It occurred to me a couple of weeks ago that my entire job is based on unnecessary human drama. Every part of the business has bits of unnecessary human drama.
Crime: Most crimes are a result of unnecessary human drama. Drug related crimes - totally unnecessary, totally wrapped up in unnecessary drama. Murder - almost always some form of unnecessary drama. Theft. Burglary. Assault - in all of its forms. All based in unnecessary human drama.
Investigation: Initial response - Police officer feels insecure. She yells at people. He prejudges people. They haul two african american men out of a starbucks. They often times make the situation worse, thanks in large part to unnecessary human drama. Investigation - Detective gets a notion in his head. He wants to make his career on a big case. She makes the case more than it likely should have been. They insert their personal narrative into the unfolding facts. They create drama.
Prosecution: DA is elected. She needs a big win. She puts points on the board every time she can, not because it's just, but because she wants to be "tough on crime." She wants to be a judge one day. Gotta get elected again. I could go on and on. I've met some amazing District Attorneys. Thoughtful and caring people who want to do good. Unfortunately, it only takes one or two drama queens to cast the lot of them as a dubious bunch.
Defense: Young lawyer wants to try cases. Need's some court room experience. She encourages her client to decline a good offer. He parades in front of the mirror practicing her his best Fredrick March impersonation. He's got on his three piece suit and two-toned wingtips. He's more interested in looking the part than doing the best for his client. They create drama.
Defense Investigation: Investigator inflates his role in the process. He regales folk with his tales of saving the day. He adopts the drama of others to make his life seem more interesting. She affects an air of jaded-I'm-so-weary-of-this-work to imply that she's seen it all. We absorb the drama around us.
Media: Local media is - by and large - a drama factory. I watched in disgust as a young reporter attend and witness an execution. She did her stand up in front of the Death House in Huntsville, TX. She wore a very serious and ernest air. "This is terribly important information," her stance implied. She filmed the executed man's family leaving the facility. Effective B-Roll as she informed her audience that they, the family of the recently dispatched, refused to be interviewed. The whole scene was obscene. I know the young thespian-parading-as-journalist. There was no reason on earth for her to witness a life being extinguished. It was an act of voyeurism, nothing more. "Hey y'all, see how we deal with criminals down here!? We snuffed the shit outa that life. And I got to see it. Woo hooo." She crafted her own drama out of other peoples lives.
The thing is: If every actor in the tale - the victim, the alleged criminal, the cop, the detective, the DA, the defense attorney, the investigator, the media - if each of them would take a breath, stop, consider, be thoughtful, be kind, be honest, be self-award, they might just be able to avoid the drama. At least some of it.
In every office, every school, every relationship, every team, there are countless chances to add to the drama. As my pal Bubba once said, "Don't buy into the drama." I'm gonna take that a step further and suggest that we make efforts to limit drama - unnecessary human drama.