When the frequency of an occurrence is drastically increased, the exposure is prolonged or when the magnitude and impact of an incident are quite significant, people impacted tend to adjust and become desensitized after a while.
It has a numbing impact, and right, wrong, or indifferent, we just get used to it. Maybe not at first, but then gradually.
With the increased frequency of occurrence of an event, people simply adjust their norms and accept it as a non-event regular part of life.
For example, one or two fire or traffic accident deaths here or there is non-news and won't raise an eyebrow anymore. Except for those who were immediately impacted, we brush it aside thinking this doesn't impact me; and we mosey along with our lives.
The recent natural disasters have shown that when the magnitude of the tragedy is quite significant and the loses are enormous, after the initial shock wears off in a week or two and the realities sink in, self-preservation and survival gradually become more dominant and replace the initial selfless and dedicated communal mode of operation.
We have a hierarchy of priorities, and the perceived threats are dealt with in that very order. That is only natural and humans, even as social species have evolved this way.
Of course sometimes the true extent of the immediate threat or the long-term impact and consequences are not quite clear. Such ambiguities could lead to lack of urgency and lower the threat further down the priority list. Interestingly enough, it is in those cases, where the perceived adverse immediate impacts of such threats seem miniscule and tolerable, that we downplay the probabilities and may even ignore the long-term impacts.
Yet, it is precisely then that we must be cognizant of the consequences of our decisions, and acknowledge the wisdom in the old saying "you reap the harvest that you sow."
It all boils down to a simple question, are you willing to live with the consequences of your decisions?
Well, that principle applies to our economics decisions also; or at least logically, it was supposed to. Although everyone is passing the buck, and none of the top policy and decision-makers are assuming any faults or responsibility at all for the current dire economic conditions, the fact remains the same that we are paying the price for their poor decisions made in the past.
And based on their track records, the corrective measures taken today will have their own consequences also. And we will reap the harvest of what they sow today, down the line, sometimes in the future.
The powerful perfect economic storm that has been pounding us for the past few years has taken many casualties across the land. Most Americans can attest to the crippling effect and the enormity of the adverse economic impacts of this prolonged global recession that has plagued our country.
While Wall Street seems to be bouncing back, the Main Street is still hurting. Across the land, the local economies are still weak, budgets are extremely tight, unemployment is quite high and jobs are rather scarce. This prolonged and severe economic recession has resulted in millions of jobs being lost. As a result, it is a "dog-eat-dog world" out there, where survival and self-preservation, are the main modes of operation.
All of us in the fire service, whether career, combination, or volunteer departments, are fighting to survive during these massive budget cuts. In all municipalities, we are competing with all the other departments and agencies for the same shrinking dollars and the much needed resources are scarce and infrequent to come about.
These days, when you look at the many fire service publications and websites, you read about the many brown outs, station closures, and firefighter layoffs that most fire departments across the country are facing. Unfortunately, there are too many of them.
And other than a quick glance, since most of us are grappling with similar situations in our own jurisdictions and fighting for our own survival, we might not even give it a second look.