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, such as 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).
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 adults? For the most part we do walk over there, ignoring practically everything that is bad because it’s not us 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 i.e. Orlando, FL. On the 5th of June this year.
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 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 and people who don’t think they are that dangerous. Katie Perry recently stated that to get along with ISIS… “On UK Bombing: No Barriers, No Borders, Just Need to Co-Exist” That only happens in a Utopian vision of the world, and if you look/study closely no one really wants that.
Now consider workplace violence (WPV), well the media won’t because it’s too prevalent and boring to report on…unless there is a multitude of blood and dead people…kids 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 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 or 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 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 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 WPV every single day are more aware of it than ever.
As security professionals 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. Nothing bad will ever happen”. Yet by living the quote “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 ISIS, illegal immigration, 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. Stop acting like 2-year-olds, whine enough and mommy & daddy will make it better. Unfortunately, the real world doesn’t work that way… so take the quote to heart.
Robert D. Sollars assists businesses and their employees to lessen their risk of WPV as well as other security/customer service related issues. You can follow him on @robertsollars2 on twitter.
I May be Blind but my Vision is Crystal Clear