February 6, 2024

Harry Dunn and Bob Delaney | Transforming Trauma into Action

Thomas is joined by author, political candidate, and former US Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn, and author, consultant, and advocate for post-trauma awareness, Bob Delaney. They discuss the trauma faced by public servants, including those in law enforcement, and what can be done to foster healing and end cultural stigmas around therapy and mental health challenges.

Harry opens up about how he’s channeling his anger from a traumatic experience into positive action for change. He explains how his willingness to be open about his struggles has been instrumental in his healing and is now an inspiration for others. All three agree that vulnerability comes from a place of strength, not weakness, and they explore how we can create safe, judgment-free environments where those who have experienced trauma can feel comfortable opening up and receiving help.

Point of Relation podcast does not support or oppose candidates for public office or political parties. Guest appearances do not imply endorsement by the host or producers.

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“When someone is insecure I blame the world, not the person.”

- Harry Dunn

Guest Information

Harry Dunn

Harry Dunn joined the United States Capitol Police in 2008, and since 2011 has served with the rank of Private First Class. He has been on duty for presidential inaugurations, joint sessions of Congress, State of the Union addresses as well as hundreds of peaceful protests and demonstrations. As a Crisis Intervention Officer on the USCP Crisis Negotiation Team, he is trained to respond to hostage or barricade situations and assisting individuals who may be experiencing a mental crisis. He speaks candidly about the trauma he experienced as well as the larger sociopolitical and historical significance of the events he witnessed. A prominent and essential voice, Officer Dunn shares his first-hand experience with audiences that include government groups, law enforcement, mental health professionals, colleges and universities, and community organizations.

For more information, visit harrydunnforcongress.com

Bob Delaney

Bob Delaney is an author and an advocate for post-trauma awareness. He has worked with the military, law enforcement, firefighters, first responders, healthcare workers, and many others by providing post-trauma awareness and education. His contributions to PTSD awareness and support to military officials and their families have been recognized with honors and proclamations from many, including President Barack Obama and senior-ranking military leaders. He consults globally on leadership, resiliency, trauma, and self-care.

For more information, visit delaneyconsultants.com

Notes & Resources

Key points from this episode include:

  • How traumatic events affect different people differently, and the harm in comparing traumas
  • The need for more public figures to be honest about their trauma and how that can help inspire people to seek help
  • What should change in the way that law enforcement agencies perceive and address the mental health of their members
  • The value of normalizing therapy so that more people have a foundation to work from before they experience trauma
  • Why law enforcement officers need to model proper behavior and serve their communities with respect


Episode Transcript

Thomas Hübl: Welcome to the Point of Relation. My name is Thomas. This is my podcast and I am very excited to be sitting here with Harry Dunn and Bob Delaney. So first of all, warm welcome to both of you.

Bob Delaney: Thank you.

Harry Dunn: Thank you. Glad to be here with you.

Thomas: Let’s start. Bob, we had already had a series of conversations. And then in the last conversation, you said, oh, you need to talk to Harry, so I said yes. Maybe you’ll introduce the conversation a little bit – why did it come up for you? How did you two meet? And then we go a little bit deeper. 

Bob: Yeah. Thomas, you and I have spoken about my background in law enforcement and the trauma that I experienced. And I make it a practice that when things happen around the world, I try to reach out to those who are going through trauma. And obviously, Harry, the Capitol Police officer on January 6th who is so well known, I reached out to him. I sent him some of my books, and about a month or two later, after I sent the books I was driving in my car and I got a call from an unknown number, and it was Harry. And I said to him, you know, I’ve been around Michael Jordan, and I’ve been around Magic Johnson and all those guys when I was during the course of my NBA career. But I was so excited to be speaking with Harry because he’s the most genuine human being that I have been around. 

And as a fellow law enforcement officer, to share his experiences from that day, to help us all understand more about trauma and more about the world that we’re all a part of, we just connected. I invited Harry to spend some time with me at TAPS, and he spoke to the families of the Gold Star soldiers who had passed, as well as those who care for them. His story and his way of telling his story are so compelling and it’s so relatable to what we all experience. It may not be the same kind of experience, but there are a lot of similarities to going through trauma. And that’s why I thought that it was just such a great meet for you two guys to get together and have this conversation. 

