Political Correctness May Have You in the “Crosshairs”

            Every time there is some tragedy, some disaster it is natural to want to try and find the cause so we can make sure the same thing never happens again.  It makes perfect sense to review and debrief the incident and take appropriate steps to correct or fix whatever may have led to the tragedy. 
However, all too often, instead of reasonable review, we see a bevy of knee jerk reactions.  The quick impulse ‘fixes’ or ‘causes’ that some people jump on right away, perhaps for no other reason than to feel like they are doing something, whether it is the best approach or not.
Politicians are probably the best example of this.  Whenever a tragedy happens, before all the facts are in, there are already new bills and laws being proposed.  In most cases there are already laws in place that were ignored or broken.  The classic example is a shooting spree, where a killer goes on a rampage and murders several people, not even necessarily people they know.  New laws, such as more gun control bills, ignore the fact that usually several laws, including murder were already ignored by the criminal.
Unfortunately, sometimes the knee-jerk reactions are not just a waste of time, or a chance to show to voters that the politician is doing something, anything, to fix the problem.  Sometimes the responses are unenforceable and useless and sometimes just plain silly.  But there are times that these quick fixes can actually be risky and cause more harm than good.
In Arizona, we have the recent shooting deaths of six innocent people and many others, including a congresswoman, injured.  Sadly, the responses have included the usual knee-jerk reactions, including passing a law that limits anyone coming within a 1000 feet of a politician with a firearm, something impossible to enforce and equally impossible in many situations for a person to even know they were in violation. 
The worst though is the political correctness gone wild – to the point of being dangerous and life-threatening.
How?  The blame has quickly shifted away from the true perpetrator (Quick – can you remember his name?) to any high-profile individuals who may have used ‘violent’ words such as crosshairs or target in political analysis (I bet you can name one or two people in this category almost instantly).  This attack on rhetoric has become so bad, that last week on CNN, a reporter apologized for a guest using the term “crosshairs” on the air.
Demonizing terms such as crosshairs, target, war room, etc and using that as an excuse to justify some criminal’s act of violence is not just political correctness gone wild or downright absurd, but could get more people killed in the long run.  If this is the measure used to conduct a threat assessment, then that only gives us a faulty model on which to gauge risks.
This is a red herring that detracts from the real motivation behind the attacks and shifts the focus to more of a word police mentality in case someone gets a violent idea and acts on it because a political contributor on TV used the word ‘target’.  Never mind the ideas that they may get watching CSI – Anytown, USA. 
If we are going to truly follow through on cleaning violent language out of our vernacular, then we have a lot of work to do.  There have been countless books, including business books, built around the idea of Sun Tzu’s Art of War.  Any related titles must come off the shelves immediately.
But don’t stop there.  What about the business conferences filled with violent and military language?  No one can talk about their strategy or strategic plan anymore; that is based on military strategy going back to Napoleon’s time.  SWOT analyses are out; an obvious connection to police SWAT teams and even uses the terms threats, strengths and weaknesses.  Defending a product line, corporate takeover, target market, divisions, and stopping the competition dead are all examples of words and phrases that should go.  Gunning for the competition, attacking the industry, having a region in “our sites” are more phrases that will have to go.  Even the C-suite is not safe; the word chief after all could be seen as related to the military, as in commander-in-chief, and will have to be eliminated.
The point is that this kind of politically motivated bantering shifts the focus from the true threat to someone who is perfectly innocent.  When threat assessment teams in schools or in workplaces are trying to evaluate the level of risk from a threatening individual, the phrases and terms used everyday around this country will have no bearing on what response should be taken.  The assessment should focus on the what the suspect said, how he said it, what means does he or she have to carry out the threat, do they feel that they have the right or justification and no other recourse and is there a past history of violent behavior.  That is the where the true focus should be.
In the Arizona case, just like any similar violent act, the reviews and analysis should focus on how to identify the warning signs before anyone gets hurt and making sure that the right steps are taken.
As for the politicians sitting high on their grand politically correct soap boxes, ignore them and don’t fall to that type of peer pressure.  Go on talking like you normally do.  As usual, the rest of us will go about our business, doing the real work and living the real lives that make our country great.  And maybe even targeting some of those absurd political figures and putting them in the crosshairs at the next election.  Figuratively, of course.

1 comment:

  1. Great article. Another case in point: http://www.theblaze.com/stories/gun-hand-gesture-gets-oklahoma-1st-grader-suspended/

    Are we going to start banning hand gestures along with words too?