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tv   Juliette Kayyem The Devil Never Sleeps - Learning to Live in an Age of...  CSPAN  May 23, 2022 6:15am-7:15am EDT

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i'm honored to welcome you to tonight's conversation between professor juliet. khiam and gretchen rubin benson nonprofit organization that presents a high quality speaker series offered free to the public on a wide variety of topics including human development mental health education and social justice among others. we have over 175 videos of past events archived on our website and our youtube channel, so please be sure to explore now for introductions juliet, khaim is a professor in international security at harvard's kennedy school of government where she is faculty chair of the homeland security and security and global health projects. for previous books include
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security mom my life protecting the home and homeland and coauthoring beyond 9/11 homeland security for the 21st century. she's the ceo of grip mobility a technology platform that provides audio and video capabilities for rideshare companies to increase the security for drivers and riders. in government professor kaim most recently served as president obama's assistant secretary for intergovernmental affairs at the department of homeland security and before that. she was massachusetts. governor, duval patrick's homeland security advisor. just got a long resume got one more point though. she has a cnn on air national security analyst and is a weekly guest on boston's npr program. another person with a long resume gretchen rubin is the author of many books including the blockbuster new york times bestsellers outer order intercom the four tendencies better than before and the happiness project which spent two years on the new york times bestseller list, her books have sold over three they have million copies worldwide and more than 30 languages. on her top ranked award-winning
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podcast happier. she discusses happiness and good habits with her sister elizabeth kraft, and she's a frequent columnist for oh the oprah magazine and makes regular appearances on cbs this morning. fun fact ms. rubin started her career in lawn was clerking for supreme court justice sandra day o'connor when she realized she wanted to be a writer. that's welcome, julia kiam and gretchen rubin. thank you so much. thank you, lonnie and thank you everyone for having us here tonight. i am so excited to get a chance to talk to juliet. khiam about her. excellent new book the devil never sleeps, which is sadly extremely timely now more than ever and in a minute juliet. i want to talk to you about the events of today the brooklyn subway shooting. i know you have many kind of reflections on what we can learn from that and and sort of how the situation is unfolded today. but before we get into it like, let's have you sort of explain a little bit of like how the foundation of how to even think about disaster like you have
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this thinking about the boom what it how do we think about the boom? well, thank you. first of all. thank you gretchen for for being here tonight. actually. i i view a sort of in the same field of sort of, you know, helping people get managed things. yeah. well, that's true. you get to less bad. i think you're happier. i'm sort of in the less bad metric. i want to make things less bad. and and also i think when people feel less anxious and more prepared they they do feel more confident and more. oh, i think we are similar in that that sense of agency, which we'll talk about giving people sense of agency in their lives. so and thank you, mommy and to everyone there in the sponsors for organizing this great event. i've been texting with lonnie all day because i have i i like to say about cnn. i'm never on and then i'm always on and today was an always on one because of the in brooklyn, i appreciate this first question because the book had sort of a
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fundamental theme and and a goal which was just to to unearth expose give some clarity to this world called disaster management which people in my field are really bad at explaining and i wanted to do that for you a reason so that we can begin to to judge success differently. so i sat down i said at the beginning pages i set a way of thinking about the world because we're quite simple people in disaster management. there's only two periods of time. there's there's the left boom and the right of boom. so let me just explain those clearly. the boom itself is the devil. i'm agnostic as to what the bad thing is. so the book goes through centuries of disasters tragedies prices from the trojan wars to i think i get as close to surfside in miami as recent as surfside left. is everything that we do to try to stop the bad thing from happening and write a boom is all the response and recovery capabilities.
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and we tend to view success as nothing bad happening and failure as something bad happening. we're very binary right in the way we talk about it and and i just came to believe over a long career in this that this was a really bad way to view success. it was a bad way to talk to the american public and or to any public in a world in which lots of bad things are going to be happening and covid just being one of of many and so i spend eight chapters describing to people institutions ceos moms and dads from from base level all the way up how to learn to fail safer and i mean by that that is to accept we will be on the right side of the boom, but there's much you can do to make things less bad and i wanted to give people that agency because because otherwise people tune out or freak out and that's that's not a good place to be and you also explain that there's a difference between
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crisis disaster and catastrophe and i think that's also kind of a helpful way to think about different kinds of events. so, of course so our current right of boom, right? so the crisis is something is disruptive. but it doesn't result in a lot of damage. so think about the landing of the airplane on the hudson sally sellsberger, right? that's a crisis, but that was three minutes of a crisis, but he but he performs successfully you loses capacity of the engines and lads on the hudson so that you're measuring success by the fact that no one died. everyone got out alive. no one cares about the airplane. a crisis is when the boom hits and your capacity to respond is limited systems are down and and you would anticipate some disruption to what this is disaster. you say christ. i'm sorry disaster disaster, right is is a disruption to a to a to a core capacity of the institution it's ability to to fly or its ability to to drill
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oil whatever it might be. thank you for clarifying that so you have the crisis the disaster and then the catastrophe catastrophes is simply a crisis where you are no longer able to manage what we call stupid deaths and i do not mean that as the victims. i mean it as the people who did not have to die. if you had made some investment in in try if one and made some investment in trying to protect them so a perfect example of a stupid desk is is the inability to get water or food to communities that have survived say a hurricane or tsunami. uh, that didn't die from the water didn't die from the wind and the hurricane case. so i take those three and i said because they're all relatively the same and what we want to do is be sort of closer to the crisis, and we certainly don't want to be at a catastrophe because those are unmanageable if i could add one more thing to this. it's there's anything out of this book besides hopefully
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hopeful lessons. it's also cocktail chatter. i've been in this field a long time. i had never looked up the word disaster. of course. i knew what it meant. and catastrophe has the same basis both come. just means not or misalignment and astro of course from the stars so disaster. it was viewed that the disruptions on earth whatever they were before cyber attacks, but now cyber attacks and pandemics and terrorism and of course natural disasters. were the result of a misalignment of the stars and that puts humankind in a very passive position same with catastrophe. and i came to see that that word had really. limited our capacity to feel ownership or agency even on the right side of the boom. so so i'm sure everybody is very eager to hear. what yeah what your take is on the events of today like giving your framework. how would you how would you
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evaluate or how would you how would you think about what's going on? something bad happened. we will inevitably learn more about what the police knew. i do think the police know something they were quick to say that it wasn't terrorism which makes me believe they know who the suspect is already. they've announced a person of interest already. uh, the response seemed to be very adequate people who were shot made it to hospitals relatively soon. this is not something that was going to stress the new york hospital systems. there was only i think 16 people that required hospital help so it wasn't like a 9/11 or and it sounds like it sounds like response capabilities in the investigation have gone so quickly that i'm talking to you 11 12 hours later about 12 hours. later.
