“INSIDE THE GATES: VIOLENCE IN THE AMERICAN WORKPLACE”
PRESENTED BY IRA A. LIPMAN
CHAIRMAN AND PRESIDENT
TO MOBIL CHEMICAL
NORTHEAST REGIONAL FACILITY MANAGEMENT SEMINAR
EDISON, NEW JERSEY
SEPTEMBER 13, 1994
IT’S AN HONOR TO BE HERE TODAY TO TALK ABOUT VIOLENCE IN THE WORKPLACE.
AT GUARDSMARK WE HAVE GREAT RESPECT FOR MOBIL AND YOUR PROACTIVE APPROACH TO THIS DEVELOPING TREND OF VIOLENCE IN THE WORKPLACE. IT IS ANOTHER SIGN OF MOBIL’S INDUSTRY LEADERSHIP ON FACILITY MANAGEMENT AND SECURITY ISSUES.
FOR MORE THAN THIRTY YEARS, I HAVE BEEN TRACKING AND ANALYZING SECURITY ISSUES AS THEY AFFECT US BOTH AS INDIVIDUALS AND AS BUSINESS LEADERS. AND I CAN ASSURE YOU THAT IF WORKPLACE VIOLENCE HAS NOT ALREADY TOUCHED YOUR LIVES, THERE IS AN EXCELLENT CHANCE OF THAT HAPPENING BEFORE YOUR CAREERS ARE OVER.
EACH YEAR, THE AMERICAN WORKPLACE IS THE SCENE OF ALMOST ONE MILLION VIOLENT CRIMES, INCLUDING SEVEN PERCENT OF ALL RAPES, EIGHT PERCENT OF ALL ROBBERIES, AND SIXTEEN PERCENT OF ALL ASSAULTS. IN THE DECADE FROM 1980 TO 1989, ALMOST 7,600 AMERICANS WERE MURDERED AT WORK. IN FACT, FOR WOMEN, HOMICIDE IS THE LEADING CAUSE OF OCCUPATIONAL DEATH. FOR ALL WORKERS, HOMICIDE IS SECOND ONLY TO VEHICLE ACCIDENTS AS A CAUSE OF DEATH ON THE JOB.
HOW DO THESE THINGS HAPPEN?
IN JANUARY OF 1993 IT HAPPENED IN FLORIDA AFTER A CLAIMS MANAGER WAS FIRED BY AN INSURANCE COMPANY. HE RETURNED TO THE OFFICE CAFETERIA IN SEARCH OF THOSE RESPONSIBLE, EXCLAIMING, “THIS IS WHAT YOU GET FOR FIRING ME.” HE KILLED THREE SUPERVISORS AND WOUNDED TWO OTHERS.
THE FOLLOWING JULY IT HAPPENED IN SAN FRANCISCO WHEN A MAN DRESSED IN A BUSINESS SUIT AND SUSPENDERS ENTERED AN OFFICE BUILDING CARRYING THREE PISTOLS AND HUNDREDS OF ROUNDS OF AMMUNITION. HE WENT TO A LAW OFFICE WHERE HE HAD PREVIOUSLY GIVEN A DEPOSITION REGARDING A FAILED BUSINESS, AND BEGAN SHOOTING. HE KILLED EIGHT PEOPLE AND WOUNDED SIX OTHERS.
AND THIS PAST APRIL IT HAPPENED IN RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA, WHEN A WORKER WHO HAD BEEN FIRED FROM A FIBER-OPTICS PLANT RETURNED TO KILL TWO PEOPLE AND WOUND TWO MORE BEFORE COMMITTING SUICIDE. THE PEOPLE HE SHOT INCLUDED HIS FORMER SUPERVISOR AND A WOMAN WHO HAD FILED A SEXUAL HARASSMENT COMPLAINT AGAINST HIM.
