This is Part #2 in a two part series or articles on advanced Situational Awareness. In the first article in this two-part series (Situational Awareness (SA) : Learning to Dig – Part #1) <click here to read> I introduced the idea of digging below the surface to understand what is really going on behind problems and issues. I introduced the Swiss Cheese method of analyzing situation, also known as “Cumulative Act Effect” of analysis. And how, within a system, if no one correct bad decisions, if no one stops a poor process, then a catastrophic event will occur.
I also touched briefing on how Occum’s Razor problem-solving principle will help you to work with the specifics of a issue to more fully identify the root cause. Then I also touch on a High Reliability Organization principle of “reluctance to simplify” when looking at failures such as failed processes or failed decisions. I wrapped up the last article by using the example of Freddie Gray and the Baltimore Police Department by plugging the situation in slices of Swiss Cheese.
In this article I will take that same example and plug it into a larger picture and how those same principles apply to much larger problem identification. My goal by the end of these two article is to assist you in how to dig for truth below the surface. To be able to get through the “dis-information” and systemic and personal agendas and understand the root of issues. And through this exercise be able to more fully fine-tune your Situational Awareness skills for the days ahead.
Now let’s get on with Part #2…
Returning to our Freddie Gray and the Baltimore Police Department examples – Those Baltimore Police Department officers didn’t just wake up that morning and decide to put such a beat-down, or give him a known tactic of a “rough-ride” on Freddie Gray that they would kill him. I actually doubt, to some degree, that they actually intended to kill him at all no matter their actions or the situation. But what is very clear is that there was a “culture” within the BPD that taught and tolerated this kind of conduct on the part of police officers; probably even encouraged it. The BPD had a very long history of this kind of officer conduct. The BPD leadership didn’t stop it, the city leadership didn’t stop it and the citizens didn’t (or maybe couldn’t) stop it. Hence, the cultural-based conduct became the accepted “norm.”
But this didn’t develop in a vacuum either. The Baltimore officers didn’t just somehow dream this up all on their own. This kind of brutal and violent behavior can’t simply develop and exist in such a close-knit community such as law enforcement. Other officers from other agencies knew about it; hell, their own department top leadership had to have known of it.And yet no one stopped that abhorrent behavior. And since they didn’t do anything to stop it, it can only be logically assumed that they too participated in, and advocated, such brutality and abusive behavior.
So how does that happen and how wide-spread is it?
All you have to do is read the newspapers, the news websites, specialty/focused websites, this website or any other long list of media outlets, including books, that have documented the rampant and widespread vicious behavior that has developed in our law enforcement agencies at all levels.
The most recent example is that of the Chicago Police Department. Just yesterday (5/6/15) is was revealed that the CPD had a systemic torture program within the Detective Bureau. That torture program had existed for the better part of three decades (1970’s – 1990’s). And CPD personnel has been using electric shock, burning, and mock executions against suspects during police interrogation. Yes, hard-core torture against Americans while in police custody. So we can see that the Baltimore scandal within their police department isn’t an isolated case. (Source: UK Guardian, Fox News, US News, and Chicago Sun Times)
Even the supposedly most respected federal law enforcement agency in the country is guilty of horrific behavior against American citizens.
See how this sounds to your common sense – A man, Ibragim Todashev, was being questioned in Orlando, FL for his role in a 2011 triple homicide. He was being interviewed by an FBI agent, two Massachusetts State Police troopers, and other law enforcement personnel. While they were interviewing him in connection with the Boston Marathon bombing investigation a violent confrontation was initiated by the individual during the confrontation, the individual was being interviewed by officers from the FBI, Massachusetts state police and the Orlando police department. He was cooperative at first, they (LEOs) say, and he was about to sign a written statement based on his confession. Then all the LEOs say Todashev became violent as he was about to sign his statement. According to all the LEO statements, with a room full of law enforcement officers from multiple law enforcement agencies he attacked the agent with a knife. The FBI agent shot an killed him. He had been secluded while being interviewed all day and well into the evening with the attack occurred.¹
Then there is FBI laboratory scandal where FBI investigators knowingly committed fraud and perjury under oath during trials for decades.² Yup, you read that right. FBI personnel knowingly lied about test results from their laboratory during thousands of trials, many where the defendant was on trial for his life. And not to worry, not a single FBI agent or any other FBI personnel was ever charged with a crime or even fired for their crimes. So what would have happened if that had been you or me that had lied under oath during a trial?
