“I don’t want security on our campus! I don’t want the students to feel like they are living in some sort of prison; the campus should be free and have a culture of openness.”
As security consultants, we hear a version of this line time and again. Many people believe that security is synonymous with restriction, constrained liberty, and a kind of cold war police-state where students or workers scurry past menacing guards to get into work or school where they attempt to carve out a little place of happiness in a prison yard type environment.
Life shouldn’t be like that – nor should security make the good guys feel closed-in, restricted, deprived of liberty or in any way penalized for the crimes of an outside world.
Benjamin Franklin once said, “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”
Security and freedom are not mutually exclusive! They are synonyms not antonyms. If you think increased security equals less freedom – or sigh, “well we need more security these days, but it’s at a heavy cost…” then you will find yourself openly embracing security but privately resenting it – and that is neither freedom nor liberty.
Security, as we see it, is a firm foundation of freedom, protecting your right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Security should give ease of mind, confidence to enjoy your environment, it should relieve stress and worry allowing the natural qualities of peace, calm, joy and expression to come forth without having to be looking over your shoulder for an enemy.
In the mid-1800s in the United States there was a push westward across the continent. Intrepid settlers forged their way toward the Pacific with the promise of freedom and a new start. But these freedom-seekers often found themselves embattled by lawlessness, forced to spend much of their time and resources simply protecting themselves, their days spent watching the horizon carefully for the next danger. Slowly the law followed, the army set up forts, police forces were established and law abiding citizens found they could spend more time enjoying life and less time defending it.
Are things that different today? Lawlessness is more aggressive now, it infiltrates our neighborhoods, and seeks to frighten and terrorize families and children in our schools and homes. If such is the case, shouldn’t we hail improved security as a friend coming to our rescue? Like before, isn’t this the very thing that allows us to return to our sense of freedom?
The word security is defined as “the state of being protected or safe from harm” (Webster) and as “the state of being free from danger or threat” (Google). “Protected”. “Safe”. “Free”. This is what real security provides – the good guys should feel exalted as if a tremendous burden has been lifted – while the bad guys should be the ones feeling depressed and out of options.
As you consider security in your own life or at your place of work, try shifting your perspective from the notion that you are losing your freedom by implementing common sense security practices to security offering some freedom from fear, threat and danger, and providing you with a clear manifestation of your natural strength and your right to have a happy, whole and free life!
by Peter Crabbe, Chameleon Associates