“The bitterest truth is better than the sweetest lie”

Written by Robert D. Sollars
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The above title of this blog post is from the movie Men in Black 3. And while you may not think that a quote from a humorous sci-fi movie applies to security, you’re wrong with workplace/school (WPV/SV) violence prevention. Especially when it comes to lying to yourselves, employees, and literally anyone who enters the facility or grounds of the business or campus.
Even after the recent incidents of violence in both businesses and schools, organizations are still reluctant to admit/believe that they are at risk for a violent incident. They are telling themselves that, knowing down deep inside their gut that it’s a lie, even being a very sweet one because it allows them to concentrate on other items for their business, such as the bottom line, and not spending financial resources on such a remote possibility.
They can spend their financial resources on growing the business, finding a new office/retail space, more inventory for a sale, advertising, or hiring more staff. They don’t have to waste it on worrying about security & their safety/security. It’s a perfect lie to tell themselves.
Yet, the underlying result is that it is still just a lie. And so many who perceive themselves to be visionary and see troubles on the horizon would rather tell themselves that “It Can’t Happen Here.” lie than accept the bitter truth about the chaos & mayhem it can cause. WPV/SV does exist and can strike, using the phrase I developed years ago, anyone, at any time, anywhere, for any reason.
It can be a very bitter truth, almost nauseating at times, to accept this reality. Because when they do, they open themselves up to innumerable issues that they simply don’t want to face, which can be innumerable in its own right. Or worse they don’t know anything about it and, just like a 2-year-old, they think they can cover their eyes to hide from it and therefore avoid any lasting bad monsters or influences. If you don’t confront it and acknowledge it then it isn’t real!
As security professionals we know for an absolute certainty that WPV/SV is real, and can happen, not to mention a myriad of other security issues. Computer hacking, employees losing their devices with company secrets on them, theft, fraud, and the list goes on and on and on…
So, in order to get the C-suite to buy in, as well as line managers and employees, we need to do a better job in getting them to accept the bitter truths of WPV/SV, as sickening as they may be, to logical sensible people. And that’s not always the easiest thing for us to do, because of their denials of the actual issue and the possibility of it occurring.
I would still recommend the shock method of attempting to get the resources to secure the facility, organization, & employees. Show the executives what can happen IF they do nothing & allow it to happen…in many cases without even preparing a perfunctory plan to prevent mayhem, chaos, death, & trauma to many
“It can’t happen here”. From a financial resource, liability, publicity, & the myriad of other things that will happen if they don’t acknowledge the issue…then try to prevent it, or at the very least, be moving in that direction.
Will the executives like what you tell them, especially with the financial expenditures? More than likely, NO! Will the employees like it when the security protocols are rolled out and their ‘freedoms’ are limited even further by the Barney Fife’s of the world? Absolutely, definitely, positively NOT!
So, along with police officers trying to get the wrong way/drunk/high drivers off the road and the military attempting to stop extremists & terrorist attacks at home, we have just as much a critical task. We have to assist the military, police, & others when it comes to protecting the people in the facility you’ve been granted to protect.
The bitter truth of all of this is that it will be necessary to restrict and not allow as many things into the facility as before. And because of that we can’t sugar coat and tell a sweet lie to anyone that we are trying to protect.
Security professionals are the ones who are bringing the sour & nasty tasting pills to everyone in the facility & organization. We are the people pouring castor oil into the throats of kids from an old outdated idea. We are the evil ones who seek to do nothing but hinder the freedoms of the people we’re charged to protect and not let them do the jobs they were intended to do.
In this era of a terrorist/criminal around and hiding in every corner to harm the people we’re charged; we must be the ones to bring about the bitter truth to our employers or clients. They tell themselves the lies, while we work diligently in the background to ensure that another bitter truth won’t annoy or hinder their growth.
The truth that they are at risk and could face financial ruin. That ruin coming from lost property, assets, and more importantly the lives of people inside the facility, business, or educational institution. What may be worse is that the C-suite has to deal with, and fortunately we mostly don’t, most times, the questioning look in a child’s eyes when they ask “Why isn’t mommy or daddy, or siblings, grand-parents, or playmates, not coming home anymore?”
Which one of us wants to deal with that? I sure as hell don’t and will gladly put that on the executive’s desk to wrangle with…not a grief counselor, priest, or anyone else…the executive themselves. Let them explain why they could have, but did nothing to try and prevent a tragedy.
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.
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Copyright 2021 Robert D. Sollars

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