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Month: October, 2015

Ignorance is not bliss, but it can be fatal!

August 26, 2015, ex-employee of television station WDBJ intercepted a reporter and her cameraman at a remote shoot in Hardy, VA.  He fired multiple rounds and killed both of them. Then he attempted to kill the subject of the report. After a vehicle chase, he committed suicide.

October 1, 2015, Roseburg, Oregon. A 28-year-old student walked onto the campus of Umpqua Community College. He went to the creative writing class he was taking and opened fire. He killed 9 and wounded 7. Then after a brief exchange of fire with police, he killed himself.

October 9, 2015, on the campus of Northern Arizona University (NAU), in Flagstaff, outside a dormitory for Fraternities & sororities, an 18-year-old student got into a verbal altercation with members of another fraternity. He ran to his car, pulled out a firearm, returned to the fight and opened fire. He wounded 3 and killed 1 student, before being arrested.

All three of these shooters forewarned their intent by showing warning signs of workplace & school violence (WPV/SV), which are virtually the same, for years. Yet, no one took them seriously. Instead of acting upon them, they made a conscious decision to ignore them. The results of their ignorance of the signs ended up with people dead, wounded, & traumatized.


Warning Signs:

Do you know the warning signs of someone who is close to going off? In my 24 years of researching, writing, & speaking about WPV/SV, I’ve created a list of 21. 2 or 3 of these is not, usually, cause for concern. But if you begin to see 5, 6, 7, or more… These are the most prevalent I have found;

Attendance Problems


Concentration Problems

Continual Excuses

Cruelty to Animals

Disciplinary issues

Drug and Alcohol Abuse

Fascination with Weapons

Free Expression

Impact on Supervisory Time

Inconsistent Work Habits/Decreased Productivity

Obsession With Police/Military Tactics

New Religious Fervor/Political Affiliation

Poor Health & Hygiene

Poor Relationship Skills

Safety Issues

Serious Stress


Unshakable Depression

Unusual or Changed Behavior

Violent Music, Movies and Video Games

Excuses not telling someone:

You may see these warning signs in friends, family, or co-workers. There are plenty of explanations/excuses to go along with the warning signs.  But the main question is what excuse will you use to not tell someone?

  • He was just going through a tough time
  • He’ll come out of it
  • He’s not that kind
  • He would never do something like that
  • He’s not capable of doing that
  • He’s got problems, who doesn’t?
  • I don’t want to get him in trouble
  • I don’t want to get involved
  • It’s not my problem
  • Why should I care what happens to him?
  • I hate this place, why should I warn them?
  • This company needs a wake-up call anyway
  • They won’t listen to me

Should I go on with the excuses? There are more excuses for ignoring these signs than there is space in a short blog post.

Most of these excuses and ignoring the warning signs comes down to one attitude. It Can’t Happen Here, which is the most dangerous that anyone, at any business/school can have, because it ignores the potential danger. Just because you ignore earthquakes, or tornadoes, doesn’t mean it won’t kill you.

And there is also no excuse for anyone to say ‘I didn’t think it could happen here!’ That was the utterance of a NAU student on the 9th. Just over a week after Umbqua. And Roseburg is smaller than Flagstaff. If it can happen in those places, what prevents it from happening anywhere else? And then there is your little town or campus…

They say that ignorance is bliss. Ignorance is no excuse for ignoring the law. And if you ignore the warning signs of WPV/SV you could be opening your business or campus up for coverage on FOX, CNN, and your local news outlets, with all of the bad publicity it brings.

Robert D. Sollars is a recognized expert on security issues, specifically workplace violence. He’s spent 32 years in the security field. Contact him at 480-251-5197 or Visit his Facebook page, One is too Many. Here you will read about other items related to security & WPV issues. Or be a twitter follower at @robertsollars2.

I May be Blind but my Vision is Crystal Clear

Are you prepared for an active shooter?

You see and read about, both fiction and non-fiction, police shootouts on TV, print, & on line. Police and military think about and train for them. But what should you do if you ever encounter one yourself?

Every situation is different. And most of us aren’t security or police officers. Even ex-military, we may not be fully prepared for such an event in civilian life, as if anyone really is. What should you do to save yourself, friends, and loved ones if bullets start flying in your business, or the one you’re visiting? Let me tell you what I think is best to save your life, even if you’re just out shopping.

