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Thursday, June 16, 2016

Understanding A Threat Environment

We were talking about the Stanford rape case and the question of drinking came up.

I said that although I felt terrible for the rape victim, she shouldn't have gotten drunk.

Because a college campus, for girls, is a threat environment and it's stupid to put yourself in a position where someone can rape you.

Last night we took a walk and passed the high school. There in the grass sat two teenage girls and three teenage guys. They were laughing in that way people laugh when things are getting rowdy.

I turned to my husband and said, "That looks like trouble about to happen."

When you're dealing with a threat environment, political correctness doesn't matter. It doesn't matter that you should be able to wear whatever you want; that you should be able to drink as much as you want, and get drunk; or that you should be safe with people you think are your friends.

The only thing that matters is the amount of threat, and what you do to minimize it.

I got a call from my daughter the other day. "I'm sitting in Starbucks," she said.

"It's 10:00 at night," I answered back. "What are you doing out so late?"

"Oh mom," she said to me.

"Please get a cab home and don't take the bus," I shot back. "Don't look for trouble."

It's curious to me that people have trouble distinguishing the features of a threat environment, from their feelings about why the threat environment exists in the first place, or their passionate conviction that the threat itself is wrong.

When it comes to a threat, we cannot worry about being "nice."

It is not the time to accomplish "social justice."

You simply eliminate the threat.

This sounds so very basic and self-evident but if you look around the world, in particular at the mishandling of the refugee situation in Europe, you see that common sense does not always play out in real life.

If a proper threat assessment had been done beforehand, it seems unlikely that we would be witnessing the outcome we are seeing right now. Floods of desperate people committing crime after crime after crime, and the authorities paper over what's happening.

Unfortunately, when your policies are based on "narrative" and "spin" instead of an objective risk assessment, you leave it to hate groups to assert the obvious. And when hate groups become a primary news source, that's a whole other level of threat that compounds the original problem.

When you look at the world from a threat-based perspective, it doesn't really matter what the issue is, what your politics are, or what your morality claims to be. It only matters that the people who populate any given area are safe.

So...let's review the types of things one should avoid from a threat-based perspective.
  • Women - don't get drunk and go to a college party. Don't hang out with immature people and expect that they will behave like responsible grownups. Don't stay out late at night, and then walk home alone.
  • Nations - don't try to help a flood of desperate people escape a war-torn country unless you have a lot of money and a plan to ensure the safety of all parties involved. Food, shelter, healthcare, education and very good security.
  • Message-makers - Don't try to recreate reality using "spin." Don't let hate groups tell the story.
  • Everybody - don't confuse feelings with facts. Don't go off on a social justice mission when someone is openly threatening to kill you and your loved ones, and to destroy everything that you hold dear.
Denial is a normal psychological reaction when we're threatened.

But we can't afford to give in to it. We cannot let it substitute for common sense.