Podcast review: “No Small Endeavor”

Eric Nolin reviews the "No Small Endeavor" podcast with special attention given to a recent episode on gun violence.

Hosted by Lee C. Camp

It is probably safe to assume that many of us have thought about what it means to live good, meaningful lives. Thinking about this exact question is the purpose of the No Small Endeavor podcast. Guided by host Lee C. Camp — professor of Theology and Ethics at Lipscomb University — “No Small Endeavor” seeks to unpack society’s most pressing questions while “exploring what it means to live a good life.”

In a recent episode (episode 101), Camp turns our attention to one of the most pressing issues in American society: the gun violence epidemic.

Camp interviews Dr. David Hemenway, professor of health policy at Harvard and director of the Harvard Injury Control Research Center, who addresses the issue from a public health position. Hemenway asks questions like “How can we reduce injury and harm across a population?” and shares the unofficial public health credo: make it hard for people to make bad decisions, and easy for them to make good ones. He currently applies his knowledge toward reducing gun-related injury in the United States. Guns are a highly lethal piece of technology, and they are easily accessible in our country. Because the prevalence of guns in our society is unlikely to decrease, Hemenway insists we must therefore find solutions to reduce the level of harm they inflict.

Hemenway demonstrates what this might look like by describing a previous public health success. The invention and use of seatbelts, safety glass, rumble strips, airbags, and automated braking have drastically reduced the number of vehicle-related deaths. Drivers didn’t get better; cars got safer. The same philosophy can be applied to guns. Small, substantive, cost-effective changes to our current situation can mitigate user error or intent and reduce the overall harm inflicted on the population.

While Camp’s interview with Hemenway is illuminating, a collective insight from theologians Carly Crouch and Christopher Hays, and mother-turned-activist Diane Latiker is worth mentioning. A theme that runs through all three perspectives is the importance of communal engagement. Addressing large-scale problems like gun violence requires a communal mindset; one must put aside self-interest to achieve well-being for the many. Though it has been highly politicized, the gun violence epidemic is no different. It requires that we shift away from our individual points of view in order that we may achieve a good life for all.