Some states allow their citizens to openly carry their firearms. If you want to, and you live in such a state, by all means do so.  States with the least restrictive firearm laws are usually the ones that see the fewest firearm crimes. Rarely do mass shootings occur in a state that allows open carry.

But if you’re at work or school, that may not be an option for you and your friends, especially in schools, at all levels. While the states may allow you to do so, many companies, municipalities, & universities won’t allow you to carry into their facilities. The 2 main reasons are that they are afraid of causing a panic or that they are against firearms at all. But those are for later discussions.

There is an option, developed by the Department of Homeland Security a few years ago that works. Run, Hide, or Fight and some are amending that to say defend – which is the same thing as fight. And I will tell you about them, with one added step before.

            It will be difficult to do. And most won’t be able to suppress the natural inclination of flight. But you have to try and steady yourself and your shattering nerves and DON’T PANIC! That’s right, you can’t panic and become rooted where you stand or sit.

            That is the most normal instinct for us. Fight or flight, and in this instance it would be flee from a ‘crazed gunman’. But panic necessarily needs to last only a moment before your instincts to protect others needs to kick in. Because there will be others that need your help to uproot their feet and move them along to safety.

            Now, here is my take on the R H F/D;


If you can do it safely then Run. This is the safest thing to do. If you can get out of the line of fire and away from the scene of the gunfire, do it. This is why evacuation plans exist in most businesses. Although only 17% of businesses have an active shooter evacuation plan, it still makes sense.

If your employer doesn’t have such a plan, then do what you can to make up your own. If you know that the shooter is a current or former employee, DON’T take the planned evacuation route, no matter what.

You may ask How crazy is that?  But think: who knows the evacuation route better than an employee? If that shooter is going to target specific people, then they’ll know which routes to go to & begin shooting at those attempting to escape. You need to find another way that may not be on the official evacuation plan or as well known to the shooter.


If you can’t escape but can take cover to hide… Find a good “hidey hole” and stay there until emergency personnel arrives to rescue you.  It doesn’t matter where this “hidey hole” is, just as long as it will keep you safe and sound.

A couple of things to keep in mind when attempting to find a ‘hidey hole’ during this nerve rattling and panicky situation:

  • behind a cabinet, ensuring it’s sturdy and can withstand bullets
  • behind or under a desk, and don’t peek out
  • inside a closet that locks, and stay low to the floor
  • in a storm cellar, if newer buildings even have them
  • The restroom, standing on the toilet in a closed stall, hunkered over
  • somewhere similar

Once you’re there, stay quiet. It does no good to hide away from a shooter, but make noises that will attract him to you, because If you do that… And for the sake of your friends, find another place to hide, if you have a respiratory issue that could cause you to breathe or wheeze loudly.


You have a couple of options with this. The 1st, obviously, is to stand your ground and confront the shooter. And if you decide to confront them be prepared to fight.  Use whatever is at hand to distract them and get the gunsights off you.  Throw things at him, hands, feet, staplers, cups, vases, books, folders, binders, even chairs, anything can make a weapon.

the 2nd option is, again, to run if you can.  If you decide you can make it out of your ‘hidey hole’ and be safe, then do it. Keep in mind, by leaving your hiding spot you may still have to fight the shooter and you lose your only advantage.


Despite what people you hear would have you believe most shooters will not just randomly start shooting at anyone and everyone. More than 95% of incidents are targeted. Many times, shooters will walk right by someone, for no apparent reason, and shoot others. Rarely, are the victims chosen at random. Unless their rage is unfocused and it was ‘everyone’ who was against them.

Robert D. Sollars is a recognized expert on security issues, specifically workplace violence. He’s spent 32 years in the security field. Contact him at 480-251-5197 or Visit his Facebook page, One is too Many. Here you will read about other items related to security & WPV issues. Or be a twitter follower at @robertsollars2.

                                   I May be Blind but my Vision is Crystal Clear

Would you hire Stephen Hawking for a job in physics?

In my previous assignments in security I assisted in handling the HR duties for Wells Fargo Guard Services, now Securitas, Allied Security, Inc., now allied-Barton Security, and First Response, Inc., in Mission Kansas. I can guarantee you that hiring someone that is disabled is not that big of a deal. I know because I’ve done it.

