Synchronicity or Chance?

The late analytical headshrinker Carl G. Jung coined the term “synchronicity”.  He defined it by describing circumstances that appear meaningfully related but lack a causal connection.

Probably a good example comes to Gumshoe’s brain pan is thinking of a person and they contact you from out of the blue.  Cosmic kabuki theater perhaps? Vicissitudes of fortune? Maybe just wishful thinking.  Yawn.  Maybe a little by both?

The signpost is just up ahead.  You have just entered the Twilight Zone.

Well, as a seasoned police gypsy, Gumshoe thinks it is more by chance and not by some inner or outer hobgoblin of mystical metaphysical choice.  But, Gumshoe could be wrong. Dumb luck, as well as chance, have solved many a case.  In some instances, they kept Gumshoe on the upside of the daises.

Should the Oracle of Delphi pack up the vestal virgins and take a road trip to Disneyland? Perhaps not.  Either way, Motel 6 will leave the light on for you and the girls until your return.

A good cop always relies on his past experience, training, and “gut instinct” to catch the misanthropes.

Profile the crooks (their M.O.’s) each and every time produces results with cuff’s ratcheting on their wrists.  Hook ‘em and book ‘em. Enforce all codes on all roads.

Connecting the dots, gathering evidence, being a good observer and listener trumps crystal balls, tarot cards, and naval gazing meditation.

The majority of good police work is by choice. Choosing to follow the leads. Sometimes luck and chance play a part driven by determination, and dedication to making things happen. Sitting on your thumbs never ever got things done.

Occasionally between coffee and donut breaks, high-speed pursuits of fleeing felons, and the OK Coral shootouts, cops have to show up on the worst day of your life and bear the burden of delivering tragic news.  Never by personal choice just by chance and by bad luck to be available for that dreaded radio call.

Police work down and dirty caused Gumshoe to learn things that he never really wanted to know and the things that Gumshoe tries to forget, but can’t.  Never by choice folks. Nightmares ahoy!

Doctor Jung rest in peace on your cosmic couch, your abstract analytical theory is secure by luck, chance and choice.

That’s all for now kind readers.  Always remember to love the ones who love you and really try to love the ones who don’t.

Coram Deo!

PS:  That’s a personal choice.


Danny Pitocco
Danny Pitocco
RETIRED (as a Detective with the Snohomish County Sherriff’s Department, Washington State), Danny has over forty years of law enforcement experience across city, county, state and federal levels of government, including service as a Special Agent for the DEA, US Department of Justice. He’s a decorated law enforcement veteran, and recipient of the "Detective of the Year" award for Snohomish County, Danny is a certified composite artist and has testified as an expert witness in the field of narcotics and modus operandi of particular crimes in state and federal courts in California, and has given testimony before federal grand juries. Danny served four years of active duty in the US Marine Corps and loves Jesus as his personal savior.

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  1. Great article Gumshoe, even better replies. I liked what Mike had to say. Great points. I was more like Ken. I relied more on Gut Instinct than being lucky although there was times when I was just plain lucky, like the night while working in uniform. I was headed back to the station finishing up my shift, I noticed a vehicle headed in the opposite direction that was on the stolen car hot sheet. I remember thinking to myself all night long nothing going on. Shift is coming to an end and I got to see a stolen car. Anyway, turned the cruiser around, called in the pursuit and eventually with other officers make the collar. Not only recovered a stolen car but a illegal handgun as well. Purely luck and some overtime by the time I finished my paper work.
    Thanks again for the memory.

    • Right on Tom! “Gut instinct” becomes second nature for veteran Street warriors. Learning never to rationalize and maintaining that “something seems hinky” feeling that you act upon always bears unexpected results. Thanks for responding with memorable testimonial evidence to prove this cop concept.

