In my time as an aircrew member in the Air Force, the most valuable training I received is a course called Crew Resource Management, or CRM. The short version is “this is how you talk to people so that you probably don’t die.”
Put multiple humans together on an airplane (or a flight of single-seat aircraft working in conjunction) and communication becomes essential, vital to both mission success and safety.
In CRM, we learn the common causes of human error, the contributing factors in safety accidents and incidents, the price of breakdowns in communication, and the expensive cost in equipment and human lives when someone doesn’t take the time to listen to and recognize the importance of information that could avert disaster.
All too often, a jet slams into a mountain or wanders into an unsafe situation even despite the fact that people on board were aware of the problem and vocalized the impending danger. That’s the other side of this training—learning that you might be the one standing in the way of safety, ignoring the information that could keep your mission from failing or save your life.
We must be able to talk and get each other’s attention. We have to be able to focus everyone’s minds on the key bits of information that might mean life or death.
To that end, we learn key words and phrases that every aircrew member knows. “I am concerned about what we are doing right now. I feel unsafe because of this situation. I don’t have a clear picture of what is going on and where we are headed as a crew.”
The phrase to trump all others? “Knock it off.”
In a training environment, that means “Stop playing whatever game or exercise we’re doing, everybody shut up a minute, and let’s make sure we’re doing the right thing.”
When a crisis develops, it means “everybody, cease all the distractions and focus on the critical situation taking place right now.”
One might think that the training solves all our problems, but that’s not the case. Despite every aircrew member receiving the same recurring briefings and classes, some people still don’t get it and drop the ball when a moment of miscommunication arises.
I’ve said all these terms to an aircraft commander on behalf of a dozen peers in the back end of the jet, in conjunction with support and agreement from other officers onboard, only to watch the guy in charge ignore what’s an ingrained response. Sometimes we get stubbornly convinced of how right we are and nothing can dissuade us, no matter how many people say it, no matter how they put it into words.
CRM and Knock-It-Off are designed to help us see those weaknesses, but they can’t fix everything.
This morning I read headlines about George H. W. Bush and some of his negative thoughts on President Trump’s performance. Apparently, George W. Bush has also expressed some disapproval about this administration’s performance.
Judging by the comments section, both the Bushes are traitors, or political hacks, or so arrogant as to presume that the Oval Office was owed to one of their family members. It’s an all-too-familiar turning upon and tearing apart a member of the pack when they go against the grain.
I used to be amazed watching conservatives eat their own—shifting from “they’re awesome” to vilifying and condemning as traitors anyone that didn’t support the party’s pet issue or candidate.
No one is safe from this shifting allegiance. Go against the accepted view, and you’re a RINO, you’re the swamp, you’re bleeding from your whatever, you’re a hack, you’re a liberal in disguise, you’re finally revealing your true colors and you should have been hated all along.
Whatever you are, you’re never a person expressing your convictions or concerns out of faithful devotion to what you understand as conservative ideals. You’re never a person asking serious questions because you want your political party to succeed and do well.
I guess let’s add both George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush to the ever-growing list of people not Right enough for the Right.
Reagan himself could rise from the grave today, declare his disappointment with what the Right has become, and yet people would say, “I always knew he was just another big-mouthed Hollywood blowhard actor who thinks their movie career means people should listen to them.”
This is why I can’t identify with anything coming from the Right Wing anymore… because for so many of them, it’s a one-strike, you’re-out system demanding mindless devotion to whatever the core of the party does or says. Agree or get out of here, you faker.
We have to be able to talk in order to succeed. We have to be able to raise concerns and those need to be addressed in a serious manner if there’s going to be a foundation of mutual trust within the party’s ranks.
We make fun of the Left for expecting everyone to fall in line on certain issues (try surviving as a pro-life Democrat, for example). We’re just as guilty if not worse.
Conservatives, I am concerned about what we are doing right now. I feel that our party is moving into unsafe territory, putting ourselves at risk. Many of us in the base don’t have a clear picture of where we are headed as a party.
Conservatives, knock it off.