An Outlandish Idea for Peace

After taking the better part of a week to process events in Orlando, I have an idea.

Like many of you, I have experienced the sadly familiar feelings—not again, this is heartbreaking, this is hopeless, I’m afraid, repeat, repeat, repeat. However, I’m currently sitting with an emotion that feels OK, and maybe even empowered: the burning desire to DO something.

I have decided to embrace a different paradigm: creative determination. To me, this means the tenacity to:

  • think differently (boldly!)
  • have outlandish ideas
  • test those wild ideas
  • take concrete steps
  • connect with other torch bearers

For the moment, I’m not talking about political matters like gun control, mental health advocacy, or counter-terrorism. Those things are important, but they aren’t getting us very far. At best, political frameworks are not delivering the harmony we desire. At worst, the discourse around them has become so toxic that they do harm.

Instead, I want to remind us all that we share a history of creative determination. We share a history of revolutionary problem-solving and bold innovation. I truly believe that we, the people, can form a more perfect union.

Consider this short list of transformative examples, which exist or happened or changed, but were once just a notion:

  1. the Internet
  2. the Appalachian Trail
  3. the moon landing
  4. Central Park
  5. The Grapes of Wrath
  6. the Montgomery bus boycott
  7. interstate highways spanning 45,000+ miles
  8. a dazzling array of museums, free to all in the nation’s capital
  9. Woodstock
  10. the United States Constitution

Fine points are debatable. Yes, violence is pertinent to this list in important, nuanced (and some not-so-nuanced) ways. No, American culture doesn’t deserve singular credit for all. No, we don’t have the only creative culture in the world. Those and other complexities are real. I accept them.

However, big picture, these examples represent our culture’s extraordinary capacity for creativity. They are vastly different, but they all began as the kernel of an idea.

Many of you have kernels of creative ideas for solving, putting a dent in, or changing the frame of our national discourse on guns and violence.  You have outlandish ideas that may promote our shared goal of harmony. Take a moment right now to think creatively — market solutions, scientific solutions, health solutions, community solutions, educational solutions, and categories of solutions that I haven’t even dreamed of. Ask yourself, what can you uniquely offer? (Don’t be humble–you will test and refine later.)

In this spirit, here is my outlandish idea: I am offering two hours of free incubator coaching to anyone with their own idea for creating a more peaceful American society. The point is for you to explore your next step with a thought partner — how you might test, connect, build on, learn more…whatever it is that your idea needs.

Ground rules:

  • Your idea must entail full and equal respect for all human beings, regardless of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, etc.
  • This offer is for creative ideas that can be executed legally and outside the partisan political process.
  • That’s it!


  • Email me (jlp at to set up a phone session.
  • For now, this is an open invitation with no time limit.
  • If I have the welcome problem of idea overload…well, we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.

If you pursue it, your outlandish idea will become a step forward.