April 6, 2009
It seems like there’s a fresh tragedy in the news every day now. Churches, community centers, homes, heck you’re not safe out on your front porch anymore. The scariest part of all this is that there seems to be no rhyme or reason behind these rampages.
One of the things I learned working in the mental heath field is that people have differing levels of what they are able to cope with and that people cope with stress in different ways. Now most of the population we worked with were not able to handle much stress at all and when they had an episode, they didn’t handle it very well.
What this means for the rest of us is that there is a population among us that have a low threshold for stress and when they surpass that threashold, they react with violence or self injury. While it is possible to increase coping skills so that you can cope with more stress and cope better with stress, it’s really up to an individual as to whether or not they will practice the skills needed to cope better with stress.
What this also means is that there is no agency other than you that can protect you life, family and property. Police officers can only react to calls about criminal behavior, they can’t be in all places at all times. It’s funny, as I was reading about the news about the shooting in Binghampton and people were grilling the police chief about the time it took to police to respond and whether they should have waited for backup or not.
In a way it’s a moot point. The police can’t respond quickly enough to stop that sort of thing. Plus with the political oversight officers endure, they cannot respond effectively to those sorts of situations. That’s not meant to disparage officers either. They do a tough job, but you can’t be everywhere at once.
So, in the end, each person is responsible for their own well being. By all means try to delay an attacker until help arrives, but don’t expect anyone to be there to save you from a situation. You must be prepared to save yourself. Many people take the time to learn combat skills and unarmed fighting skills and techniques both for men and women. Size isn’t always everything. Others may use tools like personal alarms, pepper spray, or stun guns to protect themselves. Most street cops I’ve talked to like the idea of a citizenry who defend themselves. All too often they have to deal with the aftermath of things like Binghampton.
So read and learn. You don’t have to take this lying down and live in fear. If there’s one sure way to beat the fear of the unknown, it’s to learn as much about it as you can. Then should you ever be in the right place at the wrong time, you’ll be that much more prepared to preserve your live and thelives of the innocents around you. One thing you can be sure of is that we’ll see more people afflicted with stress violence and incidents will increase in the future.