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no one's dead. a suspect is essentially named and as importantly the the trains are running again. whereas you measure your ability to respond by how long is this disruption? so i think that those are all good and all of that is because new york is terribly sophisticated understands how to do these things. you can't have the subway system down for too long. i think the thing i'm looking at on the bad side or something that i've been raising on the air is is all of our protocols learning after 9/11. as you want to stop services after the first disruption because let's say in this case that the train. you certainly didn't want trains coming into the subway stop when this was happening because you just don't want them entering a bad area. there's some speculation. he may have been able to exit through a subway. so that's something that just in the after action learning. that's something that i'm looking at. it appeared that the system that the subway kept running. you just don't want that during you know when you're essentially
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at the equivalent of ground zero for this event, but all in all i think we're going to see closure within 24 hours. which is remarkable. um, well one of the things that you talk about over and over in the book is that it's sort of it's one of the human part of the problem is people right? everything would be easy for work for people and so human nature keeps kind of asserting itself. yeah and one of the things that human nature does is we sort of learned very well the last lesson. yeah. um, do you feel like in this case? maybe there's like a lesson that it's it. it's hard to know what lesson to apply this moment and that that's part what causes confusion. i think so. i think i think that if they're if there is a lesson if there what we call after action reports or whatever you want to call them if there is a lesson it is probably going to be once again at the moment of the boom who was making what decisions about the about bringing more people to the crisis. you simply don't want to do that. so i do think that that's gonna be a key area, but you you raise
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a larger point, i mean mean no one died today, but one of the things that i try to highlight in the book through history and through where we are. now, is that and what disaster studies is and as once again, i'm exposing my profession, right? i want people to know what it is that people like me do in the private and the public sector. is that our that people die in a disaster is a given. how they die is actually our responsibility to them and and so distinction is important and in hurricane season in the united states now. most people die when we say 50 people 160 people died in hurricane season. most people died from carbon monoxide people are drowning anyways. yeah, right. they are guys where i was writing. they're not drowning anymore that we've gotten. let's just put it this way. do you want to know does preparedness work? we've gotten really good in
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hurricane preparedness. we're calling them earlier. we're evacuating people. so if that's the case, right then i can avoid those tests, but i have to learn that lesson first. otherwise, i'm gonna focus on the wrong thing. so now i want everyone to notice this next hurricane season or upcoming hurricane season. when you go on websites to learn if you're in new england or wherever wherever people calling into when you go on to websites, then the number two thing. the number one is the hurricane. the number two is carbon monoxide poisoning. the same is true gretchen for blizzards people. don't die if you know they they die of carbon monoxide poisoning. so now that's a lesson i can take so that's sort of the obligation of disaster studies is then to say okay if i know that then i can empower you right? don't worry about well. don't worry about the hurricane, of course, but worry as much about what you're turning on in your home or in the car because that's more likely to kill you and your children then then the snow or the rain and that's that's the sort of agency that i
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wanted. you know that wanted to give people was not as i'm dead or alive and it's all luck and it's just a matter of the start like it's actually no, i mean we individually and of course governments if they can do better can actually make things, you know, the very the very scientific evaluation of criteria of less bad less bad. it's not a bad standard. what was speaking of hurricane something you don't talk about the in the book, but that i've wondered is do you feel i mean one of the things is giving people warning and one of the things that sort of curious about something like a hurricane is that there's often a lot of advanced warning and i feel like in a way that kind of makes people feel like it's under our control. yeah, which it's not and also there's i think sometimes like there's this tension between like maybe the the news wants to like make it sound like really dramatic because that gets people watching and then you have the actual services that are trying to like be very careful about, you know, trying
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to get people to the right conservative, but, you know realistic level and then you've got people and you talk about this in the book too much human nature, which is a near miss kind of teaches people the wrong lesson instead of being like, wow, we came really close. it's like whoa, i guess we don't have much to worry about and so do you how do we think about the idea of warnings and sort of like understanding when yeah, like not getting not getting too dismissive like oh they always are just you know, making a big deal out of every little thing but then also, you know not getting too swept up with things where you know, you don't this is this is important, but it's you know, you don't have to like get eaten up with anxiety. that's exactly right. so this is the way i i talk about these warnings and also the near misses. so i should say once again, you know, and and these are terms and ways we're thinking about communities that the american public should know about right? i mean why why don't they know
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about like the near miss fallacy the near miss fallacy came out of studies in the nasa, uh challenger disaster. it's a it's a terminology that describes institutions or communities begin to justify. every near miss right the the normalization of deviance they call it right every near miss as a as a sign that the system is holding rather than red lights and you've got something terribly wrong and the space shuttle challenger. there's an o-ring. that was the cause people remember this was the cause of that if you thought what caused it. it was the o-ring contracted in the cold and then expanded when it got heated up at the takeoff and it couldn't sustain so it fell apart. that's your that's your reason right the why though? that's the how the why is nasa and institution that was was