But not to worry, the massive criminal acts in crime labs isn’t limited to the FBI. Houston Police Department from 2002 – 2011 suffered a long list of crime lab scandals as well. The HPD lab issues were described at first as “crime lab errors,” then “near-total breakdown.” The problems were numerous but the most serious were faked drug and DNA evidence from those charged with murder to rape to drug dealing.Then there is Massachusetts state crime lab massive scandal evidence in as many as 40,000 cases over 10 years. So you can see that the legal and law enforcement system is utterly plagued with criminals…on the inside carrying badges and providing evidence in convictions. All of it adding up to a completely unreliable system.
Three excellent books that document and clearly expose the law enforcement agency problems in the United States:
- A Government of Wolves by John W. Whitehead
- Police State U.S.A. by Sheryl K. Chumley
- Battlefield America by John W. Whitehead
All levels of law enforcement from the smallest town to the largest county, from state to the federal level, they have all become extremist in their brutal and anti-Constitutional treatment of citizens. It is from border to border and coast to coast. It is pervasive, it impact is devastating and the very Constitution is in jeopardy.
So how did it happen and how is continuing?
I take you back to the HRO principle of “reluctance to simplify” clearly sharing with you there is no single reason that it has happened. It is more of a myriad of reasons great and small. But you can chart it out via the Swiss Cheese model to understand the systemic failure better by seeing the visual representation. But before I do that let me share with you my idea on “outcomes” vs. “intent” philosophy.
Intent is what someone wants and hopes to happen as a result of their effort. Outcome is what really happens when the person is done with their actions. And when it comes to analyzing problems, risks, accidents or catastrophic events it is teh outcome that really matters.
Example: Sixteen year old boy receives his driver’s license. He borrows his dad’s Mustang and picks up his two friends. He intends to have a great night with his friends, driving around and having fun. Sounds normal and acceptable, yes? However, part way through the evening his friends egg him on to drive faster and fast since his dad’s car is made for speed. The young driver does so, hurtling down the Interstate at speeds of well over 120mph. While going this fast, a deer jumps out, the young drive makes a fatal attempt to serve to miss the deer and goes off the road and rolls over multiple times. His airbags, including the one in the steering wheel inflates and his head is severely banged up but his two friends are dead from their injuries.
His intentions were to have a nice fun night with his friends. His dad’s intentions were to treat his son to a fun night with his friends driving an awesome car. But the outcome is horrible wreck and he is now guilty of homicide having killed two people. But it doesn’t stop there. The parents of the two dead children file lawsuits in court and the driver’s family is decimated financially as well as emotionally. The fateful driver can no longer afford to go to college, nor his three brothers and sisters as well. The family is torn apart financially and emotionally from the fallout of the wreck.
So regardless of the intent, the outcome ruins multiple lives forever from what they were on-track to become. Same is true with everything in life. Remember the phrase “ripple effect?”
So, who is at fault for the wreck?
The newly licensed driver? His friends for prodding him to drive fast? His dad for trusting his inexperienced driver/son? The other friends parents for suing the driver’s parents? Or is it just a tragic accident?
FYI – The National Safety Council defines a preventable collision as one in which the driver failed to do everything that they reasonably could have done to avoid it. Tragic accident? Or, a long list of bad decisions all of which lined up to create a catastrophic outcome?
Back to the BPD and their culture of violence and brutality towards Baltimore citizens; and their disregard and disdain for the Constitution. It was obvious their conduct, culture, and decisions of street level officers, BPD leadership, as well as city and citizen leadership all allowed such the BPD culture to exist. But what about Freddie himself? If he hadn’t made eye contact with the police officers and/or hadn’t run from them he might still be alive today. While that is a highly suspect assumption we will go with it for now. So how did Freddie fail?
Well, we identified his last two failed decisions, but is there more. Yes, of course, logic dictates that there must be more. And there is, plenty more; Freddie had a long history of criminal conduct. But the BPD officers that were involved in the homicide of Freddie didn’t act in isolation and they didn’t come up with Freddie’s original conduct.So is Freddie responsible for his own death or are the BPD officers responsible for his death?
All the court records and investigative work done by the Baltimore Sun News shows that this culture of abuse of citizens was wide-spread throughout the department and obviously tolerated, maybe even encouraged, at all supervisory and leadership levels within the BPD. Just as that is true, the same is true of Freddie. Freddie Gray was not unique when it came to his criminal behavior or poor decision making.
