Is it just a cliché?
I’ve been told and heard recently that a saying that has been trumpeted for years is becoming a cliché saying. In other words no one pays attention to it anymore because it’s become common in the vernacular.
“See something, say something” is the quote I’m talking about. It is a very real and reasonable quote for everyone who wants to stay safe and help to prevent another heinous act by some despotic terrorist organization, be they Amerikan or Islamic, or perpetrator of workplace violence. So why is it becoming overused and underutilized?
Is it because we as Americans don’t think anything can ever happen? Or is it we have such short memories in this age of social media and instant gratification? Or is it because we can’t ever imagine anything like that happening here in in our soft, quiet, sequestered lives?
Security professionals, not to mention military, law enforcement, and several others believe in this saying wholeheartedly. We believe it because as these professionals we live it nearly every single day. We have too. It’s our job to protect those who don’t have a care in the world until…
So what can we do to enforce this saying and stop a, so-called senseless because it always makes sense to someone, slaughter here in America? Being perfectly honest, we can’t do it as the professionals we are.
If we keep parroting this quote, no matter how real and effective it is, we’ll be called alarmists and trying to scare people into giving up their freedoms. And whether those freedoms are at work or in their personal lives, we’ll still be called names.
On top of that we’ll be called racists, bigots, Nazi’s, trashy pigs, and innumerable other slanderous names about both us and the work we try to do. But that is all a part of the job for those of us in the field. And we have to try to train other rookies, guards, & military misfits’ what it truly means.
Like Californians with earthquakes, Floridians with hurricanes, Missourians with tornados, & North Dakotans with blizzards, it begins to be totally passe until something actually happens and the threat becomes real. Unlike most Americans, they live there and prepare as much as possible.
I am afraid that until something disastrous occurs that the threat will never be taken seriously, can we say San Bernardino. Then, as it always does, a knee jerk reaction will be demanded from the public. And we will have our freedoms and liberty censored and obstructed.
And we as security, law enforcement, & military professionals will sadly shake our heads and silently ask ‘Why didn’t you listen when we tried to warn you? Why didn’t you say something when you seen it as obvious as the Facebook page or smart phone you have in front of you?’
The reasoning for this is simple and causes us to feel even more useless sometimes. “I don’t have time for that! Besides what they do isn’t our business. Why do I want to get them into trouble? And what if I’m wrong? Look at how embarrassed I’ll be! Don’t you understand that?”
a quote from a neighbor, after the San Bernardino massacre, is that she saw numerous middle eastern men going in and out of the home where the San Bernardino shooters lived. Why didn’t she report it? Because she “didn’t want to make rash generalizations or profile people.” I can guess she wishes she would have now.
And as professionals all we can do is say okay and leave it alone. Otherwise we’ll be called racists, bigots, Nazi’s, trashy pigs, and innumerable other slanderous names about both us and the work we try to do. So what can we do to try and stop a terrorist attack on us? I think it’s simple, to me anyway.
I’ve been called names my entire career because I tried to do my job in security. I know of many other professionals who have endured the remarks as well. I also remember what our soldiers were called when they returned from Vietnam and the way they were treated. So I have to say one thing to it. Tough noogies!
We will keep reminding you of what needs to be done. If you see something then say something! So you may be embarrassed, s what. Would you rather see the bodies and brains of a dozen people spread out on the street or wall behind you than be embarrassed?
We’ll keep doing our jobs and hindering your life so you can continue to stay alive and well and hindered. And then complain, bitterly no doubt, about it afterward. We’ll stand there as security (officers & managers), military, & law enforcement professionals and listen to your diatribes with all the professionalism we can muster.
And then after we help usher you out of the collapsing building, shout a warning, or take a bullet meant for you we’ll accept your thank you as humbly as we can. Usually we’ll tell you “No thanks necessary. It’s our job to protect you and your life.”
So the next time a security officer, or some other professional, tells you “If you see something, then say something” maybe you’ll take it a little more seriously and listen a bit more closely. Because it could mean either your life or the life of someone else you know. Maybe not this minute, hour, or day. But possibly you’ll never know because the prevention will happen behind the scenes and never be announced to you or others.
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.
I May be Blind but my Vision is Crystal Clear