Thomas: Thank you for connecting us.

Harry: No, no, no, Bob, thank you, that’s too kind. I don’t consider myself to be this person that a man is starstruck. I’m just a regular guy, man. And I just want to talk to people. People can talk about my trauma and everything like that is no more, no less than somebody else’s trauma, no matter what that event is. Because we all handle things differently. You know what? I’ll put it like this to make it a little more understandable. I have coworkers who were there on January 6 that are completely fine, and that went through some of the worse stuff that I went through. And they’re okay. They appear to be okay. They tell me they’re okay. So it’s not good to compare trauma at all. 

I think that the minute you start comparing it, it diminishes your trauma or somebody else’s. We’re not here to do that. We all need to be there for each other. And the main thing, I guess the takeaway is that it’s okay to not be okay. And we all need to acknowledge that. 

Thomas: That’s very true. Maybe Harry, you want to tell us a little bit when you say your coworkers feel fine and you felt more affected by trauma, in your job as a law enforcement officer, what was your experience? I am also curious, how did it feel to start speaking about it? 

Because in my conversations with Bob, we had a very open dialog. Bob is very authentically open with it. I know you are too, but not everybody dares to speak up. Many people see their trauma as a weakness, as a limitation, as a shortcoming. So maybe you can speak a little bit about both. How did it affect you and how come you were open to speak about it, not hide it, not try to suppress it? 

Harry: I wrote a book. It came out on October 24th. It’s called “Standing My Ground” and it talks about everything that happened on January 6th and then my fight for accountability afterward and all that. And it talks about the trauma that I went through and the emotional toll that everything has had on me and this emotional rollercoaster that I’ve been on. 

In the book, I talk about why I was comfortable telling people that I was going to therapy and where that came from. And I think in the book I talk about it started out as a young age. I was in counseling and therapy as an eighth grader, as a seventh grader, so I started at a young age. So my family normalized it for me. So I thought it was normal for people to go to counselors and talk about their problems and things when they’re not okay. However, I know that that’s not the norm, so to speak. That’s not the norm. But for me, it was. So that’s why I don’t think I had a problem speaking out about it. 

Also, I like to joke about it, people get teased about going to therapy. You’re not strong, you’re weak, you’re crying. You’re such a weak person. And, you know, Bob will tell you my stature. I’m a six-foot-seven, 350-pound man, and I think I use that to my advantage. You know, if you want to see weak, you make fun of me again when I’m crying. I say that jokingly, but maybe my stature, I don’t feel the need to I guess I’m not insecure, I guess, which a lot of people do, and I don’t see that in a bad way. When I say somebody may be insecure, I blame the world, not the person, because the world is a very cruel place and people should be able to comfortably express their feelings and have their feelings any and everywhere –without the fear of being teased or belittled, or ridiculed just because they’re experiencing something bad right now. 

Thomas: First of all, I absolutely agree. And it’s beautiful and I think it’s a great message and I know your books do that. And I think that message needs to go out further and further to reach more and more people that see always that this shortcoming is actually something precious that I can work through and grow. When you have been affected, maybe you want to speak a little bit about how that showed up for you. And also what changed through your therapy, like how did you experience the healing process? 

Harry: So I may surprise you a little bit with this when we talk about the healing process. My journey is a little bit different. I used my anger, my hurt, and my trauma to fuel me into action which is where I am now. Speaking out and fighting, righting a wrong that happened. 

This may come as a surprise to you, but I came to the conclusion in one of my therapy sessions not too long ago that I am scared to heal. It’s because I don’t want to lose this passion, this fire that I have, and I feel like healing will bring a sense of closure. And I don’t want that right now. So it’s kind of like I’m using my anger and my hurt that I’m channeling it for good, which I don’t think it’s a bad thing, right? You know, because I’m using it for good. It’s going to exist. The hurt is going to exist and the trauma is going to exist. But I think that’s where a lot of people struggle. They just have it. And they let those feelings just sit with them. There’s no good that can come of it. But when you channel that anger towards good towards action, that’s kind of like turning lemons into lemonade. 