- Poorly educated
- Unemployed or under employed
- Those that are employed are paid far less than the national or local average
- They will have criminal records
- Almost all come from single-parent families
- Almost all come from a family that is receiving some kind of government assistance (welfare)
What part of that recipe for disaster don’t we understand! Now don’t confuse my relating the “average” profile of a “generic” Freddie with a statement saying that young, black, inter-city, males can’t succeed. They can. And don’t think I am making some blanket statement excusing Freddie or any other young, black, inter-city, male of making terribly poor life choices. Ultimately we are all responsible for our own actions. But “trends” are reality, they are facts, they do speak the truth and they do explain part of “how” it is happening. Then it is up to us to research “why” it is happening. Let me take a stab at it.
Here are the latent causal factors to “Freddie” failing to succeed (in no particular order):
- Politics and politicians
- Public school system
- Economic policy
- Social state
Politics and politicians – As I have presented before in many posts and I believe proven beyond a shadow of a doubt, politicians are motivated by and interested in only two things, money and power. Whichever they have, they leverage it anyway they can to gain more of the other. And their only true desire is to acquire a lot of both. Simply look at our government today, any level of government. The various levels of government and the politicians exist to provide themselves as much power and money as they can possible acquire. And “service” or “benefit to their constituents” is a distant by-product of their actual intent. I will include “race-pimps” in this group as well; the likes of Sharpton, Jackson and others. Their only desire is self-serving, power and money. So no politician and level of government is going to save “Freddie.” Why? It makes no sense to them to do so. All you have to do is look at the outcomes of politicians and politics:
- Since the War of Poverty began poverty has actually grown far worse, the middle class is rapidly disappearing and the income gap is widening. The War on Poverty is an utter failure by any objective measure or metric.
- Any and ALL other government programs enacted by politicians to combat poverty or in any real way to help “Freddie” have all failed; and failed on an epic scale. Food stamps, housing assistance, welfare and every other program has failed miserably. How so? Just look at the exponentially increasing number of people depending on those programs to simply survive. All have failed or the numbers dependent on those programs would be decreasing.
- Take a look at all the major cities where poverty is the worst, where “Freddie” is the most unemployed, the most uneducated, the most in poverty, and the most personally devastated by crime and drugs. They are all run by liberals, Democrats or Progressives. Their politics, policies, programs and their politicians all have failed the “outcome” test.
Politics and politicians have failed “Freddie” for well over 100 years.
Public school system – As all the statistics clearly show, the public education system in the United States is an utter failure and getting worse. It is almost as if students are succeeding in spite of the education system. The teachers are run by Communist/Socialist self-serving unions. The school districts are run by politicians that are far left extremists that do not believe in a Constitutional Republic, and teach students the same. An overwhelming number of parents are apathetic at best when it comes to how their children are doing when it comes to learning. You have “lunch Nazis” dictating what parents can feed their children. You have a legal system that forces children to attend school. You have “home school” families that are in jeopardy of losing that freedom because they challenge the teachers’ union lock on education. You have an educational system that no longer teaches the most basic of civics and students are losing all sense of history and Constitutional knowledge. And the same system passes on students to the next grade and even graduate from high school them when many of those same students can barely read or write. You have huge amounts of money being spent by school districts and politicians on students. And those tax-funded amounts go up each year. However, at the same time we see student performance gets worse and worse as each year goes by. And worst of all, you have an educational system that doesn’t require and doesn’t teach discipline or respect. And this is exponentially true in the inner-cities.
The public education system failed “Freddie.”
Economic policy – Once again, the statistics and facts all show that our Federal Reserve and federal government directed economic policies are an utter and undeniable failure. For decades we have entered into trade deals that moved millions upon millions of middle-class jobs overseas. And both political parties gladly and willingly participated in that effort. At every turn we bailed out banks, investment bankers and insurance companies. Allowing crime-committing management and owners to walk away from their failures richer than ever while the American taxpayer has paid the bill. We currently have a President who without regard for law, and in direct violation of the Constitution, moved 10’s of billions of dollars from legitimate corporate bond owners to his crony union thugs. And if that wasn’t enough he also gave the union leadership huge percentages of company stocks without the unions paying a single dime. All the while legal stock owners where robed of their ownership rights without any “due process.” And when they complained in the media, the President himself openly threatened them to back off and accept their financial losses. In one statistical fact alone it shows where the system has failed, that is the income gap and loss of household income. The average household income in American is plummeting and it is at the hands of our politicians making policy that directly hurts each and every American with the exception of the richest 10%. The richest segment of Americans is seeing their wealth grow at a staggering pace. And which class are the politicians found, the 90% or the richest 10%? More people than ever in the history of our country are on food stamps. More people than ever in the history of our country are receiving government housing assistance. More people than ever in the history of our country are on Social Security disability. Over half of the country is receiving some form of government welfare. Over half the citizens in America pay no federal income tax.
