Hidden Signs of Violence…in Plain Sight

Written By Robert D. Sollars

Every perpetrator of WPV/SV…anywhere, no matter where that violence occurs, forewarned their intent by showing warning signs, although no one has identified them as such yet…I would imagine if they were pointed in the media reports everyone would know them. But, no one takes them seriously. Instead of acting upon them, they make a conscious decision to ignore them. The results of their ignorance of the signs ended up with people dead, wounded, & psychologically traumatized.

So, how do you know when someone is ready to pop their proverbial cork and lash out? I can give you the warning signs for someone who is likely to commit a workplace/school violence (WPV/SV) incident. No matter what anyone will tell you, the signs are virtually the same for both.

Recognizing the warning signs for these individuals is the best defense you have against something tragic occurring. In my nearly 30 years of researching, writing, & speaking about WPV/SV, I’ve created a list of 25. 2 or 3 of these signs is not, usually, cause for concern. But if you begin to see 5, 6, 7, or more… These are the most prevalent I have found, and we’ll take all 25 in alphabetic order with a few examples mixed in as well;

  • Attendance Problems

When you have a co-worker, who is having issues with their attendance, then you may have an employee/student who may be on the edge, ready to lash out at the world. Now, just because someone is missing a lot of time, does this mean that they are going to bring a deadly weapon with them and start killing people? Of course not!

There are many reasons why someone is having these types of problems. Some of these may be their own fault i.e. getting drunk, high, or something similar. On the other hand, it could be perfectly legitimate why they’re missing work or coming in late.

Going to court, their health is causing it, car problems, or any number of other reasons. And on the other hand, it goes far beyond those issues. Arriving late for work, leaving early, and then just not showing up at all. This goes for their breaks as well. Do they leave the facility or site for them? Lastly, are they pulling A no call no show. If they aren’t calling in and not showing up, this may indicate a problem. Many people have been found dead or in trouble because of not showing up for work.

  • Bullying

A hot topic for a lot of people and I comprehend that completely. Many people say that they never bully anyone or that they have never been bullied. Well, that probably isn’t the entire truth. I was bullied in school although it wasn’t as bad in the 70s as it is now. I’ve also bullied people, albeit unintentionally.

But being a bully can turn the tables on someone. There have been multiple incidents of the people being bullied turning the tables on their tormentors. Remember the one being bullied is like a trapped rat or animal?

If the person being bullied feels that they are trapped and they can’t fight back for any reason, then they may be pushed to their breaking point. That breaking point could manifest itself in 2 ways.

Either the individual being bullied will lash out, somehow, and attack the aggressor or as in far too many cases of teenagers today, due to the pandemic, commit suicide. If the individual being bullied strikes back, then they may lash out at everyone, not just the bully. That means they may think that no one tried to help them and therefore they deserve to be hurt.


This series will go on for a while and it will not have a preamble to each post to allow for the warning signs to be read quickly and efficiently.

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 2020 Robert D. Sollars

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