March 1, 2021

Your Choice to “Snitch” or Ignore

Your Choice to “Snitch” or Ignore

Written by Robert D. Sollars

Just like a 2-year-old, we ignore the warning signs of something very bad & nasty coming into your life, such as workplace violence (WPV). This in turn leads directly to you being responsible for carnage and destruction within our organizations, and they have no excuse for not being reported.

Likewise, also like a 13-year-old teenager, you either snitch on someone, who may be planning something fatal, or you don’t. If you snitch, you’ve violated the “code” of teenagers. On the other hand, if you don’t inform someone of something bad, then, you’re also responsible for the death & carnage that occurs…even as a 13-year-old teenager.

Countless rationalizations are used by employees and employers alike that prevent the reporting of co-workers, friends, loved ones, & others who may be on the edge of committing violence…either in the organization or away from it somewhere else just as deadly, think other organizations, of any type, even suicide, spousal & child abuse, and…

An employer, and their associates, need to know if an employee begins acting differently for any reason. Whether it is after a serious incident dealing with their personal life or where they work doesn’t matter…both can impact your business, read employment as well, adversely.

To be perfectly honest, most employers don’t have a planned resolution to prevent workplace violence, why? “It Can’t Happen Here”.is the succinct answer and those companies are the targets, which of course can be a manufacturing plant, office, retail, restaurant, or other employers, they rarely realize this, unless a co-worker trusts management enough, and vice versa, to report it. In most circumstances, just because someone is beginning to loosen up after a harsh stretch for them or their family could be a reason to worry…because of the stress they’re under – sometimes insurmountable stress and pressure.

Again, something I’ve been preaching about for decades and is worth reiterating here, there are always, and I do mean always I’ve never researched an incident that didn’t have at least a couple of them, warning signs before someone perpetrates an incident. Whether they are subtle, which sometimes are nearly invisible, or not they are there. Unfortunately, there is always an excuse because the person and signs weren’t reported.

The incidents that I record over the course of a year usually give me as much information as I need for reference points to deliver a presentation. The news reports will give me several warning signs to the perpetrator even if they don’t realize them as such. If I can gather that information from media reports how can anyone around a troubled person miss those signs?

How many people have you heard that say, after an incident; “You know, they were a loner, never coming out the house” or perhaps “I never thought when she bought those 3 pistols there’d be trouble at her job site.”

Recognizing those signs aren’t even convoluted or complicated…they are relatively simple, and easily noted, if you look at it as a simple issue not convoluted or complicated, Detailed oriented yes, but… It’s probably too simple to be accepted…by nearly everyone who wants to make it complicated, including law enforcement & consultants…for their own purposes.

“It is our choice to either act upon or ignore those signs”

Listed here are some of those rationalizations that you may see or tell yourself about someone you or a loved one may know or co-worker. And unfortunately, ignoring them could lead to an injury, psychological or physical, or even worse…death. The pronoun he is written although it can just as easily be attributed to women;

  • He was just going through a tough time
  • He’ll come out of it
  • He’s not that kind
  • He would never do something like that
  • He’s not capable of doing that
  • He’s got problems, who doesn’t??
  • I don’t want to get him in trouble
  • I don’t want to get involved
  • It’s not my problem
  • Why should I care what happens to him? He’s an ass wipe
  • I hate this place, why should I warn them?
  • This company needs a wake-up call anyway
  • They won’t listen to me

Should I continue with these narcissistic rationalizations for not reporting someone? We all know of and have heard a myriad of these in our working lives and careers. Ah, but employees are not the only ones at fault here either. It all comes down to the most dangerous attitude an organization can have toward WPV…CHH.

The Can’t Happen Here attitude is one that will cause more financial loss and distress amongst organizations than any other. Basically, those three words say it all…complete denial. It also places at the top of the list of attitudes that can get people killed while at, or because of, work.

Employer justifications:

  • I don’t have time to talk to them all the time; I’ve got others to coach/motivate/work with
  • That kind of stuff Can’t Happen Here. We pay & treat them well
  • We can’t worry about that. Let other company’s come up with answers first before we do anything (yes, I’ve heard this innumerable times)
  • I’m not going to coddle them
  • I’ll get into trouble for profiling them as a trouble-maker
  • I’ll get into trouble for being a bully & picking on them
  • I’ll tell HR and let them handle it
  • They’re a good Joe, they’ll work it out themselves
  • If we discipline (suspend or terminate, it’ll slow down production
  • We don’t have time for that crap Lethem work it out themselves

Any of those sound familiar? In my nearly 40 years in the security field, I’ve heard every single one of them. Sometimes it worked out. Other times the employee, even a valued one, exploded because of a personal issue that was dogging them. And had been for days, weeks, months, and in several cases years. The company finally took action…after an incident. Fortunately, none ended with a serious injury or fatality.

You may think that these justifications/excuses are a prime example of a bad organization. You may think that all good managers would see the signs and not allow the attitudes that foster WPV. But many times, the signs are so subtle that you have to know the individual to realize if there is really a problem.

Then again, you can simply make an excuse and justify your inaction for it and ignore it. Will it then bite you in the butt like a rabid dog? If it does, you’ll be in deep financial trouble, either from bad publicity, financial expenditures, or the lawsuit forcing you out of business, or possibly all of those and more.

“Excuses stop us from improving our self and from doing what needs to be done. They only lead to failure, not success”

It happens to Anyone…Any Time… Anywhere… For any Reason

I May Be Blind, but My Vision Is Crystal Clear

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Copyright 2021 Robert D. Sollars

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