Tag Archives: guns

Going Postal

8 Jun

I watched a documentary about the infamous rash of shootings perpetrated by (postal) workers in the U.S. with the expectation of judging and criticizing the violent offenders.  While I watched the film, I was hit by another feeling–empathy.  For the violent offenders.

Even though I would not, under any circumstance, say what they did was justified or warrented, the movie made clear these were not just crazy individuals.  The stressors and managerial styles of employers pushed them over the edge.  The pressures of the job and abusive atmosphere at work helped them snap.

Why do (Former) Employees Shoot?

-70% of all Americans are unhappy in their jobs.

-feel powerless

-work more and more hours

-companies squeeze more out of employees

-emphasis is placed on profits–not people

-more pressure to perform leads to higher stress loads.

 -treating workers like machinary dehumanizes–>easier to be cruel

-competition with co-workers for (perceived) limited benefits/raises/hr/pay

-alienation at work due to competition or under-performance

-increasing frustration

-employees feel resentful

-tied to work for the income

-manager nit-picking of employees

-feeling of helplessness

-feeling of already having failed

-fear of getting terminated

-employee feels wronged

-have to be subjected to same conditions day in and day out (1/3 life is spent at work)

-identity and self worth are tied up in job

-(threat of) getting fired takes away not only income, but self-worth, identity, and social network.

-media attention on other shooting/attacks inspires the desperate

-perceive self as hero to others in same situation


-kill many innocent people to symbolize larger organization (which can’t be killed).

And the ultimate solutions:

-Co-workers need to report, report, report.  It’s better to investigate a “feeling” than leave it alone and face tragedy.  Awareness of signs and signals–and telling those concerns to the right people can prevent many such incidents.

-Having a plan.  Practicing that plan.  All places of employment need to go over an emergency plan in case of shootings.  Or fires, bombs, terrorist attacks, etc. . .

-The media needs to be careful about sensationalizing shooting events, which can influence other unstable people to commit crimes.

-As always, America needs to put more emphasis on mental health care.  Screening, funding, and supporting it is imperative.

-Businesses need to evaluate their company ethos, goals, and managers to make sure the environment is need a hostile pressure-cooker.

-Impossibly, the U.S. needs to put less emphasis on capitalism, production, and money and more on work relations, vacations, and human rights.  This is a tall order.

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Guns + Testosterone

5 May

= mostly annoying + unsuccessful

As you read in my last post, a woman in the next apartment complex got stabbed to death while walking her dog (a pit-bull) on the lower trail just a few yards away.  Spokanistan’s big solution to the fatal stabbing on the trail along my street?  Carry a gun.

I find this logic faulty for a few reasons:

1)  The stabbing was a surprise–as most attacks are.  This dude jumped out of the bushes on a random morning and stabbed a stranger.  No motive.  No connection.  No warning.  How could an unsuspecting person, notice a threat, control their dog, get their concealed weapon out, pull the safety, aim, and shoot in time?  I suspect no amount of ammunition, protective animal, or self-defense skills could have prohibited this particular incident. . .

2)  I don’t feel like a bunch of trigger-happy, fearful, or just testosterone-driven people should be carrying around firearms at all times.  How many accidents could occur where unintentional people/animals/self was shot?  What if the thing jumping out from the bushes was an off-leash dog playing fetch?  What if it was a child running through the bushes?  And what if the gun got in the wrong hands somehow?

How many of these gun-carrying citizens take the time to learn to appropriately use the deadly weapon?  One person’s logic was–“Well of course a person who spends hundred of dollars, and a large chunk of time acquiring a gun will take lessons in how to use it!”  Not so, Sir.  If that was true every person with a car and a driver’s license would have taken Driver’s Ed or auto-shop.  And we KNOW there are a ton of bad drivers out there.  And every person with a house would learn plumbing, electrical skills, gardening, decorating, etc, etc. . .  But obviously, there is employment in all those fields for a reason–not everyone learns to do those things just because they spent money and did a lot of paperwork to buy property.  JUST because something costs a lot, and requires some hoop-jumping to get–does not mean the item is used with skill.

3) I just didn’t like the tone of the debate.  Despite the tone of this post, I am FOR gun ownership.  I think the bad guys will have weapons with or without regulation–so the good guys should be able to defend themselves if necessary.  In this, I’m thinking of having it in your house in case of an intruder.  Or using it for responsible hunting/target practicing purposes.  That said, I draw a line at ignoramuses that just seem excited to carry and discharge a weapon because they can.  Guns are not a substitute for common sense, personal responsibility, and reasonable law enforcement measures.

I believe it is not a gun that would have diverted this horrible death.  I think a greater sense of community would have done a good job.  This neighborhood has been relinquished to the homeless, addicted, and transients.  All of us see it, and no one took steps to correct the problem.  At most, people move.  No one started a neighborhood watch program.  At the very least, someone should have spread the message to new-comers that the road/trail/river are not safe (to go on alone) on this side.  Had any neighbors reported being chased the weekend earlier, said something to police about possible drug deals going down along the road, or mostly–watched out for each other, this may not have happened.  Because there is a shortage of funds for police, lack of priority by the city to clean this area up, and apathy by residents about the goings-on near our apartments and houses, someone is dead.