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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Ignorance 

One of the most dangerous positions to be in as a PR practitioner is ignorance -- not knowing the facts of a case.  I was reminded of this during discussions of the Newtown shootings and the slaughter of women and children.   My strong feelings and opinions are shallow and at best, incomplete.  I had let emotion carry the day instead of examining issues.  Whenever one speaks from feeling before thinking, he puts himself in a situation where he might have to backtrack or hew to ideas that are increasingly untenable.  

Many are venting grief and rage over the deaths and calling for something to be done.  The problem is what.  How does one thread law and interest groups to arrive at a satisfactory solution?  How does one stake a public stance that has a viable chance of happening?  It's easy to garner headlines through outrageous propositions.  It is harder to engage issues with the intent of meaningful action.  There are several factors in Newtown that need to be examined -- the type of weapon, the mental condition of the shooter, the realistic ability of government and law enforcement to restrict the flow of certain arms, ammunition and magazines, the capability of the health community to identify and isolate those likely to engage in slaughter, the attitude of communities and citizens about weapons and their use for protection, recreation and hunting.  There is more, and mastery of the issues takes time and discipline.  We are likely to get a law but chances are the legislation will be a band-aid on a problem that requires a multidisciplinary solution.  That will happen because lawmakers also are acting on emotion.

Comments:
For a good example of speaking only when the facts are clear, watch the news conferences held by Lt. J. Paul Vance of the Connecticut State Police. He was very professional in handling the media and in only speaking when he had complete information. And impressive performance. Read more about it here: http://goo.gl/SeucP
 

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