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excusing deviation after deviation and numerous afternoon. it could have been any of them honestly and so we have to be careful as there's a boy this this this idea of the near miss and to treat these warnings as actually bought time. i mean in other words, this is actually really good and and it's it's, you know often saying the book it's these aren't random and rare. there may be times. when when you know we extrases in new england the governor calls it, you know a snow day or get off the get off the highways and then it's not enough. there's a reason to be mad. he's just making a judgment call. right? and the reason why he's keeping you off the road is for what i talked about before because over 80 people died in the blizzard of 78 or 79 from carbon monoxide poisoning die from the blizzard. so it's accepting that this is a an art not a science but here's why you should do x y and z as
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you have this building because there are things almost everything. we're trying to get better in terms of intelligence. so tornadoes are what we call a rhymes with which you know, these tornadoes are the worst. i mean anyone in the in the i grew up in kansas city so i know all about it. yes, so there's the world of tornadoes. yeah. you're like, yeah, they're they're so destructive and yes there so unpredictable. yeah earthquakes. we ever kings. do pandemics we're trying to get better at so all of these are going to give us some warning and we and we have to accept the sort of 80% rule as i call it that we won't that you know, 20% of the time you're gonna be like this was a waste of my time, but don't don't think that the other the other eight the devil isn't coming the other 80% which is of course the title of the book. alright, why don't you talk about the title of the book
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because you definitely yeah. yeah come back to it over and over again. well it isn't when you're in my field and i should say i start off encounter terrorism. i was much more focused on a particular threat and on a personal level. i don't just describe this in the book, but my career changed significantly after hurricane katrina that i i thought i've spent i was encountered terrorism before 9/11 i've spent at that stage seven or eight years of my career. i was in my mid thirties by then. or the first part of my legal career. and essentially trying to stop 19 guys from getting on four airplanes. i mean, honestly, that was i mean and we and we succeeded right where there's no been no, massive attack, i mean that that way but it just told me that a nation that was so focused on one threat. mm-hmm. couldn't save an american city from drowning and so i became much more focused on this idea of all hazards or the devil the devil's i don't you know you i'm
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not gonna worry myself too much on calculating how the likelihood he's going to come. i'm just gonna send these come and on the right side of the boom. it's the same eight lessons. yeah, i say the causes differ the consequences are always the same. we're gonna want to have done a whole bunch of things. so that's so i in this space. i've spent a lot of time either at the moment of disaster because i was in government or afterwards because of work i do with communities as our this in this case i had was out of government by the time of the one-year anniversary of joplin, missouri, but had known the community and joplin missouri is a is a small town that lost over 120 people and about 19 seconds in a tornado that swept down 19th street in their community. this is i mean this you can't imagine the numbers right a small community that many people a year later i meet jane cage there they have these. you know you have these like memorial slash parties a year
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later. you never quite sure what they are and jane is this very it was a widow. she still alive and she had taken upon herself to to help joplin rebuild. so but it was, you know, rebuilding anticipation of more harm could happen and she was incredibly outgoing very conservative. i mean here we were obama people this town was i think like 96% mitt romney. yeah, there would have been mitt romney and and you know, so welcoming and so i say to help like, how are you like this like, you know, maybe i need more religion in my living. she was just great and she and but i i know in the book her religion not one of passivity or this is what got? yeah, this is god's way or you know a sort of a pacifist. it was very tactical and operation and operational. she says, you know the devil never sleeps. let me go back. she says, you know the there's in missouri, there will be more
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more tornadoes the devil never sleeps, but he only wins if we don't do better next time. and it really struck me like that. yeah, that's why we do what we do which is you know, you're you're just waiting for the next time and this idea of never again, or you know, we have to stop everything and why are all these bad things happening? like maybe maybe we're being tested in a different way, which is you're not going to be able to stop everything but you know we have agency and depending on your religion. maybe god has given us agency to to actually begin to minimize those harms. well you talk about the i'm i want to make sure that i get the name, right? is it the fukushima fuki? yeah, right. okay on a galaxy. yeah. yeah, those are kind of like to illustrate your point that there's kind of like a better in a worse way to to think about the boom coming. boom. how does that illustrate your
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point? yeah, so this is one of those those things we were eating. we were emailing about it earlier. today, this is one of those stories. so i that i that i tell on the book because i thought that the only way i could relate this to readers and and the reviews that talk about the book as accessible and not scary like those. those are the that's what you have like, yeah, that's what i was trying to do because i could i can scare people really well, but that's not my job. my job is to say look. are stories that i want to just tell you through these stories what is actually going on? so fukushima everyone remembers 2011 massive earthquake out of the japanese sea massive tornado hundred foot waves, i hit fukushima. the nuclear facility i should go back and just tell a quick story. the nuclear facilities were built. in tsunami areas, they had been warned by for a hundred years before there's stones up above the nuclear facilities written by 19th century survivors.
