Friday, July 25, 2008

The Toxic Cop

Have you ever had to experience the toxic co-worker? You know, the one who is chronically sour, rude or hostile. It’s an unpleasant affair. But, what if that person is an active duty police officer? Now you have a malcontent with a gun. First this from psychotherapist Dr. Barton Goldsmith:

When you have toxic people around you, it's hard to feel good about life. They tend to wear you out with their negative actions and words. Judith Orloff, M.D., author of "Positive Energy," describes them as "energy vampires." The term makes sense, since toxic people can suck the life out of you. 1

A toxic person in the home is disastrous, but what if the person is a co-worker?

Dealing with toxic energy at work is almost as bad. You may find yourself taking on more than your fair share, just to keep away from someone else's negativity or to avoid being emotionally beaten up. Sometimes, it seems, all you can do is keep a low profile and dream of retirement. If it's causing you to feel physically ill, you may want to consider looking at other options. 1

Hmmmm, sounds like a hostile work environment.

In my schizoid world, I have one foot in the touchy-feely world of massage and energy, and the other foot in the touch-phobic, testosterone laden law enforcement world. That means that half of my professional world does not comport with the other half.

I can tell you from personal experience that negative energy is a real phenomenon. People exude negative energy even when not manifesting other overt symptoms.

There were times, when I first became a massage therapist, in which I failed to properly ground myself energetically. The end result was that I sometimes ended the giving of a massage session feeling as if I had been run over by a train. Once while working on a client, my forearms physically burned as if a flame had been applied to them. The burning sensation immediately vanished when the lady left my table. But, I remained a mess until I got some energetic cleansing the next day. One of my energy therapists said, “Boy, someone dumped a load on you.” That’s just a little too weird, don’t you think?

OK, so I bet that most everyone has experienced the malevolence of a co-worker. There was this character that I considered my nemesis. It got so that I would mutter a swearword under my breath every time I saw the grouch. That is, I did it until I realized that by doing so I was giving him the power to make me miserable. I then changed my mental imaging and refused to reinforce the negativity. Instead, I forced myself to be pleasant and to cheerfully greet him. I think it drove him nuts, and it made me feel better. I will admit, however, that I was happy to see him retire. No loss there.

When you deal with toxic people on a regular basis, you have to find the inner strength to cope. It can help to understand that you don't have to sink to someone else's level or leave town to make things better. Simply committing to yourself that you won't let someone else disturb your internal calm can work wonders. 1

My former co-worker, Mr. Grouch, didn’t appear to have the potential to go “postal.” That’s not always the case. I know of another person, an armed police officer, who is thought to be “psycho” by his law enforcement co-workers. He is described: as visibly hostile; exudes negative energy; has an explosive temper; holds grudges; is confrontational; and has the confidence of self-righteousness. This guy appears to be taking toxic to a potentially lethal level.

“There are those who get ulcers and those who give ulcers.” That’s a psychiatrist’s generalization according to Dr. Steven Marmer on Dennis Prager’s 7/25/08 radio show. According to Marmer, a member of the clinical faculty at the UCLA School of Psychiatry and a psychiatrist in private practice in Brentwood, CA., “The person with the most demons is the one giving the ulcers.”

To combat negative energy, Goldsmith recommends:

It also helps to keep some physical distance. A good rule of thumb is to maintain at least 3 feet of space between you and the offending party. The physically closer you are to toxic energy, the easier it is to be affected by it. 1
Three feet? I wouldn’t want to be within thirty feet of the “psycho.” And, I wouldn’t want him at my back either since I would be more fearful of flying lead than negative energy.

Workplace violence is not a comfortable thought. When a co-worker, who is hated by the ulcer giver, mentioned that while in the office he is keeping his gun close-at-hand, that told me something. Forewarned is forearmed.

Link in this Blog:

1. Dealing with toxic energy

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Walter Williams Echoes Shelby Steele-Liberal Policies are Racist

Shelby Steele correctly argues that racism is well and active in the United States. Only, he is arguing that the racism is predominantly institutional and not personal. Steele contends that it is the condescending liberal agenda to “help” blacks that is racist at its core for the underlying assumption that blacks can’t make it on their own without the help of liberals.

Walter Williams echoed that position in his recent piece, Black Education.

…the welfare state has done what Jim Crow, gross discrimination and poverty could not have done. It has contributed to the breakdown of the black family structure and has helped establish a set of values alien to traditional values of high moral standards, hard work and achievement. 1

Two serious black thinkers are pointing their fingers at liberal policies. Take heed, the lower socioeconomic portion of the black community is destructing and no amount of well-intentioned “racist” policies will correct the situation. But, they can certainly continue the plight and exaggerate it.

Link in this Blog:

1. Black Education

Saturday, July 5, 2008

My 4th of July, Actors and a Real Hero

It is 8:30 PM on the Fourth of July, 2008. Sundown, and the community fireworks have not yet begun. I am writing this blog while listening to a CD by the Los Angeles Police Concert Band. I had the pleasure of hearing the band live today at the Ronald Reagan Library. What a treat.

