#2. "I Don't Trust Myself to Own a Gun"
(I can't bear to be misunderstood on this topic, so let me just say that this entry has nothing to do with the shattering events in Connecticut. It's not my attempt to be timely or "funny" about tragedy. It was written prior to those events. It's also not meant to be a catalyst for a debate about gun control in the comments.)
Several times, I've heard people say, "Oh, I don't trust myself to own a gun." They're not talking about being clumsy or accidentally capping the dog during a shotgun cleaning; they're talking about their anger-management issues. They're saying that they are such uncontrolled bottles of rage that they don't trust themselves to own a weapon without murdering someone.
"Yes, I just acknowledged that not having a certain possession is the only thing keeping me from homicide. What's the problem?"
Yes, I'm super glad that there are rageaholics who don't own guns. Still, not buying a gun does not solve the problem. Do you hear yourselves? You're scared that the only thing keeping you from murder is not owning a murder weapon. So yeah, it's a good idea to keep suicidal patients away from straight razors, but that's not the end of the therapy.
#1. "I Don't Like Conflict"
Some people avoid confrontation because they "don't like conflict." That's a big excuse in the comments every time I've ever written about the value of debate and argument. But this statement implies that anyone willing to engage in a confrontation must enjoy conflict. Not true. Know who hates conflict? Me. I absolutely cannot stand conflict. It gives me a sick feeling of dread.
But there are a lot of things that don't feel good that need to be done: going to the dentist, getting chemotherapy, telling Soren Bowie he's the "prettiest boy in the land" so he'll come out of his After Hours trailer and not ruin the big shoot. Not enjoying something isn't always an excuse, is my point.
"Where's my beautiful man? Come out of the trailer, baby."
Like I said, I hate conflict, but I hate what happens by avoiding it more. If you run away from conflict, some sort of injustice will occur. It could be something small and inconsequential, or it could be big. So it's not the biggest deal in the world if a waitress brings you the wrong food and you eat it anyway because you don't like conflict. But what about when they bring your kid the wrong food? Are you going to make Junior eat it because you don't like that squiggly feeling in your tummy when you and a stranger disagree? What if it's something worse than a botched order? What if someone actually means to do you harm, or at the very least take advantage of you?
Saying that you "don't like conflict" is an invitation to the world to behave badly knowing that you won't get in its way. It works the same for little old ladies trying to cut you in line at the bakery or dictators imposing their will on the masses. It just requires passivity. No one except the worst people in the world actually enjoys conflict, but there is no shortage of scenarios when it's required.
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