Thomas: So how are you channeling how you can describe the process? How does it help you to make it a force of good for the world? 

Harry: Yeah, it’s motivating. It’s motivating because, to be specific, January 6th, the attack at the US Capitol is what my incident was and, I don’t want to get political or talk about politics more, talk about healing and trauma. But that’s motivating me. What happened that day and everything that’s happening afterward – to fight back against the individuals that hurt us, not necessarily physically fight back. No. But to fight back, like running for office, speaking on the news or writing my book, putting my truth out there, speaking truth to power is what I like to say. So I think it’s very important that individuals hone in on their traumas and embrace them. Don’t run away from them, embrace them and learn how to turn them into a good situation. 

Thomas: Right. You’re speaking about one very important part of the healing process: turning the trauma back into an agency, feeling I have agency and I can impact a life again. Yeah, that’s very powerful.

Bob, anything that comes up for you as you listen to Harry?

Bob: There’s so much that when Harry speaks, it’s such a story and a willingness to be gut-honest about what he experienced. He uses the word motivating, what he’s also doing is motivating, inspiring others, and allowing people to tell their story. Because he’s being so honest, he’s giving permission to have this conversation. So that’s what I find so powerful in him sharing his thoughts. But also Harry speaks about his size. And when you are in Harry’s presence, he is a big man. He is six foot seven, 300-some pounds. He’s an intimidating figure. What I think comes is also what I’ve heard from soldiers. I’ve heard soldiers say that if people see them and they see the wounds of the Iraq or Afghanistan wars, the IED is visible. And so the visible wounds, people feel for them. And they also feel they could be invisible. 

But that full-bodied, strong soldier who comes home. He or she is looked upon as being fine on the inside because they’re fine on the outside. When you see Harry and his willingness to be vulnerable, it’s inspiring to others. And that’s why I think that this story has so many layers to it. But to me, that strikes me when he speaks. 

Harry: No, I just think that when he said the invisible wounds part that is so major and I’ll be specific. I was fortunate, and I use that word loosely, to not suffer physical injuries on the day of January 6th. And a lot of my coworkers did. You know, I got a couple of pepper spray, maybe a scuffed-up knuckle or something. But I had officers that had broken limbs and separated shoulders and it was a lot worse for some of them than it was for me. Anyway, like I said, but I saw that, like, I saw that happening to my coworkers. And that vivid image is something that I can’t lose, I can’t get out of my mind. That’s like an invisible wound. Physically, I went back to the Capitol to work the next day because physically I could do the job, but mentally I wasn’t there. 

Thomas: Maybe you can describe a little bit because it’s interesting how in general law enforcement officers, on a broader spectrum, not just related to January 6th, how is the approach or how is the way trauma is usually being dealt with? And maybe you both are an example to maybe bring about change, which I think you’re doing actively or so. So how is the regular way and maybe what’s the development that that you see is possible or is maybe happening? 

Harry: I’ll speak specifically to what I know and I’m sure Bob probably has a different perspective. But as police officers, what are we? Police officers are public servants, and they are there to help the people. So their job is to not be out there getting help. They’re the helpers. So officers don’t go there looking about: Help me, help me, help me. So a lot of times police officers put everybody else first and they don’t take care of themselves. And I don’t know if it’s because, as you said, society has programmed or is this type A personality that a lot of them have that I’m a tough guy and everything’s okay. It’s not healthy. It’s not healthy. And I’ll use the famous example that everybody talks about in the airplanes. You know, like when the mask falls down at the cabin, the pressure goes down. They say, put your mask on first and then help everybody else. So it’s kind of like not being able to pour from a cup or a glass. There is no water in it. So you have to take care of yourself before you can take care of others. And I think healthy (physically and emotionally) police officers make the best police officers.

