Warning Signs of Violence

Written by Robert D. Sollars

I consider the warning signs, listed below, to be the most important preventative measure to prevent violence of any kind in any organization. All 25 of them that I’ve collected, starting with Mid-Buchanan Middle School in Faucett, MO. In 1988 (Nathan Faris), a story for later.

But the question I get most frequently about putting the warning signs of workplace/school violence (WPV/SV) together in one article is simple…They are so similar they are virtually the same for both sets of organizations, with very little to differentiate them…except the ages of the perpetrators.

I will advise you, just because someone you know will have one or two of these doesn’t mean much. But when they start exhibiting 4, 5, 10, or more of these, you may have a problem simmering in the back of their minds. A later post will give you the reasonings of these signs, but for now…jus the listing;

  • Attendance Problems
  • Bullying
  • Continual Excuses
  • Concentration Problems
  • Cruelty to Animals
  • Domestic violence
  • Disciplinary issues
  • Drug and Alcohol Abuse
  • Excessive social media use & being immersed in it
  • Fascination with Weapons
  • Free Expression
  • Impact on supervisory/instructor time
  • Inconsistent Work Habits/Decreased Productivity
  • Known Mental Illness
  • New Religious/Political Fervor
  • Obsession with Military/Police Tactics
  • Obsession with past mass shootings and admiration of those perpetrators
  • Poor Health and Hygiene
  • Poor Relationship Skills
  • Safety Concerns
  • Serious Stress
  • Threats both open and veiled
  • Unshakable Depression
  • Unusual or Changed Behavior
  • Violent Music, Movies, and Video games


I feel the need to reiterate, that one or two of these signs are probably just an individual exercising their individuality and nothing more. However, when these signs begin to add up and you have 4, 7, 9, 10, or more then you should begin to worry. Especially if they occur over a short period of time.

How do you know how to recognize these people, how do you prevent another tragedy & ensuing trauma, or grieving family members, from occurring? The answer is simple and yet very complex and at the same time difficult to ascertain.

The easy answer is to encourage people to ‘see/notice something says something’. It is becoming so cliché at this point, but it is your most effective weapon in preventing an incident.

Yes, I know the unwritten code of way too many people, including teenagers and gangers, no snitching. But sometimes you have to do everything short of bullying them to get an individual to acknowledge somethings wrong with a friend or co-worker. Secondly…listen to what they tell you about the school, friends, ‘the losers’, co-workers, bosses, and everyone else they know or associate with. By listening to them and looking at their social media sites (for teenagers it’s not snooping or call their privacy rights into question – they don’t exist at this point), then you may just get a handle on it and spot these signs before they can open the gates of hell to splatter blood in a deadly rage.

I May Be Blind, but My Vision Is Crystal Clear

Permission to share? Of course, with full attribution.

Copyright 2020 Robert D. Sollars

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