THE SIMPLE TRUTH IS THAT THE AMERICAN WORKPLACE TODAY IS NOT SAFE. WE LONG AGO BECAME ACCUSTOMED TO THE IDEA THAT OUR STREETS WERE NO LONGER SAFE, AND WE BEGAN TO PLAN OUR TRIPS AND TO WATCH OUT FOR DANGER SIGNS. THEN WE LEARNED THAT OUR HOMES WERE NO LONGER SAFE, AND WE INSTALLED BETTER LIGHTING, ALARMS, BURGLAR BARS, PEEP HOLES, AND DEAD-BOLT LOCKS.
AND NOW THE VIOLENCE THAT PERVADES OUR SOCIETY, THAT HAS TURNED OUR STREETS INTO BATTLEFIELDS AND OUR HOMES INTO PROTECTED ENCLAVES, HAS INVADED THE WORKPLACE–WHERE WE GO TO MAKE OUR LIVING, TO SUPPORT OUR FAMILIES, TO PRACTICE OUR PROFESSIONS.
BEFORE WE DEVELOP SOLUTIONS TO THE PROBLEM OF WORKPLACE VIOLENCE, WE FIRST HAVE TO UNDERSTAND WHY THE AMERICAN WORKPLACE HAS BECOME SO DANGEROUS.
MUCH OF THE VIOLENCE IS RELATIVELY EASY TO UNDERSTAND BECAUSE IT IS CARRIED OUT IN THE COMMISSION OF OTHER CRIMES, SUCH AS ROBBERY. CONVENIENCE STORE CLERKS, GAS STATION ATTENDANTS, AND TAXI CAB DRIVERS ALWAYS LIVE ON THE EDGE, NEVER KNOWING IF THE NEXT CUSTOMER WHO COMES THROUGH THE DOOR IS THE LAST CUSTOMER THEY WILL EVER SERVE. THESE EMPLOYEES LIVE ON THE FRONT LINES AND ARE VICTIMS OF THE CRIMINAL CLASS THAT SEEKS OUT TARGETS OF OPPORTUNITY TO LIVE OFF THE LIVELIHOOD OF OTHERS.
WE ARE RARELY SURPRISED ANY MORE TO HEAR THAT ANOTHER CONVENIENCE STORE CLERK HAS BEEN SHOT, EVEN AFTER HANDING OVER THE MONEY–FOR NO REASON THAT ANYONE CAN FATHOM. A GREAT DEAL OF THIS KIND OF WORKPLACE VIOLENCE IS BEING CARRIED OUT BY JUVENILES WHO HAVE ESSENTIALLY BEEN LOST TO SOCIETY. SOCIAL NORMS MEAN NOTHING TO THEM, AND THEY HAVE NO FEAR OF PRISON. WE HAVE ALL BECOME FAMILIAR WITH THIS SITUATION AND ALMOST ACCEPT IT AS WE GO ABOUT OUR DAILY LIVES, KNOWING THAT AT ANY MOMENT WE COULD BE CAUGHT UP IN AN EVENT THAT IS BEYOND OUR CONTROL.
THAT SAME FEAR IS NOW BEGINNING TO HAUNT OUR OFFICES AND FACTORIES. PEOPLE ARE INCREASINGLY AWARE THAT GIVING A BAD EVALUATION OR HANDING OUT A PINK SLIP MIGHT BE THE TRIGGER THAT STARTS AN EXPLOSIVE INCIDENT.
BOTH THE TIMES AND THE EMPLOYEES HAVE CHANGED, AND THE CAUSES OF THE INCREASE IN WORKPLACE VIOLENCE ARE NUMEROUS.
EMPLOYEES TODAY ARE UNDER ENORMOUS STRESS. THE ECONOMY IS UNDERGOING A VAST TRANSFORMATION, WIPING OUT HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF SKILLED AND MANAGERIAL JOBS. MERGERS AND DOWNSIZING ARE CHANGING THE RULES THAT WORKERS THOUGHT THEY KNEW AND COULD COUNT ON. CORPORATIONS EVOLVE EVER FASTER, INDUSTRIES RISE AND FALL ALMOST OVERNIGHT, SKILLS THAT WERE SUPPOSED TO LAST A LIFETIME BECOME ANTIQUATED IN A DECADE.