I will tell you, especially in my case being blind, that we may not be able to do some jobs as fast as a non-disabled employee, but it can, and will be, accomplished. We just have to take pains to do it our way. And doing it our way may not necessarily be the standard way, or by the corporate line, but as long as it is done on time and is right…

It is obvious that a blind or deaf person can’t stand post. And if they are needed to greet visitors… On the other hand, would a blind or deaf officer be adept at a place that offers blind or deaf services? Of course they would, and they would probably be better than a normal officer.

Likewise, people that are confined to wheelchairs or using a walker are not able to walk effectively, are not suited to being on an assignment that requires a lot of walking, especially if it’s outside the building on uneven pavement or gravel. Nor one that requires them to move quickly and evacuate the facility.

However, those of us that are disabled can contribute to the safety & security of a company or client employees. Now you’re wondering ‘how can a disabled individual contribute to any company’s safety & security? Especially in an industry that is so visually, auditory, and shoe leather oriented?

The question is simple at this point. Do you have any jobs within your company that can be done safely by someone who is disabled? Do you take pains to ensure that you assign the right officer to the right post? Look at the jobs you have and then answer that honestly. Here is a partial list of those jobs that can be effectively completed by someone who is disabled, everything else being equal;

  • Access control points checking ID badges & signing them in/out
  • Dispatch/control centers
  • Training other security officers
  • Writing reports, post orders, policies, procedures, & etc.
  • Consulting, providing they have the knowledge
  • Administration, completing the mountains of paperwork including the filing
  • Customer Service
  • Front Desk receptionist at a client/company site

Misconceptions among Employers:

  • You either give us our accommodations or we’ll sue you for discrimination!
  • We’ll sue you for not getting the equipment we need to work quickly enough.
  • We cost too much money to hire you for your equipment. There are programs that assist in paying for accommodations
  • We’re too sensitive about our disability to discuss it, without complaining
  • We’ll cause too many problems once we’re hired

Is this saying that there aren’t people out there who do want to sue the company if you don’t spit on the griddle? Of course there are.  And the same holds true for the other misconceptions above. But HR should be able to weed them out with appropriate interviewing techniques.  


What we expect from an employer:

  • Computer programs that allow us to read, write, & correct documents i.e. JAWS for the blind
  • Keep aisles clear of boxes and other impediments
  • Don’t allow items to ‘hang’ off your desk that can be easily knocked off
  • Close the filing cabinets above waist level, away from our canes
  • If you borrow something off my desk, put it back in the same place
  • Let me know if your hands or arms are full when I’m coming to you
  • If you want to shake my hand, tell me yours is extended
  • Just plain ol’ common courtesy and professionalism in the office


The way to treat us while working:

The exact same way you treat any other employee. By making exceptions and catering to or avoiding us, it draws attention to our disability. And we just want to blend in with other employees, ‘no special handling required’, and make the company effective, efficient, innovative, & profitable.

If we need help, we’ll ask. If we need something, we’ll ask. And we won’t be rude, surly, cop an attitude, yell, scream, or anything like that if we don’t get our way. Will we get angry and frustrated at times? Of course we will the same as anyone else does. And then, like any other employee, we just need to calm down.

So as we move further into the 21st century, let’s throw out the misconceptions and discrimination. Look at what we can accomplish to enhance the safety and security of the company, its employees, and clients. If you don’t, you may lose out on a wealth of innovation, knowledge, skill, & experience.

If a severely crippled man, with a permanent hyena like smile on his face, in a motorized wheelchair came into your laboratory and applied for a physics job, would you even interview them? If you didn’t know that person was Stephen Hawking probably not, but knowing who he was you’d welcome him into the company with open arms. So why turn a disabled person away just because you don’t know their knowledge, experience, & skills?

Robert D. Sollars has been blind since 2003, 6 weeks after moving to the Phoenix area. However he is still a recognized expert on security issues, specifically workplace violence. He’s spent 32 years in the security field. Contact him at 480-251-5197 or Visit his Facebook page, One is too Many. Here you will read about other items related to security & WPV issues. Or be a twitter follower at @robertsollars2.

I may be blind but my vision is crystal clear!

Getting down & Dirty-Part 2

Continuing with lighting and the parking lot we’ll start with the back door to the business. It may be an employee or delivery door, but no matter what you call it, it has to be lit. And bright enough for you to be able to recognize anyone or anything outside.