Bob: Yeah. I would add that I think that many times law enforcement officers, military, firefighters, and those who serve or wear a uniform, when they put the uniform on, they kind of think they can leap tall buildings in a single bound, because of what Harry is referring to is the uniform and the camaraderie of that uniform gives you a power, and it gives you a camaraderie that makes you feel you can handle things. 

And yet what I have found over the years in the work that I’ve done and what I went through is that many times you’re afraid to have the conversation, because if you have the conversation, you may look weak to another trooper, another military member, or another police officer. In my case, I was afraid that if I spoke that way, they wouldn’t want to work with me. They wouldn’t want to go on patrol with me if and after, I would be honest about my experiences. 

The other area that I think is of concern is that there’s a lot of self-medication that takes place to deaden the pain. So drinking more than you should, in some cases, knowing about police officers who have used drugs to get them through those kinds of situations. And those are areas that we have to be aware of and how this can impact an individual, and then the family members as well, and their friends. And so it’s not just the individual that’s going through this. There’s such an impact in that wave that goes out. 

I like to use, you know, we all use so many different analogies. I like to use earthquakes. There’s the epicenter of an earthquake, and then there’s tremors that go out for hours, days, weeks later. And that’s the same thing with traumatic events. Harry was in the center of that epicenter. He was in that trauma. But those around Harry, the family and friends, they’re concerned, they’re worried, all those kinds of things are impacting all of us. And so this has to be holistic. It can’t just be about the individual. It has to be about all that is taking place and then awareness of the physiology of this as well. 

All too often we just speak about the emotional, and psychological but there is the physiology. After doing the undercover work that I did for that long period of time, I was really good at doing that kind of work. But when I would leave the mob guys and get away from, the Mafia two miles down the road, I have to pull over and throw my guts out, or find the first gas station I could find, because I had diarrhea, but yet to be able to say what I just said very freely to you guys – it took me years upon years to get there. 

Thomas: So what did both of you find the most helpful coming from your environment that you felt was a real support? When you look at you both went through different but also traumatic stories like what’s the most helpful that you felt? And maybe it is a different thing that we feel is helpful. But what was that for you? I think that gives us a little bit of direction also what we all do because we are all ecosystems for each other. So maybe you can speak a little bit about what was helpful for you?

Harry: I think honestly, I got to go back and attribute it to my upbringing. That’s what, I guess, set the foundation for me to be able to speak freely about my emotions. However, as an adult, you grow and you experience the world no matter what. You were in the world and still exist in the world, and the persuasion of the world is strong. And these forces in the world, no matter what your upbringing, will tend to test you and make you question the way you were brought up. That faith in my mind remained strong. However, there were times when I was criticized by individuals for speaking out or appearing weak. And, you know, I cried on national television with millions of people watching me, tears running down my face. The world is cruel that they created memes of me as a crybaby and like all this stuff. But I was unmoved because I had to focus on the individuals who actually got it and the people that I helped. 

Helping one person is more than enough for me. But it was helpful for me. And that’s what you got to realize. You got to see the bigger picture. And that’s kind of like where I was able to block out the noise. And I use this example a lot. Just say, you have a new shirt on, right? You love that shirt that you have and you think it’s great. Like, oh everybody look at this shirt. Isn’t this beautiful? And you go to all your friends down the street and your friends are saying you’re whoa, that shirt is made. Oh, Bob, where’d you get that shirt? Oh, man, I got to tell my wife to give me one like that. And all of your friends are in love with it. And then you come to the 10th person, and person number ten says that is a hideous shirt, why are you wearing that? You forget all about the other nine people that just meant the world to you, and you focus on that one individual. We do that so much, and that’s what I had to focus on when I had to focus on the people who actually mattered, the people that I was helping and not the people who weren’t interested at all in doing anything except for antagonizing, just making fun of people. So you have to focus on the individuals that matter. Because there are a lot more people out there that can use you than the ones that want to make fun of you. 

Bob: What’s so great is whenever you have conversations just like this, you learn so much more about each other. I did not know that Harry was in therapy early on, and so that normalized that. And so think of the leg up that he has. I was very fortunate, the first leaders of my life sat across the dining room table. And so my mother and father were models for me. And then I was truly raised by a village with my grandparents, aunts and uncles, and family members and people in the community having such an influence. I think that stabilized that. 