JOB SECURITY IS A THING OF THE PAST. AND COMPETITION IS EVER FIERCER, NOT ONLY AMONG CORPORATIONS BUT ALSO AMONG EMPLOYEES AS CORPORATE PYRAMIDS SHRINK AND IT SEEMS THAT THE ONLY NEW JOBS BEING CREATED PAY MINIMUM WAGE.
THE LACK OF CERTAINTY OVER JOBS IS COMPOUNDED BY OTHER KINDS OF INSECURITY THAT HAVE HAD PROFOUND EFFECTS ON OUR SOCIETY IN RECENT DECADES. INCREASINGLY, EMPLOYEES TODAY ARE LIKELY TO HAVE LOST THEIR SOCIAL ANCHORS, THE COMMUNITY BONDS THAT ONCE FORGED OUR NATION INTO A TIGHT-KNIT COMMUNITY. IN CONTRAST TO THE WORKFORCE OF POST- WORLD WAR II, EMPLOYEES ARE NOW MUCH MORE LIKELY TO BE DIVORCED, TO HAVE LITTLE OR NO RELIGIOUS AFFILIATION, AND TO LIVE IN A NEIGHBORHOOD WHERE PEOPLE DON’T EVEN KNOW EACH OTHER.
THEN, AS THE RESULT OF A MERGER OR AN ACQUISITION OR MAYBE STREAMLINING, EMPLOYEES ARE TOLD TO CLEAN OUT THEIR DESKS WHILE BEING WATCHED. THEY LOSE THEIR INCOME, THEIR HEALTH BENEFITS, AND THEIR IDENTIFICATION BADGES. THEY ARE CAST OUT OF THE FAMILY AND ESCORTED OFF THE PROPERTY. THEY FEEL UNWANTED AND UNNEEDED. AND SOME OF THEM BREAK UNDER THE STRAIN.
OTHERS MAY HAVE BEEN PSYCHOTIC THE DAY THEY REPORTED FOR WORK AND ONLY NEEDED CONFLICT WITH A SUPERVISOR TO GO OVER THE EDGE. OTHERS MAY BE BRINGING PERSONAL, MARITAL, OR FINANCIAL PROBLEMS TO THE OFFICE OR FACTORY, AND THE COLLECTIVE STRESS FINALLY BECOMES TOO MUCH FOR THEM TO BEAR.
WHATEVER THE SPECIFIC CAUSE OF ANY INDIVIDUAL INCIDENT, THERE CAN NO LONGER BE ANY DOUBT THAT THE EASE OF ACQUIRING GUNS IN OUR SOCIETY IS TEARING US APART. FROM 1980 TO 1989, GUNS WERE USED IN 75 PERCENT OF ALL OCCUPATIONAL HOMICIDES. ABOUT 100,000 INCIDENTS OF WORKPLACE VIOLENCE EACH YEAR INVOLVE HANDGUNS. AND ACROSS THE NATION, MORE THAN 12,000 AMERICANS ARE MURDERED WITH HANDGUNS EVERY YEAR.
AMERICANS NOW OWN 65 TO 70 MILLION PISTOLS, 125 TO 130 MILLION RIFLES AND SHOTGUNS, AND SOME ONE MILLION ASSAULT WEAPONS.
IT IS SIMPLY TOO EASY TO KILL WHEN A GUN IS READY-TO-HAND IN THE CLOSET OR UNDER THE BED, TOO EASY TO GET EVEN, TOO EASY TO RIGHT AN IMAGINARY WRONG. IN OUR MAJOR CITIES, TEN AND ELEVEN YEAR OLD CHILDREN ARE CARRYING GUNS AND USING THEM IN ROBBERIES OR SIMPLY TO EARN THEIR STRIPES IN A GANG.
