Inside Disruption Blog

Thoughts on Paris

Jeff Gorter
November 17, 2015

Once again, tragically, the world finds itself forced to confront the unthinkable. The recent terrorist attacks in Paris leave us all with a mixture of horror, anger, and, yes, fear as we realize such an assault on innocent civilians can happen anywhere…anytime. That indeed is the desired outcome of the perpetrators, to force us to respond to their acts – to engage with them – and thereby become part of a distorted narrative. In reflection of a twisted logic, we have two choices: either back away in abject fear (inflating them) or lash out in impotent rage (diminishing us). In either option, we have been changed against our will.


As critical incident responders, you present a third way – one of compassion and resilience. In Paris, as it was after 9/11…and Madrid…and London… Beirut…and scores of other places…you are part of a select world-wide community that brings Psychological First Aid to those who need it most. If it is true that the terrorist goal is to inflict terror (an emotion), than part of the remedy has to be a message that champions the emotions of hope, care, empowerment, and support. While few of us will respond directly to the current situation in Paris, know that your efforts make a difference. Every day, R3 consultants respond to dozens of events both large and small, and your skill, compassion and dedication are part of the growing chorus of resilience. Thank you for what you do, and we join our thoughts and prayers with the people of France, as with all those confronted with tragedy.

Jeff Gorter, MSW

VP, Crisis Response Clinical Services

Jeff Gorter, MSW, is VP, Crisis Response Clinical Services for R3 Continuum. Mr. Gorter brings over 29 years of clinical experience including consultation and extensive on-site critical incident response to businesses and communities. He has responded directly to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Hurricane Katrina, the Virginia Tech shootings, the Deepwater Horizon Oil spill, the earthquake/tsunami in Japan, and the Newtown Tragedy,Orlando Tragedy, and Las Vegas Tragedy. He has conducted trainings and presented at the American Psychological Association Annual Conference, the World Conference on Disaster Management, the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies Annual Meeting, Employee Assistance Professionals Association (EAPA) Annual World Conference and at other state and national venues on a variety of topics. Mr. Gorter also currently serves as an adjunct faculty member at Western Michigan University in the MSW Graduate Program.