Getting creative with meaning of 'security'

Sunday, January 1, 2006

Though I haven't been at it long, so far the best part of this job is talking to guys like system integrator Jim Morris, of American Detection. As will probably become perfectly clear after a read through my story "Protecting American History," Jim Morris is the type of guy who has people lining up to say nice things about him. When he gets a hold of a security job, he doesn't try to squeeze every last penny out of it. Rather, he asks, "What's your day like?" He asks, "Who do you care about?" Most importantly, he asks, "How can I help you?" Then he makes people feel more secure in their everyday lives.
This is where the security industry is at its best. Rather than playing upon people's fears, as so many outsiders might cynically surmise, it can often feed into people's hopes and dreams. Rather than lead us down the path to 1984's "Big Brother," as critics of the security industry might accuse, it can instead make people feel more liberated than ever before.
The member of Morris's community who suffered from Prader-Willi Syndrome wanted simply to live an independent life, to be unencumbered by the watchful eyes of institutional living, so Morris designed a way to make the man safe not from those who would break and enter, but safe from himself. Morris rigged the cupboards and front door to keep him from literally eating himself to death.
That's creative thinking in the pursuit of life safety.
Then there's Matt Forir, who found himself the oldest cave in North America, chock full of more fossils than could be uncovered in a hundred years, and needed someone to keep it safe. Morris was the first to think of keeping Forir safe, instead of just the artifacts. In the first days of the cave's exploration, Forir was frequently in the half-mile-deep cave by himself. Morris designed a system that included a panic button, so that help could be called for from deep under the ground. Forir would later affectionately say the system felt like a "big brother."
That's creative thinking in the pursuit of life safety.
With "security" becoming an empty buzzword of the global business community akin to the "quality" of the 1990s, it's heartening to read stories about people who are simply focused on keeping people safe.