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asunami saying do not build below these stones. so there's fair warning. they still built they built homes in the nuclear facilities. also, i should say the other history that animates why fukushima happened was of course, the history of japan is target of nuclear war in hiroshima and nagasaki. why is that relevant? it's because as japan began to build nuclear facilities, it had to convince the japanese public that there wouldn't be another nuclear disaster so it sold the myth right of never again. it sold the myth of perfect safety. it's sold the myth that we don't need to learn to fail safer. so fukushima's own by teco the largest nuclear company in japan. it's a it's like, you know, it's like calling it like bp when like, you know, one of the majors and and they basically did not train themselves to fail safely. so when the waters are coming they're basically not empowered the boom has happened and
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they're you know, you're sort of okay. well we lost right there's their response capacity is limited. they haven't done the training. culturally, they sort of are required to call tokyo or headquarters are for every decision that they want to make so that doesn't work in real time down the street though the story we never hear about. i'm sure most people on this call have never didn't know there was a nuclear facility that suffered major damage by the earthquake got flooded by this tsunami worse actually, but did not radiate did not have a radiation leak and that's in the world of not you know less bad. this is my less bad standard. so what was good about ownagawa? it's a smaller company and it's leadership believed in failing safely. they believe that a lot could be done to protect the nuclear facility. most importantly they empowered the leadership and had a very strong safety team to make decisions in real time. i want to go ahead about three and a half minutes.
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this is very non-technical of me to shut down turn up the light switch of the radiation facility or the facilities that would have radiated and they did it. they just they knew exactly what to do and they failed safer so many many years later. neither facility is working. so make that clear both were damaged neither facilities up and running again, but only one radiated had a radiation leakage that record that has required. it's an uninhabitable space for in in that in that precinct and that area and fukushima. was this sort of an example of letting the perfect be the enemy of the good and because you can't you can't acknowledge that that it won't be perfect. then you're just sort of like well, we're just gonna turn a blind's eye. yeah it is. it's so there's everyone wants to know why why are we so bad at this? what is not always so bad it is that i give lots of examples in which things are working. we just don't you just don't get credit for it because they're
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working. so like the sue us now a little bit like this it talk about the paradox of prevention. yes, there was so deeply ironic. yeah, so you're kind of punished for doing a good job, right? so that's just because this is called the preparedness paradox. so everyone's gonna be a disaster management walk by the end of this. this is something called the panera preparedness paradox, and it's so it's a real thing. it's a thing we talk about so the so the there's many reasons why people don't prepare one of them is what you were describing gretchen like you know, oh everything is fine. nothing bad will happen. you know the sort of you can't get your head around it and you sort of won't let your brain go there. but another reason is actually quite can be documented and that's called the preparedness paradox and basically just goes the more that you prepare for a potential disaster or crisis the less like the less likely that the consequences will be harmful. so that later, people will wonder why did you invest so much time worry commitment to it? and why would yeah, i was
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staggered by your example of y2k. i think you said it was like 300 to 600 billion dollars. we're spent on y2k and people are like y2k was nothing. why did you like? yeah, 600 billion dollars later, right? i mean, right. no, it's totally it's like, you know like when you work really hard on something and someone will say, you know, you know, but of course or you're lucky you're like actually it works really hard on it you get no credit for it. so so this is exactly right. there's a white case the perfect example, we're worried about the the computers in december 31st, 1999. the year is gonna this the century's gonna change their worry that it's gonna go to 1,000 or zero zero zero zero. and and screw everything up billions of dollars. there's a federal statute called essentially the y2k statue which authorizes companies to do certain things share information. so then the new year comes there are disruptions.
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there are not major they're you know minor minor ones in australia and south korea and like not a big deal some a few things here. but everyone parties like it's 1999 and the lights stay on and immediately the narrative of you all were freaking out right in fact, yeah, exactly exactly. what is your problem? and so that's the preparedness paradox and the only way out of it is what i urge in the book, which is right you because it doubles always coming you have to have perpetual preparedness you can't do this anymore because the devil's always coming right? so these are the eight, you know, eight steps that i talk about from, you know communications to lessons learned that are absolutely key. well speaking of lessons learned. i mean you've been involved with many kind of major major disasters. what would you say is sort of the most formative disaster? what most shaped your your outlook of the ones that you personally had to be, you know, you know you were deeply involved with yeah something they're so bad.
