Your Guns or Your Children. Your Choice.

[Cache – #99]

Coming soon:  Best and Worst Brand Names of 2012

Brand positioning can be very much about defining the frame of reference:  think of how Subway’s menu doesn’t fit the “fast food” frame of reference like McDonald’s or Wendy’s does – which sets Subway apart and gives credibility to their “fresh” and “healthy” claims.  Or that Cirque Du Soleil is not a circus, and is not a theatre production, but is…what, actually?  As Kim and Mauborgne point out in their classic Blue Ocean Strategy, they have made the competition irrelevant.

obama newtown speech image

In a similar way, U.S. president Obama may have successfully created a new frame of reference with respect to gun control and gun rights in the United States, one that dooms the tired arguments of the gun lobby to irrelevancy.  In the wake of Newtown, Obama has turned the issue into one of child safety – period.  From his speech there:

“It comes as a shock at a certain point where you realize no matter how much you love these kids, you can’t do it by yourself, that this job of keeping our children safe and teaching them well is something we can only do together, with the help of friends and neighbors, the help of a community and the help of a nation.

And in that way we come to realise that we bear responsibility for every child, because we’re counting on everybody else to help look after ours, that we’re all parents, that they are all our children.

This is our first task, caring for our children. It’s our first job. If we don’t get that right, we don’t get anything right. That’s how, as a society, we will be judged.

…Are we prepared to say that such violence visited on our children year after year after year is somehow the price of our freedom?”

What makes this framing especially remarkable is that it instantly expands the responsibility of American society far beyond the prevention of mass slaughters like Newtown – and into the inner cities, where America’s forsaken children are routinely shot dead.  It’s a Hail Mary pass, it’s a doubling-down; in Obama’s own words, it’s a “bet” that Americans are willing to dramatically reduce gun violence, period.  Because to make children safe, you have to.

And even the biggest gun nut values his children more than his guns.  Right?


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