Fourth of July; A very good time to visit the library of one of our greatest Presidents; A President who furthered freedom like no other in the latter 20th Century.

There are several things to say about today. I’ll address the events chronologically.

The Library’s Fourth of July festivities began at 10 AM, and we, my wife and 5-year-old granddaughter, were there as the doors opened. What a marvelous family event. Kids games: three legged race; sack race; candy scramble; egg toss and water balloon toss. Kids crafts: necklaces; bracelets; fans; visors; and wind chimes. Patriotic bingo. Face painting, and balloon animals. There were speeches by actors depicting George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. Music. Oh, what music! A Karaoke duo. A western band. And, the LAPD band. Did I mention Jumpies? Yes, two of them. Free watermelon and birthday cake. Plenty of food for purchase. Flags! Free American flags! All in all a fantastic holiday fest in the finest American tradition.

I was really treasuring my family time free of the responsibilities of a professional Sheepdog. You may recall my angst in my previous blog, “Damn It Lt. Colonel.”

Damn it, Dave! You’ve invoked the preciousness of my grandchildren and spoken the truth, as I know it must be. There is no relief from the burden!1.

What is the burden? Carrying a firearm everywhere you go on and off duty.

OK, so here we were at the Ronald Reagan Library. It is summer; Shorts, sandals and a polo shirt. I left my piece, the 45 caliber semiautomatic pistol that is my constant companion, in the car. We are in the festivities, and I’m now looking over the happy, celebrant crowd. I don’t see anyone that I make for a police officer. There is Library security people about, but no cops. Suddenly, Lt. Col. Dave Grossman’s words pop into my mind.

Everyone needs down time. But if you are authorized to carry a weapon, and you walk outside without it, just take a deep breath, and say this to yourself... “Baa.” 2

Back I go to my car, and I am strapped for the rest of the day. That simple act heightened my Sheepdog senses, and I was on the alert.

Sniffing the breeze, pissing on the trees: being the sheepdog. 3

It’s my fate in life. It’s my burden. It’s the least that I can do while my brother and sister warriors are patrolling the streets of America and foreign lands while I enjoy the day with my family.

I mentioned earlier that there were actors depicting the great American Presidents George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. But, what most people never learned was that there was a real live American hero present at the library. He was performing his duties as a Library docent. Even one of the other docents did not know the legacy of this man. Who was he? He is none other than Col. Clyde B. East. One of the most decorated military men of all time.

Lt. Col. Clyde B. East is one of the most decorated military veterans that this country has ever had the privilege of calling him their own. He flew in WWII, Korea, SE Asia and the Cuban missile crisis. 4

Col. East was assisting in the bingo room. I walked up to him, addressed him by his name, shook his hand and wished him a happy Fourth of July. As is his unassuming nature, he thanked me and we parted company. I hope that he understood my respect and the honor it was for me to shake his hand again. I did it once previously. Read about it in my earlier blog, “Col. East & Pres. Reagan’s Missed Opportunity.”

So, off I go enjoying the day. I’m being watchful and sniffing around. Mind you, I’m not pissing on any trees. Somewhere around 2 PM, I spot a Muslim family disembarking from a shuttle bus in front of the Library; an adult male and female and two young children, one a female about 8 years old. They aren’t hard to spot. The woman is wearing a hijab.

In contrast to the rest of the Library guests, the adult Muslims are wearing hard expressions upon their faces. The children are just children and look just like their age contemporaries. The family made directly for a table where they receive several small American flags. Then without out entering the Library courtyard, where the LAPD band is playing and leading to the event activities, the family joined a line for a children’s jumpie. They remain in the line for a few minutes and then leave the line without the children having the opportunity of enjoying the jumpie. The family proceeded directly to and joined a waiting line to catch a shuttle bus leaving the event. They were on-site less than 15 minutes.

This Muslim affair could be absolutely nothing. But, to a Sheepdog this is a possible pre-incident indicator for a terrorist attack. This could have either been a surveillance operation or a dry-run.

What’s a Sheepdog to do in such a situation? I notified the head of the Library security of my observations. I was gratified to subsequently observe that the Library raised its level of security deployment.

Our day at the Library ended. I had a marvelous time with my family. And, I treasure my moment with Col. East. Still, there is a cloud on the horizon my friends. I am not comfortable with the actions of the Muslim family.

With due respect to the legacy of Col. East, it is time for the rest of us to stand up for America and do our individual parts for the freedom that she represents.

Thanks Dave for keeping my nose to the grindstone. If my grandchildren were old enough to understand, I hope that they would thank you as well.

Uu-ah Sheepdogs! In the words of LTC Grossman, “Hunt the Wolf!”

Citations & Links in this Blog:
1. Damn It Lt. Colonel

2. On Combat, Lt. Col. Dave Grossman with Loren W. Christensen, PPCT Research Publications, 2007, 2nd edition, pg 186

3. Ibid pg 141

4. Col. East & Pres. Reagan’s Missed Opportunity