Are you an Ostrich?

As Americans we have been raised, dare I say, born and bred, to see the bright side of literally everything. Our grand republic was born out of the desperation to remove ourselves from the dark to the sunny side. Our parents try to protect us by showing us the bright side of everything, so we can grow up to be mentally healthy and optimistic.

Psychologists, politicians, clergy (of all faiths), social workers, and practically everyone want us to walk on the sunny side of the street. And for the most part we do. Because we do, we don’t see, or recognize the bad, or potentially, around us

Even those of us who see the dark side and deal with it every day with the innumerable accounts of death, crime, robberies, child abuse, and etc. can still be optimistic at times. Now your question is simply, what the hell does this have to do with security and/or workplace violence (WPV)?

Because we are such an optimistic people, as a whole, we deny the ever present indicators that something is wrong. Whether we are in politics and try to paint a rosy picture of the world & economy (unless you’re of the opposite party) or if you’re a divorce attorney talking a client through such a devastating issue. Possibly you are a sales director explaining to your CEO why sales are down for you but up for the competition.

We all are in denial of something. And nothing is more in denial than those who are around others who may become dangerous. Either to themselves or others, we deny that something is wrong with them, their attitude, or moods. Think this is too much of a pessimistic view?

How many times have you seen the actions of a married person that is in direct contradiction to their marriage vows? The husband or wife is out and taking on affairs as often as they change underwear, no pun intended. We see it, yet the spouse, who should be more aware of it, is totally oblivious to the infidelity. And even denies its existence.

There are  parents who are in total denial of their child’s drug abuse or gang activities. Are they just being blinded because their ‘lil angel’ would never do anything like that. Of course there is always the oft put upon “They are racist and against my baby”.

We deny the bad side of practically everything around us that is closest. If we ‘perceive’ that it’s against us, then of course we’ll notice it. But if it doesn’t concern us, we could care less. And then we make excuses for the actions, attitudes, and moods of others.

As business owners, managers, and entrepreneurs we don’t see bad omens in the business world because we want our business to succeed. 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 it’s the same. In the past I’ve written about the excuses that we give each other about a co-worker and friends, who may be on the edge. We don’t connect the dots and then get surprised when we see, hear, or learn that they have exploded into a rage and hurt someone, sometimes fatally. Every so often that rage from work follows the victim home and detonates there.

Denial is a strong word and has some real connotations to it. But as normal everyday Americans we deny the existence of WPV, and SV as well, because we just don’t want to think about it or what may happen. It’s called ‘The Ostrich Syndrome’, we stick our heads in the sand and hope it’ll go away. Then hope like hell we don’t get bit in the butt!

Did you see the original movie “Men in Black” with Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith? Then you should remember the line that Agent K spoke to Agent J, in the middle of a Brooklyn neighborhood.

“There’s always a virus or the world’s about to be destroyed or something like that . And the only reason they can get along is that they don’t know. They live in their own little world secure in the knowledge that nothing bad will ever happen to them.” That statement is more true than you realize. And those of us that live the idea of WPV and SV every single day are more aware of it than ever.

And the problem is that business executives are in denial and don’t really care about security. Whether they don’t care, their mind is on something else (constantly), or they only view security spending as a cost center and one that can’t possibly save or make the company money.

The moral to this post? Don’t be an Ostrich. If you do you may get bit in the ass and it won’t be pleasant to you, the business, employees, financial bottom line, or your families. or Twitter: @robertsollars2

                        I May be Blind but my Vision is Crystal Clear

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