Rethink Your Risk Analysis
Over the past month or so, there have been several stunning examples of systemic failures in our society, all of which resulted in significant damage but could have been much worse. I would like to take a look at three such systemic failures and offer you the opportunity to rethink certain aspects of your risk analysis.
The three cases are the Jan. 6 attack on the United States Capitol, the mid-February Texas power failure and the Gamestop short squeeze on Wall Street. I would note that as all of these events are relatively recent, any discussion of the root causes of these failures is to some extent premature and based only on information that has been made public thus far. Nonetheless, I believe there are already some important lessons we can take away from these events.
The Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol resulted in six deaths and 140 police officers injured and could have been much worse if the attackers had penetrated the chambers where senators and representatives were in session before they were evacuated. Recently there were hearings in which certain key players in the Capitol police force testified. I heard two key things: The risk assessment was not conveyed to those who were responsible for protecting the Capitol on Jan. 6, and there seemed to be a lot of bureaucracy and politics in the decision-making process that resulted in slow and ineffective decision making in the midst of the crisis.