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each of them should should have impacted our way it depend. s also so so as counterterrorism person as i said earlier, so i'll start with hurricane katrina. that was really for a lot of us in the field. that was it. wasn't that we abandoned counterterrorism. we just sort of view terrorism as we would other threats and that was probably healthy for the country as well at that time by 2005 given what had happened on a tactical. i'm exhausted. this was really hard was when i was put as the civilian deputy. there was two deputies to the bp oil spill for the bp oil spill. so once again, this is where narrative matters so i'm the assistant secretary, but then put into this. weird thing that is formed i won't get into all the legal mumbo jumbo. so was the bp oil spill response. absolutely. right. i don't care what all that noise was about whatever then you know, we didn't lose an ocean and the more important thing is
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and it's not just because he was my boss but when one talks about obama's two terms do you even think about the b? yeah, barely a blip like i mean, it's just that success something bad happened. we had a very very slow initial response. we can't close the well for a hundred days, but we're doing everything to make things less bad. we're not making them good. my god oil is coming to the ocean. the gulf is back up and running, you know within a year the claims are reform and you know 11 people died. of course, that's the the tragedy but in terms of the systemic harm and the calculations we were making balancing the environment with with oil spill clinic up in dispersants. i think we made the right judgments even though it looked it's a disaster. it's gonna look like a freaking disaster we get it and this one lasted a hundred days. so that really taught me.
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on the personal level sort of thinking about disasters and the narrative that is going on not because we're it's not communication strategy is like literally like yes oil will hit sure like i can't stop that at this stage. i'm on the right side of the boom. like if you think that oil isn't going to hit short you've never seen oil and water before right, but here's here's what we're doing. to make sure that less oil is hitting sure then might otherwise have occurred because of the dispersing and stuff and then i should say the pandemic if i could, you know just on as a mother. that's the one that hit me as a mother all of us have our stories and we had every you know, come on. i had every privilege in the world in terms of making things comfortable, but you know you had two kids one leaf college one in highs to two in high school one applying to college. i'm here. i'm busier than i've ever been in my life professionally because of my work. i'm advising companies and mayors and governors on and i'm trying to people's heads on straight through grew by columns
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and being on cnn and i you know, and you know you want to curl up in a a very social person. also i you know, it's just it hit me. you know, i sort of i look at pictures of myself. let's just put it this. i'm sure we all do this like something will come up on your camera like january 2020 and you look you're like i was 15 years younger and i look so innocent. i always say to david my husband. i'm so pretty that you know, because you know idea what's about to happen. so yeah that was on the personal level. well back to the the spill for a minute because one thing that really struck me in the book was that you talked about how that there were all these preventive mechanisms kind of failsafe like six of them one which failed after another now that seems to be the kind of thing that is supposed to be like unthinkable like, you know, each one is supposed to be unthinkable. so how could they all six? is this the normalization of deviance is this greed? so people are just like signing
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off forms where it's not real. like how does that have say that with a challenge or i assume they're supposed to be so many layers. you sort of feel like well. you kind of feel like what would be impossible first for it to fail so spectacularly, so it's too big to fail kind of right? no, exactly and i think i also tell. the stories where the unimaginable is imagine and therefore less harm is done. so she was canal is a perfect example that did not cause all the stuff we're dealing with supply chain now is related to other things that did not cause a global disruption because of how the industry was able to adapt they went to the cape of good horn in africa. people don't know this story, right? so they're looking at the tugboat trying to move the ever given right the favorite, but it's actually there's something else, you know going on which is there's an adaptation. so i i yeah and talk about too big to failure. the suez is closed, but it turns
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out the suez was closed for many years between during the wars in the middle east and so the industry learns to adapt so i tell or is it like don't think they don't think people can imagine the unimaginable and therefore becomes manageable because they've imagined it before they have that pivot. so the vp oil spill is one example where and i this is the the chapter that's called beware or beware of the last line of defense crutch. i forget the exact language that we ended up with that or the last line of defense crutch what in any security system. think of your own home. it was always like well, there's always mom. yeah, you're like, okay, that's you know, what if i'm not there or what if i'm traveling right? there's always that so you want to just challenge your assumptions about the last line of defense and not just because it's generally easy to find other lines of defense.
