Written by Robert D. Sollars
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Imagine you’re a kid again, those where the days weren’t, they, and you see a drop-dead gorgeous woman, in a 5-year-olds mind anyway, driving a sports car down the street. Your perception is that you will marry that woman and have the car too. Believe it or not, you still think that way, even if you won’t believe it.
“No way I think like that anymore!” you say in indignation because I’m all grown up, been to college, got a great job, beautiful wife and wonderful kids. But you still think like the 5-year-old kid…again, when the fantasy crosses your mind. Why & how you ask?
perception is Reality.
I’ve used This phrase for nearly 30 years when discussing workplace/school violence prevention (WPV/SV). All relate to one another, & the supposedly senseless violence. Easy to answer but ignored by nearly everyone as an answer. Despite what they will, or have, argued in court, it makes complete and total sense to the perpetrators.
To virtually everyone else I’ve ever talked to, it literally makes no sense to them at the minutest point. I have also seen psychologists, law enforcement, media talking heads, 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.
Their perception of reality is why they do them. Like in any act of violence, 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.
If their perceptions are warped because of mental illness, blinding rage, or addiction, it is nearly impossible to dissuade them of it, because that is their reality. Think of political extremes…changing their minds even when confronted with facts. Not enough people, worldwide, think of these facts that were a reality for millions;
- The Jewish holocaust in WWII.
- The Crusader murders of Muslims during the ‘Holy Crusades’.
- The murder of millions of Jews throughout history…simply because they are considered bad.
- The wife abuser says “The bitch had it coming and I’ll do it again if she steps outa line!”.
- The man kills his manager because “The Sum Bitch didn’t like me and kept me from getting that promotion”.
- Or the teenager who says “I was bullied incessantly and they wouldn’t leave me alone”.
- Maybe the 20 million Russians murdered, before, during, and after WWII, because they were accused of being traitors by Stalin
These incidents sound awfully 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 (from whites, blacks, Asians, & Hispanics), supposed inequality for whatever reason (race, disability, age, gender, & etc.), and other idiotic nonsense. Their reasoning for the violence? Their Perception is their Reality.
Those perceptions may have grains of truth in them, which makes them even more dangerous. The perceptions of people, most recently in the last Presidential election, can be a crucial force for good or evil. If it forces in the way things are done, without violence, then it’s usually a good thing. On the other hand, it pushes a false narrative of whatever, then it’s not good, because it can, and probably will lead to violence, vandalism, death & injuries.
Understand that all acts of violence make 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, and on into individuals who go into a business or school… To most people, it makes no sense.
Who does understand this violence? Not law enforcement (far too many instances in recent years), 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 ones traumatized by the violence who were petrified out of their wits, and anyone who refuses to see 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. Those who commit this violence have a truly warped view of the world and their perception of reality. The key is that to the perpetrators…it made perfect sense, and supposedly ‘they just snapped’.
If you look at nearly every fatal incident of WPV/SV over the past 40 years, the perpetrators had a perception of the world that wasn’t connected to reality, but no one could dissuade them of it. Whether their perception is persecution, stalking, racism, or bullying…it was there, and in their mind, it was perfectly acceptable to do what they did to those people.
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, 43%, so we’ll never know. Those who survived, for the most part, didn’t… “They deserved it”.
For it to be senseless than they literally have to mentally snap and that is as rare as a 3-dollar bill. Unfortunately, there are always warning signs. Will most people see them? Nope! They would rather go on with their perception of reality, the world is all sunshine & rainbows with perfect weather and perfect people who wouldn’t harm a flea, ignoring it…until it happens again. Then it becomes senseless once again, & once more we deceive ourselves with hand-wringing, crying, and denials.
It happens to Anyone…Any Time… Anywhere… For any Reason
I May Be Blind, but My Vision Is Crystal Clear
Permission to share? Of course, with full attribution.
Copyright 2021 Robert D. Sollars