IF WE CAN MAKE PEOPLE REGISTER THEIR CARS AND THEIR DOGS, WHY IN THE WORLD CAN’T WE MAKE PEOPLE REGISTER THEIR GUNS?
AN IMPORTANT AND NEGLECTED POINT ABOUT REGISTRATION IS THAT THE SIMPLE ACT ITSELF MAKES PEOPLE THINK ABOUT WHAT THEY ARE DOING. WHEN AN OWNER REGISTERS A CAR, THE OFFICIAL NATURE OF THE PROCESS BRINGS TO MIND A SENSE OF CAUTION, A SOBERING REMINDER THAT IN CASE OF AN ACCIDENT, THE OWNER MAY BE HELD LEGALLY RESPONSIBLE BOTH FOR CRIMINAL ACTS AND CIVIL DAMAGES.
THIS IS NOT THE PLACE OR TIME TO ENTER INTO AN EXTENDED DISCUSSION ABOUT THE RIGHT TO BEAR ARMS, BUT ONE FACT IS CERTAIN: NOTHING LASTING CAN BE DONE ABOUT THE CONTROL OF VIOLENCE IN OUR SOCIETY UNTIL WE CAN MAKE PEOPLE THINK TWICE ABOUT SOLVING THEIR PROBLEMS BY REACHING FOR A GUN.
WITH REGARD TO JUVENILE CRIMINALS, WE HAVE TO SEPARATE THE HARD CORE OF THOSE WHO ARE BEYOND OUR POWERS OF REDEMPTION FROM THOSE WHO STILL EXHIBIT SOME SPARK OF HUMANITY.
IN MANY CASES WITH ONLY ONE PARENT AND LITTLE EFFECTIVE PARENTING, THESE PROBLEM CHILDREN–AND NUMBERS OF THEM HAVE NOT EVEN REACHED THEIR TEENAGE YEARS–RECEIVE THEIR INSTRUCTION IN ACCEPTABLE SOCIAL BEHAVIOR FROM EITHER TELEVISION OR GANGS. BUT THEY ARE NOT YET LOST, AND THEY CAN BE REACHED BEFORE THEY BECOME TOTALLY COMMITTED TO GANGS AND THEIR WAY OF LIFE.
IF WE DON’T REACH THEM, WE WILL PAY A HEAVY PRICE AS THE CRIME RATE SKYROCKETS IN THE COMING DECADES. FOR EACH ONE WE TURN FROM THE PATH OF THE CRIMINAL CAREER, WE WILL PREVENT SCORES AND EVEN HUNDREDS OF CRIMES. TO DO THAT, WE NEED TO DEVELOP MORE CREATIVE APPROACHES THAN INCARCERATION, WITH ITS RECORD OF FUTILITY AND ITS INCREASING TAX BURDEN.
WE COULD EVEN TURN BACK TO SOME METHODS USED A COUPLE OF HUNDRED YEARS AGO, LIKE PUBLIC HUMILIATION. SOME TIME IN STOCKS AT THE SCHOOL, MALL OR PLAYGROUND MIGHT DO MORE GOOD THAN ANY AMOUNT OF TIME IN A PRISON CELL. AND THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO REASON FOR JUVENILES WHO REFUSE TO OBEY THE LAW TO BE GRANTED CERTAIN PRIVILEGES, SUCH AS DRIVING A CAR.
CHANGING LAWS AND APPROACHES TO CRIMINAL JUSTICE CAN TAKE YEARS. BUT OUR PROBLEM WILL NOT WAIT. SO WHAT CAN WE DO TODAY TO CREATE A SAFE WORKPLACE?
