Tom Garrity

The Family on the Train

In Life on January 20, 2019 at 10:45 pm

tomtrainsnap1As a part of my Christmas holiday travel, I worked in a trip on the Amtrak.

This was my fourth long haul train trip, first on the Texas Eagle (Fort Worth to Chicago, about 23 hours of travel). While the trip
itself wasn’t memorable, by design.  The people on the train (and the views) are always what makes it worthwhile for my travel taste.

On this trip, the passengers who made the 23 hours memorable are people I never formally met.  They were located two cabins behind me, a family of five. It included an adolescent  son, an elementary school aged daughter and an infant.  The husband is cordial,  has tattoos and looks like he enjoys the time with weights.  The wife is medically skinny with very short hair which is sometimes covered with a ski cap. As we approached Chicago she sported a new wig.

tomtrainsnap3Their chatter, disagreements and laughter is typical family stuff. They were traveling to  to visit family.  I don’t know where they boarded the train, they were already on when I boarded in Fort Worth.  My guess, they got on the train in Los Angeles.

Their morning ritual was not unlike other families and included the mom asking the son and daughter to get ready for the day.  Sometimes, repeating the desired tasking multiple times.  After a consecutive insistence, the son tapped his inner adolescence and decided to challenge the requests to brush his teeth.  The tension overflowed and got into areas that really had nothing to do with brushing teeth.  The son made some comment about is mom’s medical condition and the large number of pills she needs to take.  He commented how their family is really are putting a lot of hope in how those pills can change her per assumed fate. The mom share the need to give her body a two
week rest before resuming the regimen.  It was just enough time for the family to claim some kind of normalcy in the midst of the medical chaos.

The tone changed.  Silence fell. A short time later the son went to brush his teeth.

tomtrainsnap2The rest of the time, was filled with typically family travel stuff with tears being prompted by fatigue and roller coaster anticipation of getting tho their destination.

While the family was engaged in a game, passing time before arriving in Chicago, the son with celebrated anticipation proclaimed “mom, your gonna win!”  Her response was “I just want to keep playing.”

Don’t we all.

Verizon meet Epictetus

In Crisis Communication, Messaging, Reputation on December 28, 2018 at 2:31 pm

Screen Shot 2018-12-28 at 6.28.00 AMMost of us have never heard of the stoic Greek philosopher Epictetus.  His “Epic” proverb is cited by many public relation practitioners: “It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.”

At the time of this writing (7am, December 28, 2018), Verizon Wireless is in the midst of a nationwide outage.  Verizon is the largest mobile phone/data services provider in the country.  There has been plenty of news coverage documenting this problem which started to surface two days ago.

Verizon meet Epictetus.

I get it, Verizon is not able to communicate with its customers using its proprietary system because Verizon’s service is down. But it can still communicate with its customers.

For some reason, perhaps in an effort to protect the “brand”, Verizon is not leveraging its “owned media” to update customers.  Their website and four verified twitter accounts are all silent on blackout. Here are their verified IDs (Screen captures below, you can’t make this stuff up):
https://twitter.com/VerizonSupport
https://twitter.com/verizon
https://twitter.com/VZWSupport
https://twitter.com/VerizonNews
https://www.verizonwireless.com

It is hard to believe that they don’t have a crisis communications protocol on how to update customers in the event of a service outage.  My power provider PNM is pretty good about providing updates via its website and twitter (and yes text message).

Verizon’s silence is deafening.

As a customer this is concerning.

As a father whose daughters use Verizon Wireless for emergency situations (like a rare blizzard warning today in Albuquerque) this silence insane!

“…how you react to it that matters.”

Verizon, I am not seeing it.

The Garrity Perception Survey 2018: The Law

In Reputation on November 30, 2018 at 3:00 pm

Screen Shot 2018-11-23 at 1.35.13 PMNew Mexico’s legal system is ripe with opportunity to gauge public opinion when compared to community conversations.

The Garrity Perception Survey measures four areas related to the New Mexico legal and justice system.  It includes favorability of the courts and justice system as well as measures trust of judges, lawyers and law enforcement officers.

Favorability of the courts and trust of lawyers do well to hover in the lower quarter of favorability.  Based on a seven-year statewide average, the courts system averages 26 percent favorability and lawyers average 21 percent favorability. Geographically, the two areas are hard pressed to find any pockets of significant support in any part of the state. It is safe to say that despite some very good people and qualified professionals, favorability of the court and trust of attorneys is difficult to increase given awareness of high crime rates, drunk drivers and repeat offenders.

Interestingly, while New Mexico residents are not favorable of the courts they are trusting of its officers, the judges.  An 18 percent gap exists between trust of judges and favorability of the courts.  Geographically, judges have higher trust among residents living in the Eastern and South/Southwestern parts of the state.

Police officers and law enforcement officers are the most trusted when compared with their two counterparts, judges and lawyers. However, New Mexico residents didn’t always have this level of trust (a 49 percent average) of police officers.

In 2013 and 2014, a series of high profile incidents captured local, statewide and national attention.

In 2013, the New Mexico State Police pulled over a van carrying the suspect and her five children.  After the second time the driver tried to speed away, officers fired three shots at the van’s tires. The police dash-cam video captured the exchange which made national coverage.  The officers were cleared of the shooting as a judge said they were justified to shoot at the tires.

Also, in 2013, the Deming Police Department and the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office conducted a full cavity search on a person who was pulled over for allegedly for not coming to a full stop at a stop sign in a Walmart parking lot.

In 2014, the Albuquerque Police Department was involved in the fatal shooting of a homeless man who also suffered from mental disorders. After the shooting, the suspect was found to have knives in each hand.  The incident was one of several officer involved shootings faced by the department in as many months.

The APD shootings captured the media attention and attracted attention of the United States Justice Department.  Police Chief Gordon Eden, an experienced law man and relatively new to his role as police chief, led changes to the force.  With the help of the Mayor and Albuquerque City Council, the Civilian Police Oversight Agency was established.

These actions helped to rebuild trust among Albuquerque residents which in turn increased trust of police offices statewide.

Screen Shot 2018-11-23 at 1.35.44 PMMore information and analysis of this information is available online at www.garrityperceptionsurvey.com.