As coronavirus cases increase, some states and municipalities have begun to re-impose superfluous restrictions on citizens.
Over the Thanksgiving holiday, some cities placed controls on the number of people who could gather together. Other cities have shut down schools again, some have done away with indoor dining while limiting outdoor dining.
Many have mandatory mask mandates.
Far-left politicians have begun to re-issue stay-at-home orders with curfews for residents. Gov. Gavin Newsom, D-Calif., as one example, declared a10:00 p.m. curfew, but has threatened more "drastic" measures. Mayor Regina Romero, D-Tuscon, Ariz., proposed an 8:00 p.m. curfew for residents.
Former Vice President Joe Biden has danced around the subject of a national lockdown, despite input from an adviser. Lockdowns and curfews have proven to be detrimental to the economy, and are an infringement on the liberties of American citizens.
Not often discussed, however, is how damaging all of this is to our individual and collective mental health.
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In a nation that has always honored and cherished first responders, we now are witness to a compelling and disturbing twist. One group that seems to be missing from television ads or public media notoriety is our nation’s law enforcement community.
A recent television ad from the Ford Motor Company celebrated first responders that drive Ford vehicles by focusing totally on the fire department. While we certainly honor and respect our nation’s firefighters, the fact is, police departments are a major market for Ford.
The proof of this that Ford's vehicles can be seen in communities across America on patrol.
Firefighters, paramedics and yes, police officers are all acknowledged as first responders.
Yet, now it doesn't seem trendy, relevant, or even acceptable to show the same industry who lost 71 heroes in the burning twin towers on 9-11 as being worthy of our current praise and adoration.
There has been a definite shift since the George Floyd incident in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Interestingly, while there has been a wide paint brush to smear our nation’s law enforcement as bad and callous, we can't find one officer or law enforcement leader who supports the way officers acted in that situation.
Most law enforcement management will not justify poor decisions or training in policing.
America is at a crossroads.
Where do we go from here?
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Polls have closed, but in some states and locales, the ballot-counting continues.
2020 elections results are emerging, their numbers are being reported.
In an appreciable number of instances they're even being questioned — by pollsters, politicians, experts, academics, and other "talking heads."
Do their observations and comments inadvertently stoke and incite anger?
Meanwhile our nation's city administrations, inclusive of their law enforcement arms, are hoping for the best,while preparing for the worst.
America's law enforcement is readying itself for protests, civil unrest, riots, and looting.
Many agencies have made the decision to not allow officers to take the days off following the election — they're anxious over manpower.
Business and shops from Rodeo Drive to New York have boarded up their doors and windows.
The tangible fear of an impending, violent tantrum from children who just didn’t get their way is beyond real and is being felt nationally.
As officers prepare themselves tactically for days of potential unrest, unsung heroes are left worrying. The spouses and family members of law enforcement are often forgotten, but no less deserving of our gratitude. As their officer’s leave for shift on election night and the days after, memories from this past summer will re-emerge.
Such visions are inevitably filled with worry, fear, sadness, and anger
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Law enforcement has been through the ringer this year, both physically and psychologically.
A cycle of support, followed by increased tensions, then outright abuse, has taken place for decades. Law enforcement is the victim of both physical and mental abuse at the hands of American citizens, local politicians, and Washington, D.C. bureaucrats.
Following an officer-involved shooting in Philadelphia in which deadly use of force was likely warranted, over 30 officers were injured by rioters.
This "d****d if you do, "d****d if you don’t" mentality is actually only one typical characteristic of abuse.
In a cycle of abuse, there are three distinct phases:
First — tensions build, followed by an explosion, then a "honeymoon" period, before the cycle repeats itself.
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Dr. Kuhlman was asked to discuss recent law enforcement retirements and resignations during this period of political unrest. The full episode can be viewed online. Dr. Kuhlman is featured in the 31-minute mark.
Dr. Kuhlman and Charles Marino of Sentinel Security Solutions recently co-authored an op-Ed featured on Fox News.
How would you like to work in a job that is currently under physical, political, and budgetary attack? Or better yet, show up to work and be told not to do your job and face the threat of criminal charges, firing, or both for carrying out your duties?
Following the deaths of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd caused by police officers, this is the environment that law enforcement officers now find themselves in. It is the reality of working as a police officer in places like New York City, Seattle, Minneapolis and Portland, Ore.
Dr. Kuhlman spoke with Dave Knighter of the First Responders Wealth Network to talk about first responder stress and trauma, the stigma of mental health, and how officers and their agencies can better support mental health initiatives. Check it out!
It’s no secret that the Coronavirus pandemic has had an impact on first responders. Many agencies are becoming short-staffed due to responders contracting or being exposed to the virus, and families of responders are worrying and their loved ones venture to the front lines daily, putting themselves at risk. Responders have admitted to fears of contracting the virus, which has symptoms all over the board. Many police and sheriff agencies have had to make a number of adjustments, whether it be limiting response to traffic violations or issuing citations and warnings instead of making arrests for some charges. Individuals in specialized assignments are finding themselves on patrol for the first time in years. Fire and EMS, along with some law enforcement, have seen new policies around personal protective equipment (PPE) as well. Some responders have no idea what their assigned task or role will be until their shift starts. Both the psychological and administrative impacts can have an effect on mental health and morale. The stress is real.
You are not alone if this is how you feel about the last couple weeks:
By Katherine Kuhlman, PsyD
Yesterday, the FBI released a report on Lone Attacker Terrorism. The BAU examined 52 lone offender terrorist attacks between in 1972 and 2015, with the goal being to understand motivating factors, social networks, behavioral characteristics, and more. Lone Attacker Terrorism is really a subset of generalized targeted violence, the difference being that the motivation or injustice is based on ideology. The individuals that carried out these attacks did so outside of any ideological group.
You can read the whole report here.
10 Key Takeaways