We’ve written about this before. Sadly, however, we still witness intentions in many industries missing the mark. Don’t get me wrong; they’re well-intentioned efforts. Nonetheless, blind spots keep us mired in less-than-useful thinking that keeps society from evolving (yes, society can indeed evolve).
Look for a moment at active assailants/active shooters. The point of impact, the moment of “bang,” is the shooting. We know well, from voluminous research, that many stages lead up to the moment of “bang.” What are we doing to address these stages? Yes, I know what we’re doing. My question is to challenge intransigently stuck groupthink with which we are too often satisfied with our efforts. Satisfaction is a drug that numbs us from becoming more creative.
What do we do in terms of showing effort to curtail an active assailant/active shooter? We install better locks on doors. We put Police in schools. We run drills whereby we teach children and adults to run, hide, or fight (remember that this formula is not sequential but is as-needed) in innumerably creative ways. Really, however, none of these things helps to actually prevent the creation of an active shooter; these are merely ways of hardening targets, responding, etc. after an active assailant/active shooter chooses to act.
What are we doing, societally, collectively, to go way, way, way, further upstream so that young boys (active shooters are almost exclusively males) are not even put into family, societal, or other contexts where they begin having inclinations that it’s ok or fun to kill other humans for no purpose other than to see them die? Yes, I’m proposing that, if we really, truly want to address the active assailant/active shooter, then we must transform society.
What are doing, from the moment the baby pops into this world, to condition it in such a manner that he sees killing others as something he would not want to do?
As Frederick Douglass so wisely points out, it is far easier to build strong children than it is to repair broken men.
I’m not saying that current efforts at active assailant/active shooter mitigation and response are not effective. Certainly, let’s keep doing what is effective in addressing some elements of the active assailant/active shooter phenomenon. On the timeline, however of mitigation, preparation, response, and recovery, just how far upstream are we going? I propose that we are not going far enough. Our societal vision is constricted and thus our ability to drive different outcomes is limited.
What is the payoff if we were to deepen/heighten our societal vision? Over time, we could see dramatic, sustainable decreases in active assailant/active shooter events. Of course, we could also see countless other ways that better humans would create better human processes in any sector of the world.
What is the consequence if we do not deepen/heighten our societal vision? We must simply accept that we are not going far enough upstream to do everything we can do to increase the quality of life and to decrease the number of active assailant/active shooter events. We must simply be ok with the killings, knowing that we are doing a lot, but not enough. Don’t shoot the messenger (pun intended).
I propose that while, of course, we must continue to have to put out fires, we are suffering from a collective blindspot with which we are not looking enough at how not to build conditions that a fire can even ignite in the first place.