Suddenly I understood why Bridgette was freaking out.

Note: This email is about trauma.  It covers incidents that may be hard to read. It also includes a swear word. It was the first month of the pandemic. Our shelter had already lost three residents to Covid and had seven more confirmed cases. The State of Illinois gave us a hotel to use for […]

The Neuroscience of Will Smith

You can learn about de-escalation by watching the Will Smith / Chris Rock incident at the 2022 Academy Awards. Quick summary: Will Smith slapped Chris Rock on stage after Chris Rock made a joke about Will Smith’s wife. Today I want to look at Will Smith’s brain when Chris Rock insulted Jada Pinkett Smith and, […]

Are you overwhelmed?

I am having more conversations lately with people who are utterly overwhelmed. I have my theories. Two of them are: The makeup of homelessness has changed because Covid “activated” a lot of mental illness.  Consequently, there are simply more people in active episodes of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder right now. The “labor shortage” is stressing […]

A police chief’s take on police violence.

On Thursday I am doing a live interview with Kristen Ziman, the retired police chief of Aurora, Illinois. Last week’s email (which can be found HERE), was her account of the mass shooting that happened a few years ago in Aurora. I have always appreciated Chief Ziman’s ability to speak openly and honestly about tough […]

A police chief’s account of a mass shooting.

On February 15, 2019, Aurora, Illinois had a mass shooting that left six people dead and six injured (including five police officers). The shooting happened less than one mile from Hesed House, the homeless shelter where I have worked for the last two decades. Kristen Ziman was Chief of Police at the time. Her wife […]

That time I got arrested in Zimbabwe.

Note:  I don’t have a practical de-escalation lesson for this story…  Honestly, I just wanted to tell this story… I had just flown to Zimbabwe by myself to volunteer with a human rights organization. Their secretary picked me up at the airport. As we were leaving Harare (the capital city), we stopped so I could […]