DHS Active Shooter Poster

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) offers a wealth of materials on Ready.gov to assist Americans in preparing for—and responding to—various kinds of emergencies. Among them is guidance for dealing with an active shooter situation: “RUN, HIDE, FIGHT.” If you ever find yourself in the middle of a shooting, DHS advises that you should “RUN and escape, if possible,” “HIDE, if escape is not possible,” and “FIGHT as an absolute last resort.”

It’s not bad advice. It’s punchy, much like the unforgettable guidance that we “STOP, DROP, and ROLL” if we ever find ourselves on fire. It is practical and smart. If you learn the details of DHS’s guidance and marry it to the punchy slogan, and then you remember and follow that guidance in an emergency, you will probably survive. But it is worth remembering that our government does not have a great track record in its guidance for dealing with rare and high-profile crimes. Advice that seems perfectly sane and rational can sometimes be harmful in situations that are by nature insane and irrational.

Before the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, federal Hijacking Survival Guidelines said, “Do not challenge the hijackers physically or verbally. Comply with their instructions. Do not struggle or try to escape unless you are absolutely certain of success.” It seemed like good advice at the time. And that’s exactly what the passengers on American Flight 11, United Flight 175, and American Flight 77 did. It’s what I almost certainly would have done too. And, with twenty-twenty hindsight, we now know it was the wrong thing to do. . . . Continued

Primary elections for the Democratic and Republican parties will be held on June 12, 2018. Off on a Tangent is making recommendations to party primary voters in each contested state- and federal-level primary race in Virginia.

Political parties are private organizations that should not have any official standing in our political system, but Democratic and Republican primaries are held by the Virginia Department of Elections and are funded by Virginia taxpayers. The purpose of a party primary should be for members of that party to choose who will represent them on the general election ballot. Virginia, however, has an absurd “open primary” system where any registered voter may vote in any one (but not more than one) each year.

Both the Republican and Democratic parties are making some of their nominations at party conventions; this series of recommendations only applies to primaries and caucuses. The Libertarian Party, which currently qualifies as a major party under the Tangent style guide (section 10.70), nominates all of its candidates in party conventions and is not holding any primaries or caucuses.
. . . Continued

Since 2004, I have published political endorsements (and occasional non-endorsements) here on Off on a Tangent for every general and special election in which I have been eligible to vote. These have been long-form, in-depth articles that feature a complete overview of the candidates or issues of the race and a detailed explanation of what choices I endorse and why. These endorsement articles will continue as before.

But beginning this year, I will be expanding my political coverage to include brief “recommendations” in races and elections beyond my typical endorsement scope. . . . Continued

Manifesto of an Employee-Owner

Owning Plexus

An Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) sounds great on paper, but how well does it work in practice? That depends on whether the company’s leaders embrace an ownership culture, trust their employee-owners, commit to big ideas, and make smart decisions.

In 2009, Scott Bradford was an employee-owner at Plexus Scientific Corporation, an ESOP that had gone badly awry. He tried to save it. He failed.

“Owning Plexus” was an unheeded warning—an effort to identify and solve the company’s problems before they became insurmountable. But while it may be too late for Plexus, it is not too late for other businesses to benefit from a renewed focus on a culture of ownership.

Buy Now for $2.99

Additional Information

For April Fools Day 2017, in light of increased public concern about Internet privacy, Off on a Tangent displayed a new privacy request on page-load . . . requesting very absurd and exaggerated permissions. You can view that request by clicking here. Here is the explanatory announcement that appeared on the site itself:

Off on a Tangent is adopting a new, updated privacy policy. Your privacy is important. Visitors to the site will now be presented with a window explaining what user information we collect, and you will need to explicitly grant us permission to collect that information before being allowed access to Off on a Tangent content.

We want to be completely transparent, and give you full control over your data. You can trust us. Don’t worry about anything.