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you have what we call redundancies, but because that puts a lot of pressure on the last line of defense whether it's an individual to make sure everything is working or it's a system that like what's called the blowout preventer and the bp oil spill because bp believed in this last line of defense, so, i retell the story of bp a lot of people think well, it had nothing or whatever. actually it's not true. they they had a system of security as you said but because they didn't have any redundancies or any planning around the last line of defense failing. they they didn't know how to close the well, i mean it really it wasn't like it was impossible. they eventually knew how to do it. it was just they had never done a whale a well-closure that far down in the ocean because they just believed it couldn't happen the technology wasn't that hard once they once they figured out how to close it and so just telling us right to be like, know, what like this would have been an easy and less expensive fix if they had only imagined
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being on the right side of the boom right that the blowout professor would fail. well, it's funny because yeah, you describe how you're sort of your your astonishment when you sort of come into a company or a situation and you're like, okay, let's run the disaster. they're like, oh that could never happen. like, why are we gonna waste your time? and you're like, oh wait. yes it could and then in the state of massachusetts, you're like, well what if we take out the governor? what is something happens to the governor people like oh right like yeah. where is the like you gotta think about the lieutenant governor? right? exactly. yeah. i tell the story of i do a lot of training and taylor now that i'm out of government, but the private sector now as well and i do a lot of trainings and but i also do public sector one. so i this was there's a couple states many states actually where governors and lieutenant governors can come from different parties. i think north carolina is one of them and this it's like they're you know and different islands right? it's just the way the nature the institution and so in this state we go in and we're going to do a
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tabletop and and the constitution says, you know lieutenant governor follows in the governor's but essentially something happens to the governor and the governor's office is like many governor's offices. it's all about the governor and we walk in and we don't see anyone from lieutenant governor's office. so we go to a back room and we're like, we're gonna change this and we walk in it's a hurricane drill and and i drown the governor. i mean and you should have seen that they're like i was like no. no, he's he was in the wrong. he's yeah, he's out and you just see an entire seven the governor's pit. i mean, he's like he because he knows this is not responsible right on the part of his staff that they don't have lieutenant governor's office blame the staff whenever you're the governor and so he looks around and someone says we got a call lieutenant governor. he's like, yeah you do like, you know, don't let politics get away, but it's look that's a simple fix that any kind of basic training is gonna get you to and get you just much more
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comfortable in the headspace of thinking through write a boom. that's all just failing safer right? i'm not getting you to perfection. i'm not getting you to save i'm not getting you to good. i'm just getting you to less bad and that's actually success right and we can measure it we can measure it in numbers, right? and that's that's the other thing i do in terms of tsunamis and boston marathon in the pandemic well, you just mentioned a tabletop and i thought that was interesting. so explain like what a tabletop is what red teaming is and like what the process is for for trying to get your hand your aunt your mind around. how do we make this less bad? right. so there's always there's very expensive ways to do it. they're very easy ways to do it. and so the first chapter is called get your head around it because i just want to bring people to the right side of the boom because it is so everyone is on the left side. whereas like i'm gonna stop and nothing bad will happen. you know what we're gonna put all this money into doing x y z or we we dream of a more resilient world like it's always past.
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right, i'm gonna stop it from having or future, but it's never now. so i want to get people's head space in the sort of you are here. this is the the recurring that every chapter ends with you are here like the devil is here. you don't have to don't blame someone later dream of unicorns and rainbows later you were here. and so one way to to test that you are here how strong and and are your are is your capacity to get you comfortably just really just calms walk through a scenario. how would this actually unfold so there's different ways to do it somewhere a tabletops you sit around a table and sort of walk through it if you're a small company like what would happen and others are real real exercises where people sort of are actually moving in real time. this is what the military does red teaming. or a benign hackers or whatever. you want to call them. these are people that you pay or or come in on the military to
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try to disrupt your system so that you're you're prepared when it happens. so a lot of companies will will get hackers to try to get into their system. and so we're getting better about learning in real time. there's this whole management and leadership theory about you know sort of learning in the moment how you know sort of coming from the business world in terms of assessments and stuff is just how do you pivot in real time is the information is telling you that you have to move in a different direction or you have to pivot in this way. this part sounds really wonky, but i try to illustrate it with her. here's how it works in in the moment. here's how you can learn in real time so that you're you're able to adapt whether you're the family sort of finds themselves say, you know stalker or isolated their home. what are the things you wish you had done or separate it or
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you're the ceo of a massive company? both neither is an expert but both can be we're all crisis managers now. right. well, i was very struck in your story about the boston marathon about how one of the the really important things to do was to to help people find each other so that then they would leave. yeah, and this is sort of seems kind of straightforward but and but it's actually incredibly important for just managing the chaos. yeah, someone once told me that if there's any global phenomenon you see it in ukraine now, there's any global phenomenon. our global connectivity in a disaster because the causes will all differ it is a parent's desire to find their children like the family unification is is like no other desire we saw with the tsunami as well and then they sort of joke that there's like a pecking orders like you ask. how are my children? how are my parents?
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this is sort of unfair. how is my spouse tends to be third? because you probably viewed them as an equal, right? yeah sorts of self doubt. and then how's my pet? yeah, and then how am i that it goes in that order? but how are my kids is and is key and so we focus a lot. and so this is what i urge family to do is to focus a lot where you don't want to go which is how would you get your family together? we know this is the urge is there's not gonna be no surprise again. something will happen. you're only urges your family unification and i give some some ideas around how to think about family unification. i use the boston marathon where very importantly they focus on family unification not just for the stress of it. remember there's there's runners. they don't know what happened. they're being stopped at mile 26 anyone who's been to the boston marathon, which is this weekend knows that the family is on the other side.
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of the finish line that's now exploded they need to get twenty thousand. however, many people are left out of there because it's a massive crime scene. there are three immediate fatalities. that's and there are 297 people who have lost a limb and arm a hand now. this is my good news story out of the boston marathon you clear family unification you get people together and they did it through a complicated. they essentially move the finish line to commonwealth avenue. i wish i could explain i wish i had a map a commonwealthy will know boston is sort of parallel to boilsen street, which is the famous finish line straight, so they just move them about two blocks down got people back together and got them out of there. and then here's where we how we measure success. it's a tragedy that the brothers weren't stopped. but when you're not gonna stop everything it's a tragedy the three people didn't die to finish line as we know a fourth of police officer would die later that week.
