Written By: Robert D. Sollars
You may or may not know, but you really should know this risk, that in every single incident of workplace or school violence (WPV/SV), there are always signs that the individual is ready to explode and either assault, injure, or murder someone(s). else. To that end, I’ve collected 25 different warning signs of someone who may “Go Postal” to use a colloquial term.
I’ve developed these over the entire period I’ve been involved with WPV/SV, starting in 1991 and coming forward. Usually, during the media reports of such incidents, I can usually pull out one or two of these signs without doing any research…simply by listening to the media.
It makes no sense that no one else picks up on these signs, including the media themselves who are reporting these. Then you have the talking-heads on TV, radio, digital, & printed materials that “It came out of the blue and there was no warning…they just snapped!”
First of all, those are both fabrications to hide their ignorance and wanting to stoke the fear of these incidents. These commentators want to keep their jobs and say those things to keep people titillated by the event. Again, makes no sense.
I’m here to tell you succinctly, that there are always warning signs that someone is about to explode like a thermonuclear device on another. Going along with this is a simple fact that no one, literally no one, just snaps and starts assaulting or murdering people.
There are always the warning signs and then the unassuming fact of others around the perpetrator either ignore those signs or act upon them. As you can already guess…they ignore them rather than report the person and/or their signs…which could save lives & life-long trauma to individuals, families, & the multitude of others who may witness it.
These signs are the first line of defense to avoid an act of WPV/SV. People have to risk being labeled a ‘trouble maker’, ‘rabble-rouser’, ‘tattle-tale’, or a ‘snitch’. It doesn’t matter whether it’s in the working world or at school, that individual will suffer teasing, bullying, & harassment of sorts by doing so. However, they may save a life which is much more important.
Saving the lives of everyone while they’re at work or school should be of paramount importance to everyone. Therefore, YOU must know these signs and not leave it up to teachers, administrators, leads, supervisors/managers, human resources, or even the security officer at the gate. It is literally up to you to report these things.
But before you can report them, you have to know what those signs are. To that detail will be a series of posts over the coming weeks to inform you of them and hopefully, you will then not ignore the signs but report them to whoever has authority to prevent such traumatic events.
When dealing with WPV/SV we as security professionals and regular people who read these posts, it is Our RESPONSIBILITY to know what these signs are and when and how to report them.
One last little factoid before I close this post for now. 2 or 3 of the signs are usually, repeat usually, nothing to worry about. However, if you begin to notice 4, 5, 7, or more of the 25 signs then you, the company, or educational institution may have a serious problem boiling over the pot…and that can cause 3rd-degree burns. Is your organization prepared for millions of dollars in ligation and closing its doors forever due to an incident?