Amelia the Awesome is my home health aide—a job she tolerates in order to work her primary commitment: Peace. Peace is not a career path that pays well so,
in addition to being peaceful and caring for me, she also has a couple other
part-time jobs, to and from which she walks, which scares me to death because Amelia’s walking at night and I don’t like that one bit.
Recently she moved—no, not to safer place but to a place on the other side of a more dangerous place through which she has to walk. And this week Amelia the Awesome told me what she’s doing. She started by going into a neighborhood deli
and introducing herself to the people who hang out there. “Hi, I’m Amelia. Who are you?” she says with her winsome smile, and she begins to get acquainted, not just with the shopkeepers but also with the vagrants and hangers-on.
Amelia figures that if she gets to know the local folks then (a) they will not hurt her, and (b) they will keep an eye out for her safety. The feasibility of the approach is based on the fact that she genuinely is interested in other people and does like to have good relationships with all.
This reminded me of Dr. Steven Wechsler, who announced one day, “People don’t sue their friends.” This comment was vis-à-vis medical malpractice and the
best protection there from. People don’t sue people with whom they have a friendly working relationship; they sue strangers and people who keep themselves distant and isolated. Fact is, the greatest number of physicians who get sued are anesthesiologists. When they are working, you are asleep so you never form any kind of friendly relationship. Steve, on the other hand, is a warm, welcoming person whose friendships grow out of his relationships with his patients.
This is the same principle as the hostage situation: if you are the hostage and the hostage-taker puts a bag over your head then it increases the likelihood that he will kill you. If he leaves your head uncovered, you have a better change of surviving: he sees you as a person, and it’s harder to kill someone you kind of know.
So Amelia is placing her safety in the hands of others by getting to know them as friends. Amelia—I did mention it?—is committed to peace. She is using friendship and being a good neighbor as her protection from violence.
Alternatively, she could have bought a gun.