And by recognizing items outside I mean items such as;

Facial features of individuals wanting access as well as the color of their hair, lips, skin, make-up & etc.

Packages left next to or in front of the door

Vehicles parked in close proximity

Type (short/long sleeves, shorts or long pants, sandals or shoes) & color of Clothing

One way to assist in this, and be able to look in all directions is installing a camera or other device in or next to the door. This will allow you to see more than one person, if they are trying to hide for a forceful entry,  or an item just sitting there unattended. Or a vehicle ready for a quick get away,.

Doors, Locks, & keys:

The first thing to think about with this subject is the locks you place on the doors. They are just as important as the door. You should always use a high impact deadbolt, if you can, unless the property manager/owner doesn’t allow them. Slide bolts and chain locks give you a false sense of security because these are very easily broken. And if the locks can be easily broken, then it is much easier for a criminal to get in and cause havoc.

Is there room between the lock and jamb allowing for a pry bar? Make certain that no more than ½ inch of the deadbolt can be seen when the door is locked otherwise a pry bar can be easily slipped into the breach. And the pry bar, usually a tire iron of some kind, will be used as a weapon against your employees or customers.  And they can do a lot of damage due to blunt force trauma, up to & including  death.

Remember keys are easily lost or copied, because they are usually given out to employees with no thought to security. Card systems are relatively inexpensive and are easy to administer. Most systems are windows based and will walk you through creating and deleting the cards. This being the case, you always need to collect any keys, cards, or other such material from employees who leave your employ.

As for the hinge pins, try not to allow the doors to swing outward. If they swing out, then a burglar can take the pins out and remove the door. Another aspect of outwardly swinging doors that aren’t seen very well is that if it opens and someone unknown is there, they can grab the door and pull it open and you out with it. Then you and the store are defenseless.

The front doors you can’t do much about if you are in a retail location. The doors will be glass to allow for window shopping. On the other hand, if you are in an office complex or offices within such an open space, then you need to ensure that the doors are not easily broken into. The best doors would be a solid core door. This type of door gives some protection from all sorts of hazards.

A solid core door is your first line of defense. As with the parking lot lighting, the property owner, or yourself, need to replace any other kind of door with hardened steel solid core doors.

Electronic Security:

You, absolutely 110%, need to always consider electronic security as well. Every store/office should have an alarm. If the property manager won’t let you install them, think about wireless. There are innumerable shops where you can get wireless alarm systems. Even most security alarm companies are offering wireless alarm options today, because so many people are leasing their homes or apartments, but these alarms can easily be adapted. The drawback to these is that they aren’t monitored so any alarm has to be, at 0200, investigated by you.

then you have to think about closed circuit Video systems (CCVS). Having a camera system with high resolution and recorded images will help the police if there is an incident. They are fairly inexpensive and easy to maintain. But never forget it doesn’t do you any good to have cameras if you are NOT recording the images. Your recordings can be saved off site so that the images can be saved even if the thief takes the on-site recorder.

And use high resolution cameras. If you don’t, then the best you’ll get for a theif is a grainey image in which no one will be able to identify the perpetrator. And even if it does a great shot of their clothes, they can be changed in the alley quickly. There are just too many different devices that are small, inconspicuous, & inexpensive – not to mention high resolution and programmable, not to have these.


Take these tips & conduct a DnD of your next location. And if the property owner balks at replacing these things and won’t let you do it, then look for another location. Take your time and look closely at these areas, it should help to secure your business so you can be successful.

Robert D. Sollars is a recognized expert on security issues, specifically workplace violence. He’s spent 32 years in the security field. Contact him at 480-251-5197 or Visit his Facebook page, One is too Many. Here you will read about other items related to security & WPV issues. Or be a twitter follower at @robertsollars2.

                                        I May be Blind but my Vision is Crystal Clear

Should we abolish the 2nd Amendment & ban firearms?

Now that the hand wringing over the tragedy in Roseburg, Oregon (October 1 Umpqua Community College) is dying down and people are starting to think clearly again, I wanted to offer my views on gun control and why it won’t work. At least as efficiently and effectively as many would have you believe.

Every time a workplace violence (WPV) or a school violence (SV) incident occurs, there is a feeding frenzy about gun control, like sharks at the sinking of the USS Indianapolis. And unfortunately it is the politicians, and other progressive/socialistic groups, who begin pushing for ‘better and more regulation’ control.