So those things in my life that were in the past are like what Harry referred to. 

And then the training that I got when I went through the State Police Academy. You learn and understand right from wrong. When I was undercover on the street, I told people: “If you stay in the toilet long enough, you’re going to start to stink.” And the street is a toilet. And you’re around a lot of bad, your morality can change. What I saw as a bad guy when I was undercover was the only people who were putting bullets on people’s heads. The other guys were just making a living. They were stealing. They were doing what. But I wouldn’t have had that same thought about them when I was a uniformed state trooper. I would have thought they were criminals, but I changed because I got to know them as individuals. And also I was part of that environment. And so that morality starts to have a change in you and you start to start going it’s only because of those things of sitting across the dining room table, of being around people that gave me an understanding of a true moral code that kept me centered. And I think that I hear in Harry’s story, and I think that there is part of that in all of our stories about bringing us back to that center. 

Thomas: It’s beautiful. And also when I listen to you both and also to what you said, Harry, before, like being able to cry on television in front of many people – I think in the inner development work, we know, for example, when somebody is really scared, they don’t say that they’re scared. 

Harry: Yeah. 

Thomas: Somebody needs to feel safe enough to be able to say, I’m scared. So to be able to show emotions publicly needs a lot of inner strength. So it’s actually the other way around when you really look at inner strength, it is the capacity to show emotions. But to stay in oneself, connected to oneself, that is true strength. 

Harry: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I was just going to say sorry, I didn’t mean to cut you off. That just reminded me so much of the phrase that vulnerability takes so much strength. Like, you got to be a strong person to be vulnerable. So I give all the credit in the world to the people who have the ability and the fortitude to show vulnerability because it’s not easy by a long shot. And I think that we don’t give ourselves enough credit. We do that when we complete a task or we do that. But a lot of times, just surviving in this cruel world – we need to give ourselves credit for making it through. We need to give ourselves Hey. Good job. Pat yourself on the back. That was good. And it’s not easy at all. 

Thomas: Yeah I completely agree. Vulnerability needs a lot of strength. So what both of you can say about supporting your colleagues, supporting law enforcement officers, supporting military personnel. What do you see as the next steps, given what you went through and also would you work through would be actually an amazing development. What are the next steps that are needed to implement more of it? 

Harry: This is where I struggle because I’m not sure because everybody is different. There’s no one-size-fits-all method to dealing with trauma or getting somebody to open up about their trauma. They do it when they’re ready. That’s what the number one rule is. You can’t force somebody to talk about something. But what you can do is foster an environment to make an individual feel comfortable and know that they won’t be ridiculed, judged, or made fun of because they did share with you something that takes vulnerability. 

I don’t know, outside of just being there, what more can be done? That’s why we need to find that out. We need to. Like I’ve said before, there’s no new phrase, there’s no new program, there’s no method to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health. All the phrases have been said, all that is unknown. We just need more people to say it. You know, we need to make it cool to be an ally for mental health. We need to make it cool. That’s the only thing that I could come up with. I mean, there are millions of therapy programs, and, you know, all these things that surround mental health and the crisis hotline. They make it easier to talk to somebody when somebody is contemplating suicide. You know, there’s all these different things that people have done, but we just need to make it normal or more accepted where somebody doesn’t feel like I’m not strong, I can’t talk to anybody. 

Bob: I agree 100%. Thomas, the work that you do is keeping it in the forefront. Harry’s doing the same thing. I’m doing the same thing. The more that we continue to have this conversation, it’s important. I also think that we’re in a period of time where those who have authority, our questions, we have so many conspiracy theories in our society. But I also have optimism because I grew up during the Vietnam era, and that was the war that I could potentially have become part of – friends of mine when they came home, some did not come home, and some came home different. But if we recall, and you know the history, our military troops were vilified during that period of time. And yet today we honor, thank, and support them. And so there was a transfer of how we were handling things. And I think that will take place. 

