Perception is Reality

What does that phrase I have used for more than a quarter century have in common with workplace violence (WPV) and its supposedly senseless violence? That is a question that is extremely easy to answer, and ignored by nearly everyone as an answer. Despite what they will or have argued in court, it makes complete and total sense to the shooters.

To normal everyday people it doesn’t. I have also seen psychologists, law enforcement, and security professionals profess that it makes no sense to them either. But it does make sense…to the shooter and a very few who can see why they may have done it.

That phrase above in the title is the reason why. Their perception of reality is why they do these things. Like in any WPV, school (SV), or domestic violence (DV) situation. The perpetrators have distorted their reality and begin thinking they were right in doing what they did. Whether that perception is logical or not, no one will know until the proverbial genie has been let out of the bottle by someone getting injured or killed.

If their perceptions are distorted because of mental illness, blinding rage, or addiction, it is nearly impossible to dissuade them of it, because that is their reality. Think about motivating liberals or conservatives to change their minds even confronted with facts? Not enough people, worldwide, think of these facts that were reality for millions;

The Jewish holocaust in WWII

The Crusader murders of Muslims during the ‘Holy Crusades’

The murder of thousands of Jews in the Dark ages because of inane excuses

The wife abuser who says “The b**** had it coming”

The man who shoots and kills his boss because “the son-a-b*** didn’t like me and kept me down”

Or the teenager who says “I was bullied and they wouldn’t stop”


Any of those sound familiar? I’m sure they do, because of media coverage of world leaders and others. They also sound familiar because we’ve heard it out of many perpetrators of WPV, SV, & DV. Not to mention those spouting their hate speech in the name of religion, race superiority, inequality, and other idiotic nonsense. And their reasoning for the violence? Their Perception is their Reality.

Please understand that all acts of violence makes perfect sense to the perpetrator. From the drug dealer who robs and kills another to the gang banger who kills an innocent 6-year-old little girl for no reason other than she was flotsam who was in their way. To normal people it makes no sense.

Who does understand this violence and its occurrence? Not law enforcement (as we seen in the Rockford WA. Shooting in September 2017 when the Spokane County Sheriff said that exact thing and in Parkland, FL. On February 14), the media (who do nothing but wring their hands and ignore the solutions…because it doesn’t sell and doesn’t fill their ideological temperament), and to the employees/customers/kids who were scared out of their wits and possibly be traumatized for months or years, and anyone who refuses to see the vulnerabilities in our security systems and their own sensibilities.

People who are mentally ill have an excuse for their perceptions being warped. For 99% of them, they know something is wrong and seek treatment. For perpetrators who commit these crimes of WPV, SV, or DV they have a truly warped view of the world and their perception of reality. The key is that to the perpetrators of these mass shootings it made perfect sense, and supposedly ‘just snapped’.

If you look at nearly every fatal incident of WPV over the past 30 years, the perpetrators had a perception of the world that wasn’t connected to our reality. But literally no one could dissuade them of their perception. Whether that perception is of persecution, stalking, racism, or bullying it was there, and in their mind it was perfectly acceptable to do what they did to stop the one perpetrating it on them.

So are incidents of WPV, SV, and DV senseless acts? To most of us perhaps. To the perpetrators it makes perfect sense to take other people with them when they went out. Did they have remorse after killing and wounding innumerable innocents? Most committed suicide, 66%, so we’ll never know. Those who survived, for the most part, they didn’t… “They deserved it”.

For it to be senseless then they literally have to mentally snap and that is as rare as a 3 dollar bill. Unfortunately, there are always warning signs that can be seen and possibly avoid a fatality. Will most people see them? Not a chance…they would rather go on with their perception of reality that the world is all ice cream cones and sunshine and ignore it…until it happens again. Then it becomes senseless and once more we delude ourselves with that phrase.

Robert D. Sollars assists businesses and their employees to lessen their risk of WPV as well as other security/customer service related issues with time tested and proven ideas. You can follow him on his upcoming website or twitter@robertsollars2.

                                I May be Blind but my Vision is Crystal Clear

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