Our country’s economic policies failed “Freddie.”
Social state – Never in the history of our country has society been in this pathetic of shape as we find ourselves in today. Every possible statistic shows that the quality of life in America is plummeting. Our society idolizes gangster rappers, professional athletes, and movie stars. All the while there is a growing persecution of Christians. Society loves to watch an NFL football game or Dancing With The Stars, but they can’t identify their own Congressmen, the Vice-President or understand even the most basic tenants of the Constitution. We legalize drugs while outlawing Christmas celebrations. We praise those that kill millions of unborn babies each year, while forcing Christians to violate their core faith-based principles. The list goes on and on with the problems that face society, and those problems are simply getting worse and worse by the day. Single mothers now give birth to more than half of all children born in the US. All the while every single statistic in existence shows that single-parent homes create the worst problems for their children. And that includes substance abuse, violence, gang membership, criminal behavior and prison incarceration. Every single Liberal and Progressive social policy has failed, there is not a single example of their success.
Society utterly failed “Freddie.”
Police – Law enforcement agencies have become militarized. They conduct military tactics on civilians. Cops kill at will and most of the time with impunity. Police unions are strong and demand rights for cops that the average citizen can’t even dream of. Police now use military armored vehicles against unarmed civilians. Police agencies have acquired military hardware such as machine guns and grenade launchers to use against civilians who are most often unarmed. Police no longer honor the Constitution by performing “no-knock” raids at will as well as a long list of other tactics. They kill unarmed citizens, kill people’s pets for no reason, and even mutilate infants in their cribs during such illegal raids with absolute impunity. People are subjected to the most unthinkable and unconstitutional acts at the hands of police and yet the only thing that changes is the fact that it gets worse and worse each and every day. We see corruption at every level of law enforcement with the worst of it at the federal level. We see ourselves solidly in a fascist police state with no hope of turning it around.
The police have utterly failed “Freddie” even to the point of his death.
Family – Families are becoming extinct and being replaced with “relationships.” Every single statistic shows that children raised in a home with a female mother and a male father fair far better at life in every single statistical category than those who are not raised as such. These facts and statistics are undeniably true. Yet, society, politicians and government are doing everything they possibly can to continue to destroy the family.
The breakdown and disintegration of the family failed “Freddie.”
I hope I have made the case clear enough that people like Freddie Gray, and millions upon millions more just like him never had much of a chance to begin with. Virtually every aspect of society today is designed to make people fail. And the weakest, most needful, among us are failed the most.
Could Freddie have made better choices? Of course he could. Could he have pulled himself out of the conditions he was living his life in? Of course he could. And the odds are so stacked against him that he could have just as likely won the lottery. So many “Freddies” never have a legitimate chance in life because everyone and everything has failed them, including themselves.
How does this apply back to “prepping” in any way? Simple really, you have to be able to truly analyze a problem, really get into the root causes and go beyond the “last bad decision” to understand what is happening. Until you do you will not have good situational awareness. You will be working from false or mis-directed information that you yourself developed and put into your own head. You will blindly accept what the media and “experts” spew into your mind as absolute truth. And then you too will fail…along with your family.
And finally, you need to wake up to the utterly awful condition that America is in right now. And in my opinion, cannot recover from. And when the day comes that the riots don’t stop, that the curfew becomes martial law, and the police are arresting you, your family and your friends don’t say I didn’t warn you. And with this warning you can now have even more motivation to prepare, prepare for when the grid goes down. And the grid will go down.
Or, conversely, you can ignore everything I’ve said. Stack it up to a raving lunatic that makes so sense at all. A person that doesn’t use facts or statistics making my information and my case empty of value.
But you don’t have to fail, I have shared with you some of the ways you can “dig” into any situation and figure out what the real story is, where the real fault lies, and then you can competently decide on how to correctly deal with it.
Don’t allow yourself to suffer from Normalcy Bias.
Don’t accept simple reasoning for accidents, adverse or catastrophic events.
And remember you can make the difference in preventing a catastrophic event. Be that piece of Swiss cheese that doesn’t have line up the failure hole with every other piece of Swiss cheese.
You can and will succeed!
¹ Wednesday May 22, 2013 – John Raoux / AP (NBC News)
² Monday, December 29, 2014 – Curtis Kruger (Tampa Bay Times)
³ August 18, 2011 (HOUSTON CHRONICLE) & September 20, 2012 – Tovia Smith (NPR)
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