What we have to do is model proper authority behavior as law enforcement officers, we cannot be bullies with a badge we cannot take and think that because we wear a uniform or have a badge, we get to be disrespectful. I was taught by an old-time senior guy when I first went on the job who said, that just because you have that badge in uniform doesn’t mean you get to be disrespectful or demeaning to folks. And you will truly know when you’re a professional. When they say thank you, when you give them a ticket or you arrest them, they’re not saying thank you for what you did, they’re saying thank you for how you treated them. 

When we are able to do that and model that as law enforcement throughout the world, that’s where I think the change will come. And we have to continue to preach that. And guys like Harry and guys that he worked with are willing to be honest about what they experienced that day on January 6th, and no different than a police officer who experiences something that is not in the public eye, but is still having that same level of fear and concern of what’s going on. And how do we process that so it doesn’t turn into the anger of hurting others, but doing what Harry does and turning it into taking his anger into motivation for the good of our society? 

Harry: Definitely, definitely. I said this when we first opened about comparing traumas, that can be problematic too, you know, a lot of individuals would say, oh, no, this person lost their mother, or this person lost both of their parents. And I just sit here and my dog just died. They say, no way that I can say anything. It was just my dog. They lost both their parents. And meanwhile, that’s a comparison. And now they’re minimizing the trauma that they went through. No, both of those traumas exist and both of them are valid. Uh, we just have to stop. We can’t compare each other’s trauma because it’s not a competition. What is this – a Who Can Hurt The Most Competition? No. We want everybody to be well, we want everybody to be happy. And we should all be striving to lend that support system to each other while we’re at our lowest points at times. 

Thomas: I think this is so important. I mean, many things you both said right now, but I think also that taking out the competition and seeing the trauma is very subjective. I cannot judge your trauma. I can only listen to you and learn from you about how you experience things and vice versa. And we respect each other and the pain that we carry. I think that’s a great message for the world. And also what I heard is, it creates a nonjudgmental environment. How do we create environments for people to feel safer, to share, and to speak up? And we create nonjudgmental environments that seem to be very powerful. 

What I also heard from you, Harry, is you said it short at the beginning, but to have a childhood that gives you a good base and I think that’s really an important message also for all of us, how important that phase in our life is that creates a base for how we meet challenges later as grown-ups. It doesn’t mean that then we cannot experience trauma, but we have a different base from which it happens. Many people don’t have that base. 

Harry: But yeah, even though even though people don’t have that base, it’s still attainable, because you know, that there’s just like individuals that say, oh, you came from a two-parent home, you’re good. But there are people that come from two-parent households that are good and are people that come from single-parent households and turn out to be the most amazing people you’ve ever met. So you can’t judge that. But it helps, like for me, with the foundation of experience in therapy and counseling as a child, that helped me and, like I said, there’s no one recipe or one cure for all types of trauma. You have to deal with it on a one-by-one basis. And that’s what helped me. And maybe it helps somebody else. 

We have got to stop trying to fit everything in one size fits all thing. That’s a bad recipe for disaster. Not only because it doesn’t work but because an individual who is subjected to that might feel that they are inadequate because they didn’t heal, because they were supposed to heal, because somebody else told them this worked for them. So now somebody who did it, “Hey, man, I still feel like crap. Maybe I’m just permanently broken.” They may have that feeling because it didn’t work for them. No, you’re valid. You matter. You’re worthy. But we need to find out how we treat you specifically. 

Thomas: That’s very beautiful. 

Bob: Dr. Richard Mollica who’s the director of the Harvard Global Mental Health Trauma Recovery. I was a student of his. He’s a mentor,  a friend. His very simple statement: “Trauma is inescapable in life.” And it’s such a true statement. We’re all susceptible to trauma. Those who serve are in the higher risk group because of the work they do. Law enforcement, military, firefighters, health care workers – trauma comes in the front door of the hospital to them. Knowing that that is a true statement, each one of us is susceptible to trauma. And so our willingness to be able to have these conversations.