THE FIRST STEP IS TO KEEP POTENTIAL PROBLEMS OUTSIDE THE GATES WITH A THOROUGH PRE-EMPLOYMENT SCREENING PROCESS. RECORDS MUST BE CHECKED, INCLUDING WORK, CRIMINAL, MILITARY, CREDIT HISTORY AND DRIVING RECORDS. UNEXPLAINED GAPS IN EMPLOYMENT HISTORY MUST BE FILLED. DRUG TESTS AND PSYCHOLOGICAL SCREENING SHOULD BE USED WHERE PERMITTED BY LAW.
SECOND, RECOGNIZE AND PAY ATTENTION TO EARLY WARNING SIGNS.
KNOW YOUR CO-WORKERS SO YOU WILL RECOGNIZE CHANGES IN THEIR
BEHAVIOR OR INDICATIONS OF EMOTIONAL DISTRESS.
MANY TIMES AFTER INCIDENTS, EMPLOYEES REPORT THAT THEY
SUSPECTED A PROBLEM EXISTED, BUT BY THEN IT WAS TOO LATE.
EMPLOYEES SHOULD BE EDUCATED SO THEY CAN RECOGNIZE SIGNS OF
DISAFFECTION AND STRESS AND GIVEN CLEAR REPORTING INSTRUCTIONS.
THIRD, BE AWARE OF THE PROFILE OF THE MOST COMMON PROBLEM
EMPLOYEE. HE–IT’S ALMOST ALWAYS A MALE–IS USUALLY BETWEEN 30
AND 40 YEARS OF AGE WHO:
* IS DISGRUNTLED ABOUT SOME INJUSTICE AT WORK * IS LOW ON SELF-ESTEEM * IS SOCIALLY ISOLATED * IS FASCINATED WITH THE MILITARY OR MEDIA REPORTS OF VIOLENCE * COLLECTS GUNS OR OTHER WEAPONS * COMPLAINS ABOUT NUMEROUS HEALTH PROBLEMS, AND * HAS DIFFICULTY CONTROLLING HIS TEMPER.
THIS PROFILE MUST BE USED JUDICIOUSLY. IT IS NOT LIKE A FINGERPRINT, GIVING SCIENTIFICALLY CERTAIN IDENTIFICATION. BUT USED WISELY, IT CAN INDICATE THAT AN EMPLOYEE IS HAVING PROBLEMS REQUIRING INTERVENTION.
FOURTH, FORM A THREAT ASSESSMENT TEAM WITH MEMBERS FROM FACILITY MANAGEMENT, HUMAN RESOURCES/PERSONNEL, AND SECURITY. THE TEAM ACTS AS A CLEARINGHOUSE OF INFORMATION, OVERSEES TRAINING, DEVELOPS PROCEDURES FOR DEALING WITH PROBLEMS, AND REVIEWS THE FACILITY’S SECURITY MEASURES. INCLUDED IN ITS REVIEW, AMONG OTHER THINGS, SHOULD BE THE NEED FOR ENHANCED ACCESS CONTROL, METAL DETECTORS, CLOSED-CIRCUIT TELEVISION, AND BLOCKADES TO PREVENT UNAUTHORIZED VEHICLE ACCESS.
THESE ARE IMMEDIATE NEEDS, BUT THE THREAT ASSESSMENT TEAM MUST ALSO BEGIN TO PLAN AHEAD FOR THE COMING DECADES AS WORKPLACE VIOLENCE CONTINUES TO SPIRAL. MANY COMPANIES HAVE ALREADY MOVED THEIR EMPLOYMENT CENTERS OFF THE PROPERTY TO LIMIT THE EFFECTS OF CRIME ON BUSINESS OPERATIONS. IT MAY BE TIME TO START THINKING OF ALSO MOVING RECEPTION AREAS OFF THE FACILITY GROUNDS AND IN ADDITION OPEN A SEPARATE CENTER SO THE TERMINATION PROCESS CAN BE CONDUCTED AWAY FROM BUSINESS OPERATIONS.
