Warning Signs of WPV/SV that YOU Ignore – part 8
Written by Robert D. Sollars
This is the last post in this series on warning signs. These signs are never a clear indicator of workplace violence, but they are the best indicators yet, that are inexpensive and easily implemented, of it to help prevent an incident…as long as the signs aren’t ignored and are acted upon…a mountain to overcome. Now, onto the last post;
- Threats both open and veiled
Veiled, public, private, verbal, written, or whatever. These are one of the first things you’ll hear or notice about the warning signs, although most of the time they are never uttered except to a few close associates or friends.
What’s considered a veiled threat? A man walked up to you throws his arm around you and pulls you close and with a smile says “you son-of-a-bitch, I’m gonna kick your ass!”. Is that a threat? Could be. It depends on how it’s said, who’s saying it, and how it’s said.
There is a huge difference between a veiled threat if you know the person or if they’re mad at you. I’ve had friends come up to me after the WPV threats exploded in the 80s – and did that to me. Was I scared or intimidated? No, because I knew the man and knew he was being friendly.
Do I know of incidents where someone has said breathy statements and veiled threats and no one took it seriously? A few hours, or days, later a firearm was brought into the building, and tragedy was struck.
As for verbal and written threats, look at the context of them. If only a few people hear or read the threats, the better the chance of something happening. If someone writes graffiti on a wall warning of something, it’s not likely to occur. Is this always the most accurate measuring stick? No, of course not. However, all threats need to be taken seriously and investigated by management or the police. And as a co-worker, if you hear someone threatening another, then report it to your supervisor or manager. Even if that person is your best friend, which admittedly is hard to do.
- Unshakable Depression
This is yet another sign that really should be diagnosed by a trained professional. But in this short post, it can be considered that they are depressed for no apparent reason other than they are depressed. No one on the outside may even know these individuals are depressed but in actuality, they are.
The depression keeps coming back and never really goes away. Don’t think that this depression is the same as mental illness…they are separate and just as deadly to the individual and others if left untreated and the individual is prone to violence.
- Violent Music, Movies, and Video games
This definitely doesn’t need any explanations. With the plethora of such items out there, people (not just kids and teenagers) can become addicted to the adrenaline high of killing things. And whether it is a game, movie, or rap song they get immune to what they are doing. And sometimes it becomes their reality and not fantasy.
There have been cases of teenagers & adults getting lost in the game where they can no longer distinguish between reality and fantasy. Of course, cartoons have always had this difference, but now it can turn deadly if the person believes fantasy is reality during a vampire or war game.
- Unusual or Changed Behavior
This is really the key to everything I’ve said. And it comes down to the people who know the individual best if there is one or to that notices changes and acts upon them. As a friend or co-worker, you need to know when something is wrong with your friends. If you notice the pattern of behavior isn’t changing after a day or so, then you need to say something…to someone, at the organization.
What would I consider unusual or changed behavior in someone? It doesn’t matter what I think or know about your friends or co-workers. I know my friends and co-workers and what would become changed or unusual behavior for them. Only you know them so only you and those around them can distinguish them.
Many people who meet me for the first time think I’m so far off the wall I’m in the dark corner of the parking lot in a football stadium! So, they are taken aback sometimes if I get depressed or start acting eccentric. But that is me. Do other people act this way sometimes, of course, they do! Is it cause for concern? Probably not, unless they tend towards the violent side of life…AND show more than 5 or 6 of the other signs noted in this series of blogs.
Use the guidelines I’ve given you and go from there. If you have any doubts about your friend or co-worker, then tell someone who has a responsible charge position, such as your department manager/supervisor, human resources, site supervisor, etc.
Keep in mind that not everyone ready to pop will exhibit all of these signs. Two of three of these, are probably just going through a tough time, and with the stressors happening due to the virus… But when the signs start adding up, 4, 5, 6, or more, then you may have a definite problem. And in those cases, you need to “nip it in the bud.” How do you do that?
Take active measures for interventions with counselors, or therapists but never just one of the people mentioned above. The main objective with any of this is to act upon these warning signs and never ignore or blow them off as normal or a tough time. If you do, you could be inviting blood splatter in the facility like a low-budget horror film.
It happens to Anyone…Any Time…Anywhere… For any Reason
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I May Be Blind, but My Vision Is Crystal Clear
Copyright 2022 Robert D. Sollars