Written by Robert D. Sollars
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Usually, when you hear about an incident of workplace/school violence (WPV/SV), there is always a pundit, literally on every media channel national & local, that are more than willing to mislead you into thinking, ‘They just snapped with no warning’. Then they will discuss how we can prevent these incidents… all with, more than likely, millions of dollars spent & wasted on a glowing new preventive cure, that does nothing but waste resources.
Those so-called experts…ARE just plain out-an-out WRONG.
Those things are said because they make excellent sound bites & the audiences that listen to it, in this era of .24 second news cycles, expect them because we’ll too busy to listen to the entire story of the incident. But do we need good sound bites or the unvarnished truth to those who will be mentally traumatized? Take your pick of what you want in your organization when the clock starts ticking on preventing an incident.
I’ve said this for decades, ad nauseum, and will continue to do so… there are ALWAYS warning signs. And it doesn’t really matter whether it’s with their words, hot & greasy French fries, fists, pencils or staplers, or knives and firearms. There will always be warning signs they are about to hurt someone. Someone will notice, & generally ignore them, when they could have potentially prevented a traumatizing incident, not just an injury (of some kind) or just a death, and not just on the ‘victim’.
The key to the warning signs is very simple. It can be attributed to whether or not we act upon these signs. One of my favorite sayings that gets derided so often from others, not in the field is; “we can either choose to act upon or ignore the warning signs”. Which way we decide to act could determine whether someone will die a horrible death or live with the trauma of witnessing someone being murdered in front of them & the fear they’ll feel as the person passes them over, for days, weeks, months, or even decades.
Unfortunately, it’s as much the individuals involved and closest to the perpetrator, as well as the organizations themselves, that these signs are ignored. The reasoning is also very simple…failure to connect the dots. And not wanting to ‘snitch’ on a friend or colleague.
Connecting those dots is a simple exercise, especially when you know what to look for, which is the organizations’ responsibility. But it’s not just that simple either. Literally, everyone needs to know not to brush off what someone brings to them, and it includes literally everyone that is informed of the potential threat, which up-front would be the supervisor & managers on the floor.
Some will cry wolf too many times and therefore not be credible when reporting such things. But even if they aren’t credible in all cases, it may be the one case that they are and an incident occurs. After that, it’s all about cleaning up the blood & brain splatter, traumatized mental states, broken office equipment /machinery, lives, and the publicity. Of course, after that is bad publicity on the company & management, litigation, loss of reputation, and potential bankruptcy or lack of funding for other more important programs.
So, the conclusion is fairly simple…do you and your organization take it seriously if someone informs on someone who may be potentially dangerous? Or do you, and they, just ignore it because you have more pressing things to worry about at the moment, such as scheduling issues, returns, deliveries, or hiring en-masse for after the pandemic? Maybe, they’ve cried wolf too many times so you ignore it as another prank. Possibly you utilize the zero-tolerance policy and suspend/terminate them without a fair hearing and think it’s over? Hoo boy, are you letting yourself in for a big surprise, if not now then…
It happens to Anyone…Any Time… Anywhere… For any Reason
I May Be Blind, but My Vision Is Crystal Clear
Permission to share? Of course, with full attribution.
Copyright 2021 Robert D. Sollars