FIFTH, TERMINATE WISELY. TERMINATIONS SHOULD BE DONE BY PERSONNEL WHO UNDERSTAND COUNSELING TECHNIQUES. LOSS OF A JOB AND THE SOCIAL BONDS THAT THE JOB REPRESENTS CAN BE TRAUMATIC, AND TERMINATION SHOULD BE CARRIED OUT WITH AS MUCH EMPATHY AND TACT AS POSSIBLE.
THESE AND OTHER METHODS OF PREVENTING VIOLENCE IN THE WORKPLACE ARE DISCUSSED IN DETAIL IN A RECENTLY PUBLISHED BOOK ENTITLED “TICKING BOMBS” BY MICHAEL MANTELL AND PUBLISHED BY IRWIN PROFESSIONAL PUBLISHING.
WORKPLACE VIOLENCE WILL NOT JUST GO AWAY. IT IS GOING TO GET WORSE. THE LACK OF RESTRAINT ON PERSONAL BEHAVIOR AND THE REFUSAL TO ACCEPT RESPONSIBILITY THAT WE SEE SO MUCH OF IN OUR SOCIETY ARE INVADING THE PLACES WE WORK, AND SUCH TRENDS IN THE GENERAL POPULATION DO NOT CHANGE OVERNIGHT. WE HAVE A PROBLEM, AND WE MUST DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT.
THE EMPHASIS IS ON “WE.” TOO MANY PEOPLE THINK OF CRIME PREVENTION AS SOMEONE ELSE’S JOB, LIKE TAKING OUT THE GARBAGE. WE ALL WANT SOMEONE ELSE TO DO IT. BUT THERE IS NO ONE ELSE TO DO IT.
THE POLICE ALONE CAN’T DO IT. THEY ARE OVERWORKED AND UNDERSTAFFED.
IT’S UP TO EACH ONE OF US–TO ALL WHO WANT THEIR CHILDREN TO BE SAFE AT SCHOOL, THEIR FAMILIES TO BE SAFE AT HOME, THEIR PARENTS TO BE SAFE IN THEIR RETIREMENT, AND THEIR EMPLOYEES TO BE SAFE IN THE WORKPLACE–TO DO WHAT IS NECESSARY TO SECURE OUR SOCIETY.
BECAUSE UNDERLYING ALL THE FREEDOMS THAT OUR CONSTITUTION GUARANTEES IS THE FREEDOM FROM VIOLENCE. ONLY WITH THAT FREEDOM ASSURED CAN WE CONTINUE TO LABOR IN THE HOPES OF ACHIEVING THE PROMISE OF WHAT OUR NATION HOLDS OUT TO ALL– LIFE, LIBERTY AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS.
Questions and Answers
Would you like to comment on the recent Federal Express incident where an off-duty pilot attacked other pilots in mid-air? It was a terrible act of violence, but it’s still in the courts and I really can’t comment on it. Even if we registered handguns, what makes you think criminals won’t get them? I’m sure they would, but the guns would be traceable to whoever had them registered. And anyone caught with an unregistered gun could be made liable to severe penalties. There is no panacea for the problem of violence. But our situation today with regard to access to guns is just unbearable as the news reports prove every day.
Isn’t it true that guns don’t kill people, people do? Gun control or registration is not the focus of my talk today, so I really don’t want to spend too much time on it. But I will agree that someone has to pull the trigger. The problem today has grown so great that we even have 10- and 11-year-olds shooting people. Something has to be done about it and the sooner the better.
Questions and Answers
Would you like to comment on the recent Federal Express incident where an off-duty
pilot attacked other pilots in mid-air?
It was a terrible act of violence, but it’s still in the courts and I really can’t comment
Even if we registered handguns, what makes you think criminals won’t get them?
