THE BLOG
08/20/2014 11:48 am ET Updated Oct 20, 2014

Organizational Cutbacks, At What Cost?

It happened again.

A teenage named Michael Brown was shot -- multiple times -- by a police officer in Ferguson Missouri. This, along with the shootings of Trayvon Martin in Florida, Kollin Elderts in Hawaii, and Andy Lopez in California begs the question of why are there so many officer-involved shootings occurring in our country. Although the reasons vary, there is a common thread, that in fact affects everything from fire response, to long DMV lines and slow mail service; the economy is forcing more and more organizations to do more with less resources, and it is literally killing us.

The cost of doing business, any business, is more expensive than ever. Companies and civil services have found themselves having to lay off workers, and force the workers left to do more. Resources in today's economy are expensive, and though the amount of work hasn't changed, the number of employees doing that work has been cut back. One only needs to look at their federal, state and local municipalities to see employees swamped with tasks, long lines at post offices, long wait times for fire and police response to 911 calls -- the list goes on.

One of the many side effects of these cutbacks directly affects human lives -- civil servants, including those who think they're civil servants, who carry lethal weapons. Trayvon Martin was shot by a self-proclaimed security guard; Kollin Elderts was shot by a federal agent; Andy Lopez was shot by a police officer, as was Michael Brown. None of these victims were armed, and each of them was shot by someone who, under stress, felt that lethal force was their only option.

Any situation where a person is forced to make a decision under duress can lead to a bad outcome. When we add the stress of being overworked and understaffed, it can lead to disaster, including death. The idea that companies can benefit from cutting back is leading to more and more problems. When you consider that organizations like airlines and delivery services are making employees work longer hours, you begin to see an increase in traffic accidents and plane crashes.

With many of the police shootings, race has become an argument for civil rights. Whether the idea of racism pans out, one can't ignore the fact that over-worked and over-stressed employees can and will make bad decisions. That's not to say that none of the shootings were racially motivated, but short-staffing an organization like a police department surely doesn't help.

There has to be a better solution to the severe cutbacks that are slowly crippling our country. Everything from crowded school-rooms to airline accidents and even hospital errors can be linked to under-staffed companies and organizations. At what point do we begin to acknowledge that you can only trim back so much before things get dangerous?

A look at the current news stories should be enough to figure this out...

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