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but the 297 if you were one of the 29 area the other 297 imagine being taken an area hospitals if you made it to a hospital you did not die. you did not that that's true. that's your number and and people will look we'll look at other metrics right rightfully, so but the metric that we might say gosh a lot of preparing and planning went into the triage and the pivoting i oversaw the states response to the boston marathon when i was staying at homeland security advisors out of government by the state by this time, you know if i'm gonna judge tragedy, you know that bad and less bad. i want i want i want those numbers right as compared to another 297 debt or another couple dozen dead. so we have to remember that's when we talk about things like boston strong. i mean, that's what it's about. it's about keeping that number small and being able to save the
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lives of nearly 300 people in that moment of the boom. and was that because they truly had planned for something like some kind of catastrophic our planning. i mean this is now public but our planning was was a was a bomb scenario at the finish line. it was it was an explosion. i can't remember if it was a bomb. i think it was slightly different than what we saw and it was only one and the thought was what would you know, we they lucked out i was in a government again. they left out that you know, this is sort of like today. there's there's moments that you say. hey, this is help the the bombing took place at three o'clock. that is the medical switch time. you have to remember how boston marathons work. you have the elite runners run through they're done and like, you know two hours right then all the vip league all the vip vips league. so for city like boston, you know four hours into it these you know, that that's that's me but even later right these are
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the slower runners the ones who are and so a lot of the cities are back up and running right? so it's just sort of you're not in that that finish line mode, but it was a normal 3pm transition of your medical facilities. so you had double duty at the hospitals. yeah, so that's why luck. yes by luck, but they're not luck part is a triage system. that would move the least harm to rhode island or new hampshire. so we have what's called mutual aid that we test all the time with other states. so i'm moving, you know, we're moving people we're testing to move people to other states and there's a some of this can look like it's right. these are dances that that are trained and so you can put you pivot in real time because something new is going to happen, but it's not like it's foreign and that's that's the investments in that preparedness that came into that came into play at least on that monday.
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so it's not like you can't exactly predict what's going to happen, but you do enough so that people like feel that familiarity and that like i know my job or i know you had to pass the time this is actually so in the in the walking parts of the book. i described what's called the incident command system people always always look at disasters. look disasters. look crazy bad and everything looks chaotic. it is not true. almost every discipline works by something called the incident command system and if you're interested in this on a more practical level you can actually get trained for it online. there's free classes and just very quickly incident. command is just a hierarchical system. that is what we call plug and play so it it allows first responders or volunteers even with the red cross to to come into a disaster zone and know exactly what they're doing because there's different divisions there's logistics and planning and finance and sheltering and it's just looking. i think i you have a chart of it
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so you can find the chart while you're talking about she talking see if i can find it. yeah, i think the early on i'll find it. yeah, so yeah, i do share what so so important thing is have you ever wondered. i'll talk while you're looking for this before page 56. yay, so that's an incident command system. excellent. yeah, we don't do that's a very complicated one. and so just the thing to know about it is it's not just hierarchical. it's plug in place. so if you've ever wondered like you know if you're in chicago and you'll you'll hear 50 chicago firefighters are going to california to help with the wildfires and you're like, oh really? yeah and all they do. they literally get dropped into an incident command system. they're told you're in you're in division e4 dealing with supply chain and they know like literally there's no training right? no exactly what to do and it's a system that has been built up over the decade. so there is a foundation it has to be able to pivot and respond
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and that's and that's the that's the that's what you're looking at when you look at disaster management, which we're all a part of now as we saw with covid, right we we all we all we all were part of that. that risk calculation about individually school-wise, whatever what risk calculations were we going to make well, i want to ask you one last question. i think lonnie's going to come back in because i know we've had some questions from the audience. um, the last thing i would say is like, you know, you mentioned your family. how do you think about talking to your children about disasters so that they are, you know, appropriately conscientious and attentive but not over with anxiety some children are two cavalier and then some some get very very worried right so thing is they're modeling their behavior off of you. so if you are standing in front of the tv, i used to say to my girlfriends who were like jimmy's very nervous and he's seen a therapist and then like i hear my girlfriend screaming at trump on the tv, i was like,
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well, i wonder why because you're saying the world is going to hell in a handbasket or whatever your politics are. so, you know part of it. they're just modeling off of us. so the so that's why agencies is important for adults because our kids are gonna model off of it and and as i say in the book as i show the people who weather this is people who didn't have financial or physical harm from covid just people who had to act a certain way who responded the best during covid in terms of both mental and physical. adaptability there's a major longitudinal study. this will not surprise people who watch zombie movies. it's people who watch zombie movies are scary movies. why was that because they could actually accept that the harm was coming but also manage it in a way that wasn't crazy. so part of it is our kids are modeling off of us. you have to take and then on your kid yourself you have to you, you know your kid better than i do some kids worry more