  2. Good as always bro. It is no wonder that first responders (law enforcement, fire, EMT’s, etc.) along with combat military personnel and correctional professionals (who work the ‘line’) have high rates of suicide, divorce, heart disease, drug and alcohol abuse, and all kinds of stress-related illnesses. I had the opportunity following my 33 years in corrections (a profession I loved) to do training as part of a team at UC San Diego. We worked with cross sections of correctional staff conducting 3 day workshops up and down the state of California, primarily dealing with the efficacy of drug treatment in prisons. As part of that, Chuck, my long-time buddy and fellow retired from corrections UCSD trainer, were granted the opportunity to add a segment to the training curriculum that spoke specifically about how staff could counter the negative impact of the job and enjoy a long, lucrative and happy retirement with an intact marriage and family. Correctional peace officers (along with law enforcement in general) enjoy a very good retirement salary. In contract negotiations over the years the actuarial people (who deal with things like life expectancy) have done their homework and advised management that they can afford such good retirement benefits because the statistics show that peace officer retirees will (on average) not be collecting those fat retirement checks for very long!! Chuck and I entitled this segment of the training, ‘Surviving and Thriving Through Retirement’ (Beating the Odds). We emphasized to correctional staff that their goal should be more than crawling to the finish line (retiring) Surviving not enough! But to do this, they had to be proactive in pursuing some healthy choices along the way. The same applies to anyone in a stress-filled career of any kind. So, the question is, beyond acknowleding the stats, what could they do? Here are a few emotional survival strategies we encouaged:
    ** Be honest with yourself and your loved ones about how the job is affecting you (no more strong/silent routine). Have honest conversations about how to be more engaged with family and promote health and wellness more consistently.
    ** Don’t confuse roles at work w roles at home. Do you find yourself talking to your wife/children like suspects/inmates?
    ** Accept things you cannot change. You can’t control what happens – you CAN control how you respond.
    ** Let go of anger and resentments — holding on is like taking poison and expecting it to hurt the other person.
    ** Make time for fun & relaxation. Do something you enjoy as often as possible.
    ** Keep a healthy sense of humor. Be willing to laugh at yourself. Humor reduces emotional and physical pain, boosts immune system, and reduceses stress. (Note: be sure it is a HEALTHY sense of humor – don’t allow it to morph into a negative sarcasm).
    ** Share your feelings with those you trust.
    ** Develop a trusted support system non-judgmental & caring
    ** Learn how to nurture your loved ones
    **Create an atmosphere at home where your loved ones feel comfortable approaching you
    ** Remember how difficult it is to live with you!
    ** Don’t let your loved ones become victims of your profession!
    ** Nurture friendships outside the job. You Are Not Your Job. Social connections are important. Social isolation is the health equivalent of smoking a pack of cigarettes a day.
    ** Stay away from whiners and malcontents. Some people have gift of sucking all positive energy out of the room.
    ** Exercise as a way of life; it’s better than almost anything: helps mental alertness, resistance to cancer, strengthens bones, improves sleep, Increases self-confidence & self-esteem. Significantly reduces your stress levels, reduces your chances of getting injured & enhances your coping abilities. Consistent exercise will reduce your chances of having a heart attack or acquiring type 2 diabetes by 58%. Do something you enjoy.
    ** Get enough sleep. Sleep deprivation is a big problem.
    ** Listen to your Doctor! Cholesterol and high blood pressure can be controlled by medication.
    ** Use vacation time!
    ** Have a quiet time: Reading, Writing, Arts and Crafts, a hobby.
    ** Avoid unnecessary stress: Don’t take on more than you should – learn to say no.
    ** Don’t be afraid to seek professional help: If you ever think you may need help or are told you may need help you are already well past the time of needing that help. It is not a sign of weakness.
    ** Focus on the Positive: Take a few minutes to think about things you are grateful for – good things and people in your life. Practicing gratitude can decrease anxiety, the risk of depression and substance abuse disorders, increases feelings of joy, love and enthusiasm and is tied to lower blood sugar and improved immune system.
    ** Have a good plan for retirement! Develop interests outside the job. We’re not wired for doing nothing – we need a sense of purpose beyond ourself.
    And a final suggestion I personnally emphasize as MOST important — if you don’t already have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, invite Him into your life! (this final bit of advice is something I could not officially share in my capacity as a UCSD trainer, but would certainly do so outside of the training environmet…..and do so now with anyone reading this article.)

    • What a tremendous reply bro. You covered so many great points. Thanks for your reply that is an article in its entirety.

  3. You are spot on Ken on your experience with the fickle mistress known as Lady Luck. It does take talent, ability coupled with motivation to achieve one’s goals; however, timing along with opportunity can just be considered lucky. Thanks my friend for your sage input.

  4. I am a firm believer in the saying that “lady luck is a fickle mistress”. I can’t deny that she has played in my life more than once, but I never relied on her. I have found gut instinct to be more reliable, along with a hand now and then from my guardian angle. Unlike the life of a law enforcement person, the life of a hotelier is not really designed to be all that dangerous. Well, obviously no one told some folks that a hotelier’s job is supposed to be calm and safe. My poor guardian angle looks like she fell off a speeding turnip truck on a gravel road. Like you, I learned many things that I never really wanted to know.