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An uncommon conversation in politically tense times


Today I started my day off in the town of Festus which is roughly 33 miles south of my apartment. I've begun joining Mike and Lorna on their quarterly visits to the bank branches. Being that many of our banks are south of St. Louis, I will be visiting places like Hillsboro, DeSoto, Cedar Hill and others over the coming months in addition to places like Manchester, Kirkwood, Brentwood and Lindenwood Park.

By telling the story of what my role is and it's goals across the bank, I hope that I can better align us under a common banner.

After our discussion today, I caught up for a while with one of my co-workers I occasionally see in meetings. Both before our conversation today and after it, I could have told you that there are several major things on which we probably don't agree. But for one example that we really delved into that I see as important to review is guns.

This guy has been raised in the country, enjoys hunting and shooting at targets. He said to me, "every interaction I've ever had with a firearm has been positive." He knows how to use them properly. To the converse he added, "almost every time a gun goes off in an urban environment, it's for a negative reason. Inspiring fear, causing injury or worse." He showed me some videos of him shooting with friends and one with his son. We talked about different types of bullets and even had a physics lesson on bullet shape, style of gun and how that impacts speed, distance and accuracy of a projectile.

After all of that and some good laughs, it's safe to say I'm still not planning to own, or even fire, a gun. But what we did today was fun. We talked with each other not at each other. I heard his story and he heard mine.

The simpler, less tolerant version of that conversation would be, "the city is dangerous and people in the country are red necks." But that is not the conversation we had. We stood for a few moments in each other's shoes and we are better of for it.

If we all took a few minutes to discuss each other's humanity, we would be in a better spot.

"Practice understanding. Not judgement". (h/t Maria Papova)


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