Don’t lose yourself in the face of fear and violence
Don’t lose yourself in the face of fear and violence
21 DECEMBER 2016 8:46 AM

The world continues to see horrible acts of violence, in and out of warzones, but don’t let fear take over.

With only about a week and a half to go before New Year’s Eve, 2016 shows no sign of slowing down its pace of strange and, at times, disturbing events. This approach might sound familiar, but I promise this won’t be a reworking of my last column a few weeks ago.

Within hours of each other, the world witnessed two brazen acts of violence outside of warzones and other areas of direct conflicts. A man drove a truck into a Christmas market Monday evening (local time) in Berlin, killing 12 and wounding 48, in a possible terrorist attack. In a separate incident, an off-duty Turkish police officer angry over Russia’s involvement in Syria assassinated the Russian ambassador to Turkey at an art gallery in Ankara in front of a crowd including members of the media.

These attacks are tied (or at least likely tied) to violence of a much larger scale, namely the ongoing fighting in Syria and coalition forces battling against the Islamic State. Violence begets violence.

Imagine being a foreign traveler staying anywhere in Germany or Turkey right now. They have no idea what is going on or what will happen. They’re likely worried about more attacks in the coming days. Though hoteliers who live and work where these attacks have happened are scared as well, they should do what they can to help calm and reassure guests of their safety while staying on property.

It’s important to understand these events and learn from them to make your properties safer for employees and guests. While neither of these attacks happened at a hotel, there are potential lessons in security to learn from and incorporate.

Review emergency response plans with legal and security experts. Make sure you have strong relationships with local law enforcement agencies. Train your staff on how to be watchful for unusual behavior and how to respond in different situations. Consider running through mock scenarios or tabletop exercises.

Though this might be a difficult task, while taking on all of these security measures, don’t lose yourself to fear. Despite these highly publicized acts of violence, the world overall is a safer and less violent place now compared to any time in human history.

We see a lot of anger. Without even delving into current armed conflicts, we saw plenty of it at home during our recent presidential election. We divide ourselves and turn each other into opponents, losing sight of who we really are: people—people with generally similar hopes, dreams and fears. From a bird’s-eye view, it appears we have forgotten how to disagree without hating someone else for having a different position or perspective. We argue rather than discuss. It’s time to make a conscious effort to change this.

This doesn’t mean people can’t still work toward what’s important for them, even if it is the opposite of what another person wants. It just means we shouldn’t turn everyone into an enemy. Doing this requires a bit of empathy and compassion for everyone, including those with whom we disagree.

It can be a complicated process, certainly, but there’s a simple step to start it off. I leave you with the words of Atticus Finch: “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view … until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”

Please keep this in mind during your next disagreement. It might be a simplistic, or even naïve, take, but maybe, if everyone remembers this, we could avoid a path that leads to further hate and violence. Care to share some insight? Comment below, or you can reach me at and @HNN_Bryan.

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  • Daniel Lesser December 21, 2016 3:17 PM Reply

    Excellent piece Bryan! Congrats!

  • Daniel Lesser December 21, 2016 5:25 PM Reply

    Excellent piece Bryan! Congrats!

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