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some don't my general belief. my kids are being raised in the city is that my kids know more than i think they know in terms of their vulnerabilities. so i i've been talking to them early. it doesn't hurt that it's that it's you know my job and and basically give them things to do. you can't just say, you know, mommy's gonna take care of you you want them to be responsible children as well as adults. i was not particularly strict about phones. i like having fun activity to my kids and i like them having independence. so some of it's gonna on your parenting type, you know, if you're hovering parent this is going to be different. i was i was i did that's not how i was parenting in terms of the kids ability to move around and stuff or to be around the city. so you're gonna have to make a judgment call, but my general sense is is they probably know more they're feeding off of your anxiety. so try to get rid of it and give them something to do as we say, you know, give them some give
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them agencies as well. excellent now tolani should people who? thank you gretchen great great interview so much content. i love when it's just a fire hose and you are 100% fire hose julia just love every minute of it more juliet and after hours buy a copy of the devil never sleeps. it's such a great book. there's so much in there. we've really even with everything you talked about. you're still just scratching the surface. yeah. i've come to after hours. you can ask your own questions. i know that there's gonna be, you know fan audience. there's a lot of parents and fan audience. i'm sure their ears were picking up especially towards the end as you were talking about some stuff. i was curious. i'll ask you after hours a little bit about that you seem to have a little bit more of a lenient view towards kids and phones which are a point of such high distress for so many parents and anxiety. so that's interesting that the security expert is a little bit more mellow, but i i take them when they were in the house i take them away at night. so there you know, so no because
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you're just balancing. i mean this is the thing is like as you can tell someone said, how are you in this field or how do you write about this? i'm not a like the idea that as a mother as a professional like i have made, you know, i would you know, god knows about all the mistakes that one makes but that's that's how i think about it is i'm just we're making calculations at all times. so just give yourself a break and you know, if for me it was the connectivity and the security situation right, so we we're at 7:56. we have four minutes. i have two questions. i want to get in they're both kind of biggest so pretend you're on cnn right now, and you don't have a lot of time one minute. all right, cindy and you can go neither order cindy's asking if you could just say some discussion a little bit about the war in ukraine. what what is putting you on that? and then fey is asking how do you apply this idea of approach to the environmental and climate change affects that are awaiting us in the future. so climate and ukraine ready?
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lots of the same lessons that i talk about for one. good message good messenger nothing like the righteous to get to get people organized and rallying if salinsky had left ukraine it would have been over for that country. so that's important and the second my second takeaway. there's a well quickly aside. there was a cybersecurity issue in terms of homeland security, but i'll focus on the war itself is exactly what i talk about in the book, which is like logistics, it's it's literally it's not rocket science. it's about planning and and russian and do it for its army. we're worse. the ukrainians are suffering the consequences of this as they depart in terms of the horrors that we're seeing and the war crimes but when you can't feed your troops when you can't fix their tanks when you're when you cannot keep them alive on the battlefield basic provisions, that's your strategy right and you everyone talks about putin's plan your spoon plans. he has no food for his army, right? so this is why they're
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receiving. so those are sort of two takeaways but as i say, you know righteous cause righteous righteous communications those you don't get better than that in terms of getting people galvanize in terms of the long term issues. i'm so glad someone asked that so i am absolutely you know, prepared to or wanting for the world to be better in terms of climate change. i i talk about and focus on mitigation measures on on accepting defeat in terms of what's called managed retreat or places that we can't live in anymore. but i do and i'm clear about this in the book. this book is about now this book is about not is about i can blame everyone right in the past for why we're here and i can dream of a world in which there's not going to come and which we're prepared and resilient for the climate ahead. what i really focus on is is that moment of the the truncated
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time to deal with the climate disaster the hurricane the tornado the sea water rise and then what can we do to minimize that harm? i don't i don't give up on the pastor the future. i promise you i do not and but those books have been written and i wanted to write write a very very different book. thanks for those comments. i'm gretchen i want thank you so much for such a great thoughtful interview with julia. really really? thank you for including me in the evening. i enjoyed it. yeah, really? appreciate your framing everything juliet you want to say anything as we exit. we have one that. which i'm so excited about and just want to thank lonnie and the whole team at the family. actually. i didn't know about you before the invitation and i did some research and everything you do for the community and for keeping this alive during covid and keeping us together.
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i i i'm a book writer. i'm like gretchen. we're like, i'm like one a decade right one every six or seven years grace for that once a year. so next decade. i hope the pandemic's over and i go through visit, but i do want to thank my friend aggression who's like just remarkable what she is built and what she for so many people to also make things less bad, which i think it's true. that's a that's not a bad place to be and gretchen keep us in mind with the next book comes out. you have a red got it and then ♪ >> weekends on c-span2 are an intellectual feast. every saturday american history tv documents america's story toes. and on sunday, booktv brings you the latest in nonfiction books and authors. funding for c-span2 comes from these television companies and more including charter communications. >> broadband is a force for empowerment. that's why charter has invested
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billions building infrastructure, upgrading technology, empowering opportunity in communities big and small. charter is connecting us. >> charter communications, along with these television companies, supports c-span2 as a public service. >> recently on booktv's author interview is program "after words," vince ellison argued that democratic party leaders are purposefully misleading the american public and destroying the country. here's a portion of that interview. >> guest: this is about a party that has system amatically tried to destroy this nation three straight times, slavery to confederacy to jim crow. and now they're doing it again. and it's very subtle, it's very seductive. if you depend on me, i'll give you everything you need. they're take god's place -- >> host: not prosecuting crime. >> guest: not prosecuting crime. defund the police,


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