I’m sure they would, but the guns would be traceable to whoever had them
registered. And anyone caught with an unregistered gun could be made liable to
severe penalties. There is no panacea for the problem of violence. But our situation
today with regard to access to guns is just unbearable as the news reports prove
Isn’t it true that guns don’t kill people, people do?
Gun control or registration is not the focus of my talk today, so I really don’t want
to spend too much time on it. But I will agree that someone has to pull the trigger.
The problem today has grown so great that we even have 10- and 11-year-olds
shooting people. Something has to be done about it and the sooner the better.
What does Guardsmark do to screen out problem employees?
Good question. First of all, we screen our applicants more thoroughly than any
other security services firm in the country. We do 10-year background checks. We
look into criminal records, military records, credit standing, driving records, and
employment records. All gaps in employment have to be filled in. And where the
law permits it, applicants are given a polygraph.
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All applicants are also administered the full 567-question Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory, which is graded and interpreted by a licensed psychologist.
Guardsmark is 100 percent drug-tested and 100 percent drug-free. All applicants take a 10-panel drug test, with supervised collection monitoring and a total chain of custody. And we also employ a universal random drug-testing program that applies to everyone in the company, from the Chairman to the newest employee.
In addition, our quality assurance program requires that a specially selected and trained employee review every single employee file to make sure that we do what we say we do.
So we spend a good deal of money and effort to screen out problems right from the start.
It seems to me that these employees who go berserk and start killing people they work with were crazy to start with. Isn’t it Human Resources’ or Personnel’s job to weed them out? The Human Resource or Personnel function certainly has a major role to play in the pre-employment process, checking records and so on. But I think what you’re falling into here is the idea that it’s someone else’s job to take out the garbage. As a matter of fact, one study of case data in incidents of workplace homicide found that only 11 of 125 of the killers had histories of mental health treatment. [Joseph A. Kinney and Dennis L. Johnson, Breaking Point: The Workplace Violence Epidemic and What to Do About It, p.42.1 So while you can argue that most of them were imbalanced before they were hired, there’s no evidence of it from available records.
say it’s Human Resources job or Personnel’s responsibility.
Aren’t these murders in the workplace random and really impossible to stop? If you mean the convenience-store type violence, they’re not random at all but aimed at targets of opportunity. These incidents can be stopped to a large extent by better security measures, like bullet-proof glass, drop boxes for cash, better lighting, and so on.
As for the incidents in offices and factories where a disgruntled employee or former employee walks in and starts shooting, they’re not at all random. These employees want revenge, and they are looking for particular people who they think are the root of the problem. In one case, and this represents many, many incidents, a pressman in a printing plant thought he was being mistreated. He got an AK-47 and walked through the corridors shooting only certain people whom he blamed for mistreating him. He killed eight and wounded twelve more. But he ignored many workers and is reported to have said, “Not you” as he passed them by.
Do you really think putting juveniles in stocks will make a difference? Absolutely. One of the problems we’re facing with so many of our young people is that they have no sense of values and no real idea of how they’re supposed to behave. They have no shame, often because they had no one to give them a social conscience. We can’t expect them to become model citizens if their only role models are gang members.
what is not. It would also do those juveniles who see them a world of good to see what happens to those who break the law and thereby reinforce an acceptable code of conduct.
You said that often after incidents employees say they noticed there was a problem with the co-worker who ended up committing violence. What are they supposed to do if they notice a problem? The easiest and probably best procedure is to talk to the co-worker’s manager. If someone is suddenly argumentative and loses his or her temper or undergoes some kind of noticeable personality change, there is probably a problem somewhere in that person’s life. It might be a marital problem or financial problem or any number of things.
If it’s encouraged as a way to help the co-worker, employees won’t feel that they’re turning someone in. No one likes to do that. And the whole situation needs to be handled with tact. If there’s a personal problem, it will be sure to turn up in work performance anyway, and the manager could always use discussion of job performance as a reason to approach the troubled employee.