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WELL Beyond the Tucson Shootings

Posted by Jay Schimke on January 15, 2011 at 11:50 AM

I emailed the following to President Obama on 1/11/11:


President Obama,


I'm an Arizona-residing professional (see link below), dual brain surgery survivor with a passion and skills for helping others to comfortably lead their lives in connected elemental ways.



I wrote the document below today in response to the Tucson shootings; and will share this with Behavioral Health Therapist colleagues at a meeting in the morning.



With all the reactions flowing at present, perhaps some of the points I've made in this attachment might be of use or value to you now as well.



This recent tragedy may ironically position our citizens to embrace a collective passion with matching actions -- to more fully embrace life & also others -- and assist others who are less committed to this, to do so as well. This is critical now, as you well know.



Perhaps this is the opportunity to positively leverage the human spirit that you've been seeking. It appears we must & can transition now ...... from reactive, illness-anchored solutions to a collective, proactive, wellness-targeted response.

(What I'm offering is also consistent with the integrated health care delivery model.)



Feel free to use what fits for you.

(My recent 'Live Well ...' video -- via the link below -- may also be of interest or personal support for you now as well.)



I hope you receive this -- and discover something you can use -- for yourself, others, or all.



Thank you for your example,




Jay Schimke

Leadership Consultant / Wellness Therapist




Well Beyond The Tucson Shootings:

Addressing the ‘Danger To Others’ Risk:

Wellness-Targeted Care -- Thoughts for Colleagues & Others


From Jay Schimke

Background --

1) The recent shootings in Tucson have prompted increased safety concerns among our top elected officials; and this is being amplified by the media.

2) This adds to the already-growing personal safety concern among the general population, and among our clients as well (prompted by a continuing adverse & uncertain economic climate).

3) We can help to reduce unrest and promote safety by attending to this with wellness-targeted compassionate care. My initial suggestions are offered below, following related critical information. I’m also open to more & other ideas.


Emerging Social Scenario –


Although it appears likely that the Tucson attack may again eventually be at least partially dismissed as ‘another isolated incident by a deranged person’, the fact that this has touched the ‘working family’ of our national political leaders means that their own sense of personal safety has likely been shaken. Thus, more momentum will likely exist to strengthen the perception that beyond isolated incidents, ‘growing divisiveness and alienation’ seems to be prompting aggressive, life-endangering and life-ending actions that hint of possible trends that may dangerously test our overall social fabric as well.


What Can Be Done --

All is certainly not lost; yet responding with denial or panic are now ineffective action choices. There are distinct actions we can take to 1) reduce escalation of perceived and real danger, 2) build a shared ‘spirit of life-preserving cooperation’ (or tolerance), and 3) promote mutual personal safety and social comfort.


A brief review of ‘the risk of doing nothing’ may help to a) prompt and b) direct our actions: Left unchecked, the perception of reduced personal safety naturally leads to the growth of fear and an accompanying sense of insecurity. Increased insecurity provides a natural context for growing paranoia …

The combination of fear & paranoia can leave individuals and groups more inclined to seek to 1) protect themselves, 2) isolate from others, and/or 3) display defensive or aggressive actions.


‘Danger to Others’ – Indicators --

While no foolproof means exist to identify and prevent defensive and aggressive life-endangering actions by others, certain distinct indicators do exist that point to increased risk for such undesired action. Knowing of these indicators positions us to better address the conditions from which ‘Danger to Others’ actions emerge. These indicators include:


 Isolating activity

 Threats (verbal, written, or behavioral)

 Weapons Addition and/or Preparation for Use (when accompanied with expressions of likely   intent for illegal use against others)

 Escalating hostility (verbal, written, or behavioral)


Existing Options to Address ‘Danger to Others’ Actions –

Legal options exist and have been attempted to a) control individual access to resources, b) limit the ability to take life-threatening action, and c) punish those who attempt or succeed at harming or taking the lives of others. More focus on these choices will likely continue.



Beyond Treating ‘Illness’ After Incidents Occur:

The Therapeutic Approach to Reduce the ‘Danger to Others’ Risk (Proactive, Compassionate, Life-Advocating, ‘Wellness’ Alternatives) –

Pure & simple: More controls and extra punishment will not cure an escalating illness. Those who are attempting life-ending actions are often doing so because they have arrived at a point where this actually seems to them to be their best available option at the time. The undesired consequences of their actions extend beyond their lives, to the lives of others. Prior preventative steps are life-critical.


We’re finally realizing that labeling any and all such persons as ‘mentally ill’ seems to be doing little to cure the growing ‘illness’. And divisiveness, polarization, and economic stress have positioned many otherwise ‘normal’ people near their wits end … to much closer to ‘losing it’. Waiting for them to ‘do something crazy’, and then brand them as ‘crazy people’ clearly is no solution.


Since this ‘illness’ often becomes known only after precious lives have ended, simply ‘treating the illness’ will never end this problem. The time and the opportunity to do more has finally become clear: To reduce future loss of life, we must effectively target, produce, and maintain something larger than ‘illness’.

Our individual & collective ‘wellness’ is what’s at risk now.



Just as we are coming to realize that, without our care & attention, our planet may not always continue to support life as a whole, we’re beginning to realize that, without care & attention, our residents may not always continue to support life as well. ‘Wellness’ must be our #1 priority now … as this is most critical to our survival … for us individually and as a whole.


‘Producing & maintaining wellness’ must become practical, actionable, real & effective. An evolving discipline, the good news about ‘producing & maintaining wellness’ is 1) we’re in this together, 2) we’re all amateurs at this, 3) all can participate, and 4) we have the opportunity to jointly & mutually add satisfying life-supportive and life-promoting results – for ourselves, individually & collectively.


Fortunately, we can do this. The people we need to do this already exist.

Overall, beyond our diversity & differences, for ‘wellness’ to happen,

we must serve as ‘advocates for life’.

Pure & simple, this means to individually & collectively take action

to support the life of our citizens & residents …



Our Primary Challenge is to:

1) Include others in establishing and nurturing a joint commitment and matching actions to support human life;


and, beyond this … to


2) Respect and honor individual choice within limits of existing law.



Initial Ideas to Make This Happen:

What Therapists & Care Providers Can Do –

* Adopt & use interactive ‘wellness-targeted actions’ to a) engage clients and b) regularly assess & verify client’s life-supporting intentions.


* Provide ongoing therapeutic support to clients who are struggling to build or maintain life-supportive actions (see list of ‘Danger to Others’ Indicators).


* Refer as appropriate when a) additional support is needed, or b) duty to warn is indicated.




What We All Can Do – 


* Provide support to people who are struggling to build or maintain life-supportive actions.



* Pay special attention to those displaying several ‘Danger to Others’ Indicators; and refer them to others who can assist & provide help, when and as needed.



Jay Schimke

Leadership Consultant / Wellness Therapist




Categories: 'OG' Blog (Thoughts & Ideas)

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