In nearly all incidents that are committed using a firearm, they were purchased legally, and then borrowed, or otherwise stolen from the rightful owner. And of course I can give several incidents to back this up i.e. Sandy Hook Elementary. Gun control would not have prevented them.

We can’t stop illegal immigration, drug smuggling, ISIS, or states breaking federal law. So how is banning or stricter control of firearms going to stop these incidents? It won’t. No matter what we do, the criminals will always have access to firearms. If felons, or illegal immigrants, aren’t supposed to have firearms then how do we arrest so many of them with them?

And if we ban, or regulate them out of private ownership, what other items will we ban when they start causing crime and death? What about knives, pencils, screwdrivers, & pipe wrenches? What about cars? Alcohol or marijuana, oh wait marijuana is already illegal, supposedly. These items take many more lives than firearms in our country.

A firearm is not dangerous unless used improperly. In the same way both vehicles when combined with alcohol, and illegal/legal drugs, are the same. If used improperly they cause more death & destruction than firearms ever could except in war. So why don’t we ban them as well? It would be better for the environment and our health.

Think that it is impossible to overturn parts of the U.S. Constitution? Remember prohibition? There are movements afoot already to rewrite parts of the Constitution and take away many of the Bill of Rights. And the troubling part is that they are by some of our current Presidential candidates. Several of them have already said, in campaign speeches, they want to overturn parts of the 1st Amendment and make it harder to exercise our fundamental right of free speech, because it can be inflammatory and libelous.

And if you don’t remember, former President Clinton signed a United Nations agreement in 1996 that stated that all personally owned firearms should be confiscated and banned. And current President Obama has stated that he would really like to ban all firearms in the hands of the citizenry.

There is no such thing as gun control anywhere in the world. The places that have the strictest gun laws have some of the worst murder rates anywhere. An example is Chicago. 2012-June 2015 has seen more than 6,000 murders, by Bill O’Reilly on FOX News, and countless other crimes with firearms being used. And Chicago, the entire state of Illinois, has some of the most restrictive firearm laws in the country.

Likewise look at Norway. They have some of the strictest laws in the world. Remember what happened in 2010? A man, upset at the influx of Muslims into Norway shot and killed more than 70 people at a camp for young people. How is that keeping a lid on firearms in a country where they are banned? And his rifle had been purchased legally.

Look at the statistics of open carry states. Those with open carry laws have lower violent crime rates than those with strict firearm laws. And if you study them closely, you’ll discover that those states with the largest populations have a lower percentage of firearm deaths than strict states.

Oklahoma, Arizona, Alabama, Alaska, & Texas. Compare their violent crime rates, per capita, with California, New York, Michigan, and Illinois. They have the most population, but also have, per capita, the highest rates of violent crime.

I don’t like more control and regulation on firearms. It’s because it doesn’t address the root problem of these incidents. And I believe that the root cause is mental health. Whether the shooters have been diagnosed or not isn’t the issue,

The actual issue is if they have been evaluated by a mental health professional. It could just be they can’t handle their anger or truly a mental health problem. But in either event it is the root cause of the incidents. How many of you remember the old saying, from years ago, ‘If you ban guns the only ones to have guns will be criminals’. Again, if we regulate lawful and responsible gun ownership out of existence, do you really think that gun violence will end? And then where do the social progressives go from there? Can you say slippery slope?

And just as an added factoid, do you know why we have so much violence in this country with firearms compared to most European and Asian countries? It’s very simple, look at the differences in population sizes. We have more than 345 million, including illegals, in the United States. That’s more than 10 times the populations of most countries.

Robert D. Sollars is a recognized expert on security issues, specifically workplace violence. He’s spent 32 years in the security field. Contact him at 480-251-5197 or Visit his Facebook page, One is too Many. Here you will read about other items related to security & WPV issues. Or be a twitter follower at @robertsollars2.

I May be Blind but my Vision is Crystal Clear

Getting down & Dirty-Part 1

No this isn’t about porn or mud wrestling. What I’m going to discuss is a security survey that a non-security person can conduct to ensure that their facility is as safe and secure as it can be.

For the non-security person, and many in security if they’ve never been trained, to accomplish a survey it’s not that hard, but it can get a tad complicated and time consuming with everything you have to consider. Additionally