More Death & Destruction Is Coming Whether You See It Or Not
Monday, May 25, 2020
Lots of helplessness, worry, frustration, anger, and rage on my feed today. I've got it too.
I'm going to say some uncomfortable stuff here as a disaster person.
I said early on that this was going to be bad. Now we're seeing a little bit more about why. The political landscape was such going into this that some of what is happening now was somewhat predictable. Unfortunately. I've been saying for like a month that we're going to have more like an ocean of waves of surges of this thing. But big disease specialist Laurie Garrett (I'm sure she has a much better set of titles) has put out worst-case scenarios that are much, much worse than what we're already seeing.
My early advice in this was to try and get state and local governments to act when the federal government wouldn't. That's not really working out for everyone. I've gone to some great lengths myself on that front; invested a lot of time. It's helped a bit, but not as much as I would have hoped. I'd like to see us lean forward quite a lot more locally, and a some (not all) elected officials are not ready to.
We're frustrated because people aren't listening. We're frustrated because of straight-up denial. Total crap leadership. Science denial. Denial of humanity. Selfishness. Greed. An administration whose priorities appear to be coalescing more and more clearly around corruption than anything else in a time of crisis.
Number one... it's going to be on all of us to hold it together. Keep things as stable as possible where we are. Take turns helping each other as we need it and as we can help.
Number two... the death and destruction is going to have to happen at some scale before some people shake out of their denial. That's unfortunately how these things go.
And there will be a whole lot more death and destruction.
The destruction comes from the interdependent systems, interruptions to them, failures of some, and massive cascading effects all over the place.
Some of the death and destruction will come from violence. Trauma can put people into a fight, flight, or freeze response. Some of the fight will come from that. Some of the fight will come from the straight-up injustice and corruption as this unfolds. Some of the fight will come from hunger. People have different motivations when they're hungry.
I guarantee you someone reading this post is going to think I'm overreacting. Probably several someones. Okay. That's fine. My first post about how serious this was going to be was on February 3rd. I got a whole lot of pushback about that one. I've gotten some notes since from people who have been sorry to learn that I was right. But whether or not you believe me now isn't my problem.
For most of my career, I have been working on policies and approaches to help senior leaders make better decisions in disasters. Freaking 20 years of fighting to have systems and mechanisms better positioned to help us make better decisions in a crisis. I've spent my whole damn career on it. It's a nuance with in the field, and it's highly specialized, so I haven't talked much about it here on Facebook (this was originally posted on FB here). Too much to summarize quickly usually.
If you're wondering why I put out this dark stuff, it's because it's my natural inclination to help people make decisions in disasters. If you have some sense of how rough this is going to be, you have a better shot of getting through it.
Assess your resources. Keep up on the situation and risk. Build resilience.
But I think one key to this is going to be holding stuff together where we are as best we can.
Finding ways now to hold your stuff together so you can not panic when the crisis hits. There will be a lot of that. Those of us who can not panic will be better positioned to make good decisions when things happen that cause us to panic.
My original reason for writing this is that there is so much hand-wringing and worry. And rightfully so. I've been doing a lot of that also.
But the god-awful truth is that some people won't act, learn, listen to science, or take this seriously until the bodies are literally stacking up in the shed out back. Which has already happened in at least one facility.
Take a deep breath.
If you are wondering if we will get through this, I think the answer is that we will. Obviously not all of us. Not all. And that is going to suck. A lot.
There is light through this, and on the other side. But there's going to be a lot of darkness, too. That's reality.
This is a giant reckoning.
In a reckoning, everyone is tested. Every value is tested. Every system is tested. Every institution. Every structure. We're in the most powerful country in the world, and our role as that will be tested. The world order will be tested.
For many, this will be raw; primal.
We've built a civilization so that we generally operate in ways that are beyond raw survival.
In this kind of transformation, at least some of what happens will be about survival. It's not going to go well, for at least some. Probably for a lot. And none of us know until the moment hits if that includes us.
For now, many people are still holding on for dear life to a world that is cracking up and falling away. Hopefully not all of it. But I heard someone say yesterday that denial is the most powerful human force. Perhaps. Whatever it is, some people are going to hold on to the old world - and the status quo - kicking and screaming. Or with their emotional support guns in a state capitol. I'm sure the list will grow. Early on we saw a guy try and drive a train into a Navy medical ship.
Some are holding onto money and power, and trying to consolidate it. Since at least some of those people are currently running the executive branch and the Senate, that's affecting our lives, too. Hoping they will suddenly get a conscience and do the right thing is not a strategy. Those selfish people are scared too and doing what they know how to do under pressure, which is to protect themselves - not us. Which is obviously already leading to a lot of death.
Whatever it looks like, there's more crazy coming.
One of my favorite coaching tools is to talk about the sphere of influence. A lot of what is going to be happening here is simply outside of our sphere of influence. Recognizing what is and what isn't will be helpful. What we can actually control is just a little tiny, tiny circle. What we might be able to influence is a little bit bigger.
And reality is that a lot more death and destruction is coming. I'm sorry to say it, but that's the risk landscape.
We'll navigate it better if we can see what's out there.
Be safe. Try not to get dead. Try not to panic.
Connection, community, resilience, and problem-solving
And holding on to the light. It's always there. Sometimes it's our job to carry it... or even to find it.
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This post was originally published on the founder's personal Facebook page here.
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