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There’s no need for paranoia, but an alert outlook could protect you and those you love.

By Vaughn Baker, President, Strategos International

These are uncertain times – even unprecedented for many of us. But with a cool head, we’ll get through them.

With that said, there are challenges.

Potential dangers
When we’re tested, we find out what’s inside. Sometimes we’re surprised at human kindness, generosity, and perseverance. But often it’s just the opposite. Many people are on edge about health, finances, loved ones and the general state of uncertainty.

    • What might be a minor inconvenience in better times can turn into a full-blown conflict during this pandemic. Impatience with stores’ supplies of household goods, long lines and business closures can elevate stress levels and the potential for strife.
    • In addition, sheltering in place puts household members together in close quarters for an unknown duration. This closeness comes with all the good and bad domestic life brings. Relationships that are already volatile can be further strained due to financial stress and other pressures.
    • People with mental health challenges may experience abnormal amounts of anxiety as routines and treatment are disrupted. This could lead to threats, violence or suicide.
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    • Although any of us are capable of any act given enough pressure, social isolation, and an absence of support from family, friends and our faith community.
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    • Finally – and I don’t want to overstate this – there could be potential complications from releasing thousands of prisoners nationwide. The reports I’ve seen haven’t mentioned furloughing murderers and rapists. This isn’t happening. Rather, local authorities are cutting loose low-level offenders, aged and sick inmates. This is an extreme measure and we don’t know what to expect. It could be fine, chaos or a bit of both.

How should we respond to all the above? Be alert. That simply means paying attention to your surroundings. Are people acting odd? If so, avoid them. If warranted, call the police. If you see something, say something.

But our awareness can also lead us to help people in need. Is someone in a personal crisis? Is her health failing? Is he contemplating suicide? Being observant of those around us can result in caring for those in need. We can only take action to help if we’re observant.

“We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations.” – Charles R. Swindoll

Many of us are busy caring for others – and I’m glad you are. Remember that we also need to take care of ourselves by getting sleep, exercising, and connecting (at a safe social distance) with friends and family. We’re no good to anyone else if we become a casualty.

At Strategos, we’re not public health experts. Our focus is on security. So please follow the advice of the CDC and others in terms of getting in proximity to others and avoiding contagion.

Lead with alertness, boldness, and compassion. Then we can look back on this time knowing we rose to the occasion.

    Vaughn Baker

Vaughn Baker is president of Strategos International, a Kansas City, Mo., -based firm that provides security training, consulting and executive protection services.

Baker has 20 years of experience in law enforcement including patrol, investigation, SWAT and special operations. He has trained thousands of school, health care, government, law enforcement and military personnel in security practices. Baker has also developed a specialized intruder response curriculum for schools and churches, including some of the nation’s leading training on behavior pattern recognition.