Workplace Shootings... Unpredictable?
Or Are There Warning Signs?

Can Workplace Shootings be foreseen or prevented?

It depends on who you believe.

AOL News reported (8/04/2010, reporter David Lohr):

"Expert: Intervening Early Can
Prevent Workplace Shootings."

Lohr interviewed "Dr. Park Dietz, a workplace violence expert" after a shooter killed eight co-workers in a Manchester, Connecticut workplace and then shot himself.

Dr Dietz (founder of The Threat Assessment Group) stated "The odds of a case like this occurring with proper pre-employment screening are vanishingly low."

However, Newsweek responded to the same event (8/03/2010, reporter Kate Dailey) with:

"Workplace Shootings: Rare, Horrifying, and Totally Unpredictable."

"... as the economy tanks and jobs are scarce, the rates of these killings increase. So says Jack Levine, the Brudnick professor of sociology and criminology at Northeastern University.

Almost all of these vengeful killers suffered some catastrophic loss... It's always the loss of the job or a loss of a lot of money in the stock market... some companies have been employing more compassionate firing processes.

workplace safety guns

Unfortunately... We might like to think there are warning signs... but that's not the case.

While troubled individuals who need help can be identified, there's no way of figuring out what slight percentage of those may turn into killers.

We can't identify these people beforehand".

Worst Workplace Murders.

1. Workplace Shootings by disgruntled employees:
  • U.S.A. 8/20/1986... A postal worker (about to be fired) kills 14 co-workers, then himself.

  • U.S.A. 9/14/1989... Worker on disability (for mental illness) kills 8 in printing plant, then himself.

  • U.S.A. 6/18/1990... Worker at General Motors Acceptance Corp. kills 10, then himself.

  • U.S.A. 7/01/1993... Man with grudge against lawyers kills 8 in San Francisco law office, then himself.

  • workplace safety shooter U.S.A. 7/27-29/1999... Former day trader kills wife & 2 children, 9 co-workers, then himself.

  • U.S.A. 12/26/2000... Software tester runs amok with AK-47 assault rifle, a shotgun, and a handgun killing 7 co-workers at Internet consulting company.

  • India 11/27/2004... Policeman kills 7 colleagues (including a company commander) before being shot himself.

  • Philippines 1/16/2005... Policeman kills Police Director, 4 policemen, 2 bystanders, then himself.

  • U.S.A. 1/30/2006... Former postal worker kills 1 acquaintance, 6 postal employees, then herself in the worst mass workplace homicide by a woman.

  • U.S.A. 8/03/2010... Warehouse driver (about to be fired) kills 8 co-workers, then himself.

2. Workplace Shootings in Military establishments:
  • Indonesia 4/15/1996... Soldier kills 3 officers, 8 soldiers, and 5 civilians before being subdued.

  • workplace safety soldier South Korea 6/19/2005... Soldier kills 8 comrades with a grenade and handgun.

  • U.S.A. Fort Hood, Texas 11/05/2009... 13 killed, 32 injured by Army psychiatrist.

  • Afghanistan 4/27/2011... Afghan military pilot kills 8 U.S. troops and an American contractor after an argument.

3. School Shootings:
  • Scotland 3/13/1996... Deranged gun collector shoots 16 young children, their teacher, then himself.

  • U.S.A. 4/20/1999... Two youths (17 & 18) kill 12 students, their teacher, then themselves.

  • Germany 4/26/2002... Former (expelled) 19-year-old student shoots 13 teachers, 2 students, 1 policeman, then himself.

  • U.S.A. 4/16/2007... Sth Korean student kills 32 (5 teachers & 27 students) on Blacksburg, Virginia campus, then himself in the deadliest shooting rampage by a lone shooter in U.S. history.

  • workplace safety man gun Finland 11/7/2007... I8 year-old student kills the school principal, the school nurse, 6 students, then himself.

  • Finland 9/23/2008... Gunman massacres 9 students, 1 staff member, then himself.

  • Germany 3/11/2009... Former student kills 3 teachers, 9 pupils, 3 passers-by, then himself.

  • U.S.A. 2/12/2010...University Alabama female researcher kills 3 biology professors, wounds 3 more.

  • Rio De Janeiro, Brazil 4/7/2011... Former student kills 11 people, then himself.

Workplace Shootings... Facts & Figures:

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics for 2008 revealed:

...10-12% of all workplace fatalities were from homicide.
...80% of workplace homicides were from shootings.
...80% of victims of workplace shootings were male.
...24% of workplace homicides were in the Retail Sector.
...40% of homicides were carried out by robbers.
...12% of homicides were carried out by disgruntled employees.
...43% of workplace homicides involve current employees, 22% former employees.

Other statistics and facts from various sources:

...24% of shooters had been fired or laid of.
...92% of shooters were male.
...around 36% of male shooters committed suicide.
...around 7% of female shooters committed suicide.
...9-13% of shooters showed prior warning signs.
...around 1/3rd of workplace shootings occur in "white-collar" jobs.
...the higher the death toll, the more likely the shooter will commit suicide.
...86% of deaths were in the private sector, 14% in government.
...many workplace shootings are planned well in advance and don't occur because the shooter suddenly "snapped".
...many shooters believe they are the victims of unfair treatment, loss of job, discrimination, financial pressures, etc.

Is Gun Availability A Factor in Workplace Shootings?

Fierce debate rages over this question in the U. S., the nation with the highest gun ownership in the world at 88.8 guns per 100 residents (2007 survey ref: Wikipedia)... where 1 in 4 adults owns a gun, and half America's population live in a house with a gun.

France & Canada came in at 31 guns/100 residents, Australia 15 guns/100 and Russia 8.9 guns /100.

The anti-gun lobby are adamant that easy access to weapons is a recipe for disaster, especially in hard economic times where disgruntled workers are stressed out, angry and frustrated. They want firearms banned from schools and work places.

Gun owner associations, however, counter by saying gun ownership actually reduces violence by allowing workers to defend themselves and is a deterrent to would be shooters.

In 2008 Oklahoma passed legislation prohibiting employers from preventing employees from "transporting and storing firearms in a locked vehicle" in company parking lots... 12 more states had done likewise by 2011 with more likely to follow.

Time will tell whether allowing workers to bring their guns to work (even if they are locked in their cars in the company parking lot) is such a good idea... or a really bad idea.

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