I think this is what you both have heard, I’ll use it one more time. But if I had a large balloon, how do I get the air out of the balloon? I take a pen and pop it. I get the air out, but I don’t have the balloon anymore. If I let it go, it goes all over the room, goes out the back door. We don’t know what happened to the balloon, but if we’re patient and willing to listen to sounds that we don’t want to hear, it may hurt our ears to hear that screeching noise as we let a little air out of the tire. And eventually, we get all the air out. We have a full balloon we can use again one day. That’s us with trauma. We need to allow it to come out and have folks to talk with and share that with… Harry and I have done that over the phone. We’ve done it in person. It’s therapeutic. Each time we speak with each other we may be doing it over breaking bread. 

Harry: Yeah, definitely. Definitely. Just having that as an individual, that’s why that safe space matters so much. Because you can know, you can go around somebody, and even if they know or don’t know everything that you’ve been through, it doesn’t matter because you’re safe in that moment, in that space. And whatever’s going on in the world, in your particular life, doesn’t matter at that moment. 

Thomas: Yes. Beautiful. Before we finish our conversation, if you look at the collective dimension like trauma exists in individuals, but also our societies are traumatized, and that larger basis creates a lot of polarization and a lot of pain. So. What do you think, both of you is helpful? Or how can we approach the collective situation? It’s now speaking about the US, first of all. So what are your viewpoints on what’s helpful here? 

Harry: I’m gonna defer to Bob and I’ll chime in after. 

Bob: Yeah. I think being open and honest with each other, but also having an understanding that the more you go around this world, we are more alike than we are different. And if we keep pushing people into boxes and say, well, that’s that group and that’s that group, then what we’re going to do?

I’m a dual citizen, I have citizenship in Ireland. Fr. Alec Reid, who is at the Clonard Monastery up on the peace wall in Northern Ireland. He had a simple statement: “We’re told to love our neighbor. But how can you love your neighbor if you don’t know your neighbor?” And so he took time to go into the Protestant sections and spend time with people. And when you start spending time, you find that we are more alike than not. 

Harry: I like that, we have way more similarities than we do differences. And we need to seek those out. I deferred to you, Bob because I wasn’t sure how to answer it. But wow, I think that sums it up perfectly. We have way more in common than we do differences. And we need to start embracing those commonalities and not just small, minor differences with each other. Very well put, Bob.

Thomas: So is there anything that we didn’t speak about that you think, given your experience, is meaningful, is important, is helpful to us or can keep us contemplating and deepening? Given your life experience, maybe other things that I didn’t ask that you think are important or important to you?

Harry: As a police officer, I was a hostage crisis negotiator and a crisis intervention officer. One of the things that I learned in crisis intervention school is that I’ve always believed in treating others how you want to be treated. Um, but I came to find out that’s not true. It’s a small difference. It’s a small difference to change that phrase a little bit. And I think it’ll make more sense: “Treat people the way they want to be treated.” 

Because I may not want what Bob wants. So, Bob, I want this, I don’t want that. And you know what, that will require talking to people and finding out what they like. And I think once we identify the similarities that we have with each other, we see each other as human beings and our partners on this earth like we’re in this called life together. We’re all in this together. We’re not against each other. We’re all trying to survive. That will require us to tap into each other and start finding similarities and not differences. So that’s what I’m gonna leave my question with. 

Bob: Well said, Harry. And again, here’s another similarity. While my long term undercover job I did is what I’m more known for in law enforcement. The last three years, I was in charge of the hostage negotiation team for the state of New Jersey. And so, as Harry said, that training helps you so much of understanding how to interact with folks when you’re in crisis and being empathetic and being understanding rather than being authoritative in conversations, allows for this give and take between two human beings to take place. And I know that that takes place with you, Thomas when I speak with you. And I know it takes place with Harry. So I’m a very blessed and fortunate guy to have you both. 

Thomas: Thank you, both of you. This was beautiful and thank you for sharing so openly. As you said, it’s not always given that it’s happening. And I think it’s a great example and it shows a lot of strength. I think that’s fantastic for all our listeners here to see it as an example and to see how they take it further into the world. So thank you very much. 

Harry: Thank you for having us, this is very great conversation. 

Bob: Thank you.