This was another of my audio books, this one completed on a dangerous and snowy drive westbound on the Trans Canada Highway. This is the second in the “Darkest Minds” series, which piqued my interest with this summer’s movie. While the movie itself didn’t seem to get good reviews, there are some interesting questions in this fictional world for Emergency Managers.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with the”Darkest Minds” world, here’s a short synopsis. The children of the United States (and only the US) have been afflicted by a disorder that kills most of them and leaves the survivors with one of five special skills, grouped into colours. Greens are highly intelligent, Blues have telekinesis, Yellows can manipulate electricity, Oranges can manipulate minds, and Reds can create fire. There’s a lot more to it, including the usual YA romance, and some interesting political commentary (including a US President who just can’t let go of his power), but I’ll leave that for you to read.
What really interests me is the Emergency Management aspect of a sudden mutation in children (or anyone) and how author Alexandra Bracken forsees the response of the authorities. The afflicted children (who have managed to survive a disease that has killed many of their friends), are sent to what are little more than concentration camps. While disguised as “rehabilitation” camps, they are much closer to concentration camps, and I believe Bracken intentionally wrote them that way.
While I would like to believe that in the 21st century people wouldn’t stand idly by while children and teenagers are shipped to concentration camps, I also realize that this is exactly what is happening in the US right now with little to no regard for rights or legalities. Our job as Emergency Managers is to manage emergencies, and to do so without regard for political whims. We are so quick to condemn fictional villains who send children to slaughter each other in ritual battle, or to concentration camps; but when we have been asked to do the same or similar things, too many Emergency Managers have given in to political or personal whims.
If this were to happen today, in my jurisdiction, I could not in any way be a part of it. Not only that, but my ethics and morals would require me to speak out against it, and that should be true for each and every person who claims to be an Emergency Manager.
Locking people away isn’t managing an emergency.
Letting people kill each other isn’t managing an emergency.
Allowing some people to die because they are addicts, or homeless, or don’t have the right skin colour, or don’t follow the same political beliefs isn’t managing an emergency.
Building a wall because a political leader throws a hissy fit isn’t managing an emergency (whether real or not).
Real Emergency Management is about deeply engaging with people and communities and doing the things that are required to make those people and communities more resilient. We do the hard work now so that when the disaster comes, each and every person survives. When we focus on the people and the organic communities in our jurisdictions, then we have most of our work done for us. As an Emergency Manager, you should acknowledge and truly believe that each and every person is valuable, and the loss of a single person is detrimental to all of society.
I would love for every human to believe that every other person is valuable, but that isn’t the case in so many places. Emergency Management is made up of so many interconnected pieces, and social connections are a major part of what makes people resilient. To eliminate one person means that a social network becomes that much weaker.
So here’s my challenge to you: If you are an Emergency Manager and you cannot, with all your heart, believe that each and every person is as valuable as any other, then please reconsider your vocation. This profession is so much bigger than ourselves, our plans, or any one person. If we aren’t radically inclusive of everybody in this complex system we call society, then we aren’t doing our job.
A word about links and advertising: I use a couple of different monetization methods to help subsidize the work that I do. By clicking on (and maybe purchasing) one of the items I link to on Amazon, or by clicking on an ad, you help support accessible and low-cost emergency management work. If this site were to fund my monthly costs, I would be able to take on emergency management projects for charities and non-profits at little to no cost. So please, consider using my link(s) to purchase something I’ve written about.