The Path of Most Resistance

Me and "Indiana" Curry in the Siq

I think you’ll like this second video from our Holy Land tour. This one is filmed at the Siq (narrow passage) leading to the ancient city of Petra. If you look closely on the left and right cliff walls you can see the aquaducts the Nabateans built to control flooding and provide water to the city.

Rushing water carved the siq as it winded it’s way following the path of least resistance. My former Chief of Staff, Barney Barnes, (every sheriff needs a Barney and I had mine…) was fond of saying, “Following the path of least resistance makes rivers, and men, crooked…”

Jack Enter, a colleague and powerful presenter in the arena of police ethics, says that the path of character and leadership is “the Path of Most Resistance.” I love that quote because it is such an accurate reflection of the conflicts and challenges you will have as an ethical leader. There will always be someone trying to take shots at you…!

Enjoy this video and stay tuned for the next one that was actually filmed in front of the Treasury in Petra. If you’ve never seen Petra before, you are in for a treat…

Me and our guide in the siq at Petra

Notice the aquaducts where the people are sitting

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First Video from the Holy Land — Dynamic of Strongholds

Shobak Castle, the first Crusader castle in the nation of Jordan, presented a great opportunity to talk about criminal strongholds. Our driver, Ashrf (pronounced Ashraff) from Jordan Beauty Tours took us off-road to a hill overlooking this site while we were on our way to Petra. The wind presented a bit of a challenge to the audio, so my faithful cameraman and travelling partner, Gary Curry, suggested we move off of the hill onto a ledge just below. It cut the wind noise some, but as you can hear, I still had to compete with it…

Just like the Crusaders of the early 12th century used Shobak as a base of operations to control the surrounding countryside, criminals will use a stronghold that they have created to invade surrounding neighborhoods and expand their territory (not to compare Crusaders with criminals, but you get the point). Just like playing chess on a giant chessboard, this is how criminals are gaining ground on us in America (and other countries) today.

The ineffectiveness of Reactive Policing can be illustrated by how we respond to crimes committed by criminals who venture out from the stronghold into other neighborhoods. We find ourselves rushing from call to call: go to a call, take a report – go to the next call, take a report – go to the next call, take a report… Interestingly, as we chase our tails in this endless cycle of reactivity, we start to measure our effectiveness not by what we did to solve the problem that generated the call, but by how long it took us to get there!

Criminal strongholds and the cycle of reactivity can only be broken by coactively attacking the Fear, Apathy, and Tolerance for crime that allows strongholds to exist. How do we do this? Through community relationships that are fueled by trust and powered by the character of police officers who are properly aligned under authority

Responsibility Has to Be Personal — Dave Ramsey

I’m back from the Holy Land and can’t wait to share some of my adventures. My luggage had such a good time that it decided to stay…! So, I can’t post any of the video blogs I made while I was there just yet because the cables to connect the video camera to the computer are in the bags…

But I had a pleasant surprise when I got back to Afghanistan. A dear friend of mine had sent me the book More Than Enough by Dave Ramsey, the popular financial guru. I’ve enjoyed listening to Dave on the radio for years but had never read any of his books. I was pleasantly surprised to find that this book is more about character than it is finances!

In one section entitled Responsibility Has to Be Personal, Dave has this to say:

Albert Schweitzer said it well: “Man must cease attributing his problems to his environment, and learn again to exercise his will, his personal responsibility.” Enough whining, I am sick of whining, whining by every special interest group, whining against our upbringing, whining against the mean old boss, whining against your pastor, whining about your spouse – especially if it’s an ex-spouse – just whining. Whining is a sign of a lack of character on your part. If you don’t like the way something is, do something about it. Finger-pointing, blame shifting and whining, while they appear to have merit, are not doing something. There is tremendous energy in positive activity and in providing a solution. That activity, while it may not solve the problem, moves you from being self-centered to being solution-centered. (emphasis added)

This principle is in keeping with the Dynamic of Restoration which identifies five progressive steps on the Path of Destruction. When someone steps out from under authority and develops anIndependent Spirit, the walls of hostility go up and they begin to deflect the truth by assigning blame. This leads to a Wounded Spirit where the person’s feelings get hurt so easily.

We see this all the time in law enforcement: “He got a new winter jacket and I didn’t get one…” “She got a new patrol car assigned and I was next in line for a new car…” “He got the promotion and everybody knows I should have been the one to get it…” And on and on and on. A Wounded Spirit can lead to bitterness, which is even more destructive.

We will explore these principles in more detail in future blogs. In the meantime, keep up the good character…!

Sheriff Ray

Fear, Apathy, and Tolerance for Crime – How to Attack a Criminal Stronghold

There are three things that must be present in a community for a criminal stronghold to exist: fear, apathy, and tolerance for crime. The criminal knows that if he can intimidate the citizens, he has a toehold in the stronghold. If he drives through the community and sees overgrown lots, graffiti, abandoned homes, broken-down cars, and litter everywhere, it sends a message that the community does not care about itself. And if the community tolerates crime, it will have crime. This is a fundamental truth. Interestingly, it will have just as much crime as it is willing to tolerate.

Coactive policing is about building a trust-based partnership with the community, and then applying the power of that relationship to attack the fear, apathy, and tolerance for crime that allows a criminal stronghold to exist.

Shoot me an email at ray@policedynamics.com and I will send you a report called CRASHing the Gates of the Stronghold that outlines a practical plan for coactively reducing crime in problem neighborhoods (but give me a few days because I’m about to leave for a vacation…).

“I leave this rule for others when I’m dead: Be always sure you’re right–then go ahead.” — Davy Crockett

A great quote by Col. Davy Crockett from his1834 autobiography: A Narrative of the Life of Davy Crockett. It demonstrates the character quality of Boldness that was so evident in Crockett’s life… and death.

Boldness v. fearfulness

Confidence that what I have to say or do is true,
right, and just