The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil, is for good people to do nothing.

Edmund Burke (paraphrased)

Evil intentions, evil thoughts, evil actions: when it comes to threats and hazards, acts of evil have a special place on our collective lists of bad things. Some of us may think we can focus solely on what we believe are evildoers, and then end up with reduced capabilities and capacity for those natural and human-made hazards which become significant threats, nonetheless. Others will disregard the possibility of evil actions or intent, which has significant downsides as well. Lack of planning for what is considered consequence management possibilities, is a bad path to be on. Why do bad people do bad things (threats which become hazards)? In most cases it boils down to one of four reasons, covered in an acronym called M.I.C.E.  – Money, Ideology, Coercion, and Ego.

None of these cover a possible worst-case scenario, which is evil. People who are evil want to hurt or destroy beyond any reasons we can think of. What we all can do to be ready for something evil – that is to be better prepared before, during, and after any incident – no one is ever fully prepared for every threat and hazard, this is always an area everyone can improve on. Be more ready for that “what if” it was the worst of the worst.

The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones.

– William Shakespeare

1599 Antony. Julius Caesar, act 3, sc.2, l.74-86.

And sometimes the solutions to the “good versus evil” problems facing our world, also help against the adverse impacts of plain old accidents or even natural disasters. Let’s take the simple act of walking in the park: protecting the pedestrians from vehicles nearby helps just as much from someone having a medical emergency and not hitting the brakes, as it does from the terrorist hellbent on mowing down everyone they can get.  

Whether you are preparing your family, your community, your state/territory/sovereign tribal nation, or even country: consider the possibility that evil might be the “why” behind any threat or hazard. This should make you alter and update your emergency plans, organizational staffing, equipment to be used, training and exercising of those elements. In Emergency Management we call this collection of elements POETE and use that process to make our problem-solving efforts and capacity-building more effective and efficient. Acts of terrorism may certainly qualify as evil, and the U.S. government spends quite a bit of effort to prevent these acts and protect all of us from their adverse impacts. And the feds have shared their guidance tools for this complete process in their Comprehensive Preparedness Guide (CPG) 201, Third Edition. That guide utilizes the POETE process quite extensively.

The world isn’t split into good people and Death Eaters. We’ve all got both light and dark inside us. What matters is the part we choose to act on. That’s who we really are.

J. K. Rowling

Every disaster starts and ends locally – even the evil ones. Take the time now to look at your emergency plans, your list of threats and hazards, etc. and consider how they could be impacted by evil.

This is part of the involuntary bargain we make with the world just by being alive. We get to experience the splendor of nature, the beauty of art, the balm of love and the sheer joy of existence, always with the knowledge that illness, injury, natural disaster, or pure evil can end it in an instant for ourselves or someone we love.

Jeff Greenfield 
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