What are the Warning Signs?

by todaystrainingblog

February 8, 2013


Many times when at a business function, such as a Chamber of Commerce or networking event, I’m asked about the warning signs for WPV. And it’s surprising to me how many times when I talk to these owners and managers that they tell me that ‘These perpetrators just snap and there is no warning!’. This is what the talking heads and pundits on TV and radio spout.

I give them a subtle little smile and tell them no. There are always warning signs to someone who is going to ‘Go Postal’. The problem is that those around them and their bosses can’t, or won’t, connect the dots to see and try to understand them.

I then proceed to give them a few of the signs, so as not to bore and drive them away, and to preserve the possibility of doing a seminar for them (sly wink in your direction).

More than a few are a little surprised at the ones I talk about with them. And of course I bring up the most obscure ones and the ones least likely to be talked about. And I have no doubt that many of you reading this post may be surprised at these as well, even the security professionals in the group. So what are a couple of these you ask? Let me enlighten you on a couple of them.

Of the 21 warning signs, everyone will obviously know mental illness, drug/alcohol abuse, and disruptive behavior among them. But how about new political or religious fervor? Possibly violent video games? How’s ‘bout having a fascination with weapons or cruelty to animals?

Some people will then ask me succinctly ‘Aren’t those the signs of a teenager who wants to take a firearm to school to murder a classmate or teacher?’ I say, just as succinctly Yes it is. I then tell them that the warning signs for SV and WPV are virtually the same! And of course that surprises them as well.

Another that surprises most people is that many of the warning signs are so inter-twined that it is impossible to differentiate. Some of the warning signs for depression, drug/alcohol abuse, and stress are exactly the same! And not only that some symptoms of drug (ab)use are the same as they are for a medical condition such as a stroke or diabetic emergency! So it is impossible to classify someone as a drunk or just depressed unless we get them help in some form. And there are far too many resources for me to name and/or list here.

Warning signs for either WPV or SV are critical to understand in order to try and prevent the violence that occurs in our world. If you don’t understand them, then you will not be able to act pre-emptively to stop an event from happening.

It is unfortunate, but most people, I would venture today 95% of employees and employers have no clue what the signs are. And consequently, it may be worse, they don’t know how to help or prevent an incident from occurring in their school or business.

The biggest key in this is training! Yes, that’s what I do and yes I’m passionate about it. I want to help both businesses and schools save lives. And not just keep them from being murdered but traumatized as well because of a close friend or co-worker being killed or injured.

I’ve said for more than a decade that we have a choice when it comes to the warning signs. We can either choose to ignore or act upon them. But we can’t act upon them if we don’t know them! Think back to all the recent incidents that have happened since the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in New Town Ct.

In both WPV and SV, we’ve had nearly 60 people/children killed, wounded, injured and unknown numbers psychologically traumatized (look at the strident calls for gun control and other such issues). In January alone we had 4 incidents of WPV in the Phoenix area. And since New Town there have been nearly 3 dozen incidents of both SV and WPV.

Do you want to know more warning signs, just write me or put it on the Facebook page.