They snapped like a stalk of celery…eh, not so much
Written by Robert D. Sollars
Usually, when I hear about an incident of workplace or school violence (WPV/SV), there is always a pundit, literally everywhere in all of the media, that is more than willing to tell you, ‘They just snapped with no warning’. Then they will discuss how we can prevent these incidents all with, more than likely, millions of dollars without no promises that they’ll work…except with many more millions.
Possibly they’ll make it so simple that you think “Wow, we can do that. Then when you delve into it…eh, not so simple to implement. It shouldn’t and isn’t that complicated or convoluted to do…as I will say many more times, it may be time-consuming but not that simple.
Those so-called ‘experts’…ARE just plain WRONG. Those things are said because they make excellent sound bites & the audiences, in this era of .24-second news cycles, expect, and want them. But do we need good sound bites that sound good in .24 seconds or the unvarnished truth for those who will be mentally traumatized by an incident?
I’ve said this for decades and will continue to do so, ad nauseum, 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, they could have potentially prevented a traumatizing or fatal incident.
The key to all of this is whether or not we act upon these signs or not. One of my favorite sayings that gets derided so often by others, not in the field is; we can either choose to act upon the warning signs or ignore them. Which way we decide to act could determine whether someone will live with the trauma or die…if they listen.
Unfortunately, it’s as much the people, as well as the organizations themselves, that these signs are ignored. The reasoning is simple…failure to connect the dots.
Connecting the dots is a simple exercise, especially when you know what to look for, which is the organization’s 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 told.
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, traumatized mental states, broken machinery, lives, and the publicity. And of course, after that is litigation 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? Maybe, they’ve cried wolf too many times so you ignore it as another false prank. Possibly you utilize the zero-tolerance policy and suspend/terminate them without a fair hearing and think it’s over? Or you don’t worry about it because after all “People just snap! I heard that on the news!”
Hooboy, are you letting yourself in for a big surprise, if not now…
I have more than 40 years in the security field & more than 30 working with workplace & school violence prevention. Contact me at; Sollars Violence Prevention Training & Consulting. You can also write me at email@example.com for the fastest service call 480-2551-5197 24/7/365 because violence and crime don’t take holidays!
You can check out my books and discover a whole lot more: Murder in the Classroom: A Practical Guide for Prevention or Murder at Work: A Practical Guide for Prevention
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