Complacency is Dangerous: Here’s How

Earlier today, I came across a news article.

Carli Teproff from the Miami Herald reported on July 20th, 2015 (emphasis added):

Police: 80-year-old stabs 70-year-old over cellphone dispute

Using a machete he keeps in a shopping cart, an 80-year-old homeless man slashed a 70-year-old man several times in the head and arms outside a Hialeah grocery store over the weekend after he said the man took his cell phone, according to police.

Guillermo Bejerano remained in jail Monday facing an attempted second-degree murder charge and a charge of aggravated battery on a person over 65.

The incident happened at 1 p.m. Sunday at 3100 W 76th St. in Hialeah.

According to Bejerano’s police report, Emerito Herrera Lopez, 70, was in the Villaverde Shopping Center when Bejerano accused him of stealing his cell phone.

A witness told police that Lopez denied having the cell phone, but Bejerano said he was going to kill him.

“The defendant walked away holding a machete screaming, ‘Mate a uno’ (I killed one),” an officer wrote in the report.

Lopez had several gashes from the machete, including one to his left cheek that required 17 stitches and one to his upper right arm that caused the humerus bone to break.

Bejerano later told police that Lopez refused to give him his phone back. When Lopez allegedly refused “he got upset and reached inside his shopping cart where he keeps a machete,” an officer wrote.

Bejerano then went into the nearby Sedano’s Supermarket and told a security guard to call police because he had killed someone, according to the report.

For the majority of your career in the security fields, you will often feel like “nothing” ever happens.

The worst thing you can do is become complacent.  Complacency can be deadly.

In this instance, the news report glances briefly over one of the most dangerous moments in any critical incident– the immediate moments or events that follow.

Take a look at this man:

Guillermo Bejerano, Hialeah Police Department

That is an 80 year old homeless man, no different than any transients you may encounter on any given day.  He carries his possessions in a shopping cart with him, as many transient-type individuals do.  And he happened to have a machete in it, which he used to nearly hack another man to death that fateful Sunday afternoon.

When your post involves coming into contact with hundreds of different people every day, it can be easy to let your guard down after a while.  The man pictured above, Mr. Bejerano, was probably a familiar face in the neighborhood and may have even been familiar with the security personnel at the grocery store where he turned himself in.  There is no mention in the article whether or not Mr. Bejerano was mentally ill or any psychological issues.

EDPs, or Emotionally Disturbed Persons, aren’t always obvious.  They can seem harmless or just a bit amusing, but the importance of conducting yourself professionally and safely is tantamount and should always be your priority.

It is a positive outcome, in this case, that Mr. Bejerano chose only to ask the security agent posted at the store to call the police.  An EDP may have lashed out and attacked others with no warning, or even attacked the security guard mentioned in this report without reason.  Who knows how long Mr. Bejerano has been carrying that machete with him?  He was a risk to the public every day he was on the streets, and it took second-degree attempted murder to get him off the streets.

I apologize if this post seems disjointed, as I wrote it on the fly after seeing the article and wanted to get my thoughts down as soon as possible.  Stay safe and stay tuned for more later.

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