”
So I reached out to one of the most unorthodox thinkers I know.
Hillel Norry is a rabbi, a staunch liberal, an LGBTQ+ ally, a vegan, and a firearms instructor. He's a licensed private eye, and consults with houses of worship on security matters.
I asked him to talk to me about guns – philosophically and ethically, and also practically.
I didn't want to get into a debate about gun rights. Partly because I have strong opinions but I'm not an expert on facts and statistics. And partly because the debate didn't really interest me.
I mean, I offered some of the arguments that I believe, but honestly I didn't do any kind of job in terms of countering Rabbi Norry's enthusiastic view toward guns.
He didn't convince me that guns are good, or even neutral. But I now see them as perhaps a necessary evil – and a real problem if the only people who own and operate them are those who view me as an implacable enemy.
Just as he feels that veganism – which he defines as a lifestyle that avoids unnecessary violence – is the most ethical human stance, Rabbi Norry embraces gun proficiency in the same way. Fighting back against those who would harm you, in his worldview, is a moral imperative.
We also spoke about practical issues. If someone were to get a gun, what kind? What are the differences and similarities between different classes: rifles and handguns, revolvers and semiautomatics, Glocks and 357 Magnums. He offered suggestions on one's first “starter gun,” and how to connect with a gun-owning community that shares liberal values.
I never thought I'd do an episode of Plant Yourself on guns, but here I am. And here we are.
Am I making too much of the current situation? Am I seeing the world only through the lens of fear and threat?
Does this conversation empower you, or enrage you, or bewilder you?
Do you own a gun? If so, what would compel you to use it?
If you don't own a gun, did this conversation move you to consider getting one?
Let's keep the conversation respectful, kind, and useful – and let's have it.
Looking for Transformational Change?
You know how when you discovered plant-based eating, you basically went, “Holy shit, how come the entire healthcare system isn't totally embracing this as one of the most powerful keys to disease prevention and reversal!”?
That's how I feel now about a psychological approach to transformational change called “Memory Reconsolidation.” Few psychologists have heard about it, and when they do hear the radical transformations it can bring about in a very short time, they're often skeptical to the point of disbelief.
But I've added Memory Reconsolidation work to my own coaching, and can attest to its amazing efficacy. So much so, that I'm devoting the next year to mastering it, studying with the best clinicians and teachers in the world, and then introducing it into health coaching through my trainings.
Right now, I want to triple my coaching practice to get more and more opportunities to do this work. And I'm lowering my fees – a lot – to make it easier for people to work with me.
If you're interested in working with me (and willing to commit to a minimum of 2 months), click the link below to open the form in a new browser tab and I'll get back to you within 3 business days.
You CAN Change Other People!
Well, that's what Peter Bregman and I claim in our provocative book of that title.
What we really mean is, you can help the people around you make behavioral changes in their own best interests. If you think you're powerless to help people change, it's because you've been going about it the wrong way.
Discover our straightforward, replicable process here: You Can Change Other People.
Audiobook: Use the Weight to Lose the Weight
Listen to Josh LaJaunie and me narrate our latest audiobook, about how to start moving when you're obese.
It's $10, and Josh and I split it evenly 🙂
This podcast is not underwritten by advertising, so I can experience complete editorial autonomy without worrying about pissing off the person paying the bills. Instead, I pay the bills, with your help. It's free for those who can't afford to pay, and supported by those who can. You can contribute to the growth and improvement of the podcast by clicking the “Support on Patreon” or “Donate” buttons on the right to help out.
The Plant Yourself Podcast theme music, “Dance of Peace (Sabali Don),” is generously provided by Will Ridenour, a kora player from North Carolina who has trained with top Senegalese musicians.
It can be found on his first CD, titled Will Ridenour.
You can learn about Will, listen to more tracks, and buy music on his website, WillRidenour.com.
Thanks to Plant Yourself podcast patrons – Kim Harrison – Lynn McLellan – Brittany Porter – Dominic Marro – Barbara Whitney – Tammy Black – Amy Good – Amanda Hatherly – Mary Jane Wheeler – Ellen Kennelly – Melissa Cobb – Rachel Behrens – Tina Scharf – Tina Ahern – Jen Vilkinofsky – David Byczek – Michele X – Elspeth Feldman – Leah Stolar – Allan Kristensen – Colleen Peck – Michele Landry – Jozina – Sara Durkacs – Kelly Cameron – Janet Selby – Claire Adams – Tom Fronczak – Jeannette Benham – Gila Lacerte – David Donohue – Blair Seibert – Doron Avizov – Gio and Carolyn Argentati – Jodi Friesner – Mischa Rosen – Michael Worobiec – AvIvA Lael – Alicia Lemus – Val Linnemann – Nick Harper – Bandana Chawla – Molly Levine – The Inscrutable Harry R – Susan Laverty the Panda Vegan – Craig Covic – Adam Scharf – Karen Bury – Heather Morgan – Nigel Davies – Marian Blum – Teresa Kopel – Julian Watkins – Brid O'Connell – Shannon Herschman – Linda Ayotte – Holm Hedegaard – Isa Tousignant – Connie Haneline – Erin Greer – Alicia Davis – Heather O'Connor – Carollynne Jensen – Sheri Orlekoski of Plant Powered for Health – Karen Smith – Scott Mirani – Karen and Joe Crabtree – Kirby Burton – Theresa Carrell – Kevin Macaulay – Elizabeth Rothschild – Ann Jesse – Sheryl Dwyer – Jenny Hazelton – Peter W Evans – Dennis Bird – Darby Kelly – Lori Fanney – Linnea Lundquist – Emily Iaconelli – Levi Wallach – Rosamonde McAtee – Dan Pokorney – Stephen Leinin – Patty DeMartino – Mike and Donna Kartz – Deanne Bishop – Bilberry Elf – Marjorie Lewis – Tricia Adams – Nancy Sheldon – Lindsey Bashore – Gunn Marit Hagen – Tracey Gulledge – Lara Hedin – Meg from Mamasezz – Stacey Stokes – Ben Savage – Michael K – David Hughes -Coni Rodgers – Claire England – Sally Robertson – Parham Ganchi – Amy Dailey – Brian Tourville – Mark Jeffrey Johnson – Josie Dempsey – Caryn Schmitt – Pamela Hayden – Emily Perryman – Allison Corbett – Richard Stone – Lauren Vaught of Edible Musings – Erin Hastey – Sean Owens – Sagar Naik – Erika Piedra – Danielle Roberts – Michael Leuchten – Sarah Johnson – Katharine Floyd – Meryl Fury – for your generous support of the podcast.
This post may contain amazon affiliate links. I may receive compensation from your actions on such links. It don't cost you a dime, tho.