Americans have been raised to see things on the bright side. And throughout our history it has saved us from many a dark & stormy night; the un-Civil War, WWI, the depression, WWII, Watergate, and the election of Presidents who threaten national security (doesn’t matter which party…pick one depending on your political persuasion).
Our parents, politicians, clergy (of all faiths), social workers, and practically everyone want us to walk on the sunny side. They are trying to protect us by showing us the bright side of everything, which is not wrong for little kids… but for those who are adults? For the most part we do walk over there, ignoring practically everything that is bad because it’s not us that it’s happening to.
But we are so optimistic; we deny the ever-present indicators that something is wrong. And unfortunately that extends to our own safety & security. Here are just a couple of examples, and it’s unfortunate that we can’t do these anymore:
- Female college students who leave their apartment/dorm doors unlocked and get raped
- People who leave their vehicles, for the air conditioner or heater, running until it gets stolen
- People who leave their doors unlocked at night and then others get into…
- Business owners/managers who deny that an employee, or ex, would bring a firearm into work and use it to settle a score.
No one is more in denial than those who are around others who may become dangerous. Either to themselves or others in school or the workplace, we deny that something is wrong with them, their attitude, or moods. Think this is too pessimistic of me?
How many times have you seen the following?
- The actions of a married person that is in direct contradiction to their marriage vows, having an affair?
- What about the parents who are in total denial of their child’s drug abuse or gang activities?
They all seem to be totally oblivious to the situations in their own lives.
We deny the bad side of practically everything around us, and think that home, work, or school are the safest places to be. If we perceive that it’s against us, then of course we’ll notice it. But if it doesn’t directly impact our lives, we could care less. And then we make excuses for the actions, attitudes, and moods of others.
Still think I’m too pessimistic? Look at ISIS or illegal immigration with an eye to saying that people who don’t think they are that dangerous. The simple adage is that “To get along, we need to get along.” With them meaning that just let things be and everything will be alright. Would someone please bring my unicorn and rainbows back to me…I miss having them around.
Now consider workplace/school violence (WPV/SV), well the media won’t because it’s too prevalent and boring to report on…unless there are a multitude of blood and dead people…and children are even better for ratings.
As business owners and managers, we don’t, or refuse, to see bad omens in the business world because we want our businesses to succeed and thrive. We don’t watch for the small indicators that can, and usually do, build up to the point where they endanger us, the business, and our employees.
With WPV/SV it’s the same. In the past I’ve written about the excuses that we give each other about a co-worker or friends, who may be on the edge. We don’t connect the dots and then get shocked and turn into sniveling milquetoats, when we see, hear, or learn that they have exploded into a rage and hurt or killed someone.
Denial is a strong word and has some real connotations to it. But as normal everyday Americans we deny the existence of WPV/SV because we just don’t want to think about it or what may happen if we do. Those of us that live in the tragic world of violence and crime every single day are more aware of it than ever. But trying to convince others of that fact…
As those who are charged with protecting our employees, clients and client employees, it’s not unusual for people to ridicule us for what we do. On more than one occasion I’ve been accused of seeing “communist spies behind every bush and raising the alarm for nothing”. I heard this phrase from a friend on a list I participate in: “Nothing bad will ever happen, so why worry about it?” Yet by living the “expect the best and Prepare for the worst” nothing has ever cost any of my client’s resources due to theft or violence.
We have to stop denying that bad things can happen. As Americans we scream and yell about things we can’t possibly change, like political childishness, shutting down the government over principal, illegal immigration, distracted driving, or opioid addiction. Yet we stay silent on a topic we can actually do something about. All because we want to deny the facts. If you live the words above, as people malign me for, then we can’t be surprised by anything and be better prepared to handle a crisis.
We need to stop acting like 2-year-olds. We stomp our feet, scream, yell, cry, and whine enough because mommy & daddy will make it better. Unfortunately, we are adults and mommy or daddy won’t step in to comfort and change things just to help us. Just as unfortunate is the fact that the real world doesn’t work that way… and isn’t fair…by a long shot.
Robert D. Sollars helps organizations to safeguard the lives of their employees and students and lessen their risk of violence, as well as with other security–related issues, using time–tested and proven ideas.
He is the author of three books on preventing violence in both schools and businesses, all available on Amazon.
His book–related website, with full information on his most recent book, Murder in the Classroom: A Practical Guide for Prevention, is: http://www.dldbooks.com/robertdsollars/
I May Be Blind, but My Vision Is Crystal Clear
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Copyright 2019 Robert D. Sollars