Are you optimistic or pessimistic?
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, sputnik, Watergate and so on.
Our parents try to protect us by showing us the bright side of things and teaching us how to survive that away. Politicians, clergy (of all faiths), social workers, and practically everyone wants us to ‘walk on the sunny side of the street’. And for the most part we do, ignoring most everything that is bad because it’s not us it’s happening to.
As a whole, because we are such an optimistic people, we deny the ever present indicators that something is wrong. And unfortunately that extends to our own safety & security. From the female college students who leave their apartment doors unlocked and get raped to the business owner who thinks that an employee would ever steal from them or bring a firearm into work and use it to ‘settle a score’.
From the security points I talk about to numerous other dangerous situations, we all are in denial of something. And no one 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! We see it, yet the spouse who should be closest is totally oblivious to the issue. Despite the millions of false profiles, look at the recent computer hack of Ashley Madison and how many were signed up on that site to cheat on their spouses.
And the 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? And we see this played out on a constant basis in the media, courts, schools, & on the streets across America.
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 concern us, we could care less. And then we make excuses for the actions, attitudes, and moods of others.
Think I’m wrong? Look at ISIS and the people who don’t think they are that dangerous. Then consider WPV, well the media won’t because it’s too prevalent any boring any more. Hillary is lying! No, it’s all a misunderstanding! Trump is entertainment. He’s not entertainment but a serious candidate!
As business owners and managers 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.
And with workplace violence (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 think about it. We have Ostrich Syndrome. We stick our heads in the sand and hope it’ll go away, and then hope we don’t get bit.
If you ever saw the original Men in Black movie with Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith, then you’ll probably remember the line that Jones spoke to Smith 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 we can get along is that we don’t know. We live in our own little world secure in the knowledge that nothing bad will ever happen.” And those of us that live the idea of WPV every single day are more aware of it than ever.
And one of the problems that business executives are in denial about. But of course they don’t care about security and the safety of their employees (except that it may cost them money and affect the bottom line). Whether they don’t care, their mind is somewhere else, or they only view security spending as a cost center and one that can’t possibly save or make the company money.
We have to stop denying that bad things can happen. As Americans we scream and yell about things we can’t possibly change by ourselves, like ISIS and illegal immigration. Yet we stay silent on a topic we can actually do something about. All because we want to deny the facts. Sometimes we act like 2-year-olds, just whine enough and mommy & daddy will make it all better.
Robert D. Sollars is a recognized expert on security issues, specifically workplace violence. He’s spent 32 years in the security field. Contact him at 480-251-5197 or Visit his Facebook page, One is too Many. Here you will read about other items related to security & WPV issues. Or be a twitter follower at @robertsollars2.