The Beslan lecture hit hard. Not in an emotional "saw too much icky stuff" way. Icky stuff isn't that new.
People are vulnerable. The very things that make our lives open, free and fun; the very same things that make it safe to be a sheep and graze contentedly without ever once raising your head and looking at the dark forest or the gathering storm clouds leaves us vulnerable. I've always known this. Always accepted it. I've understood the vulnerabilities and I've mapped them. Never planning to become a bad guy but the nature of me- whether it's personality or job- is to explore the problem from both sides.
Sitting in my comfortable sheep-permeated world I've always been aware that other people think that way, somewhere, but I never saw them or their actions. Now I know. Other people are thinking this way. More than that, they are planning this. They are planning not only to take and kill children but to use all of those vulnerabilities as well as the training the protectors get to increase the body count. They plan on using MY training to make sure they kill MY kids.
So the training was big and hit hard. Everything needs to be re-evaluated. I have to deny them predictability (while simultaneously surviving in a bureaucracy).
I talk about big things with Kami. She is the one constant. Not with this, though. She hit her limit with this. Normally the parts that bother her are the details. A particular child, a particular pain or death. The parts that bother me are the implications- what to do if a written policy is a critical piece of the threat's plans? When operators have this information and administrators don't, how do you keep them out of the decision process?- stuff like that.
So I can usually talk about the stuff that bothers me without burdening her with the stuff that bothers her. Not this time, and it felt strange. I don't think I realized that so much of my mental strength and resiliency, the stuff that lets me do things again and again and again when my soul is screaming, "It's somebody else's fuckin' turn!" is something that comes from her. Maybe I did. Losing it right now felt like slipping on an icy rock above a frigid river.
This time, I think the implications got to her, too. Have you ever sat down with your children and discussed what to do if armed gunmen storm their school assembly? The people they will be looking to in that situation- school teachers and counselors- aren't really prepared for it. It's almost worse if they think they are. Talking to teenagers about how hostage takers will try to cow them into submission (shooting any authority figures or people who show leadership, including trying to soothe and calm down the children; demonstration rapes and crippling tortures) and percentage chance responses where some will die but some might live and that's better than staying with the threat's plan...
It's all good now. A couple of days for both of us to let it settle. I have to respect her limits and not take her compassion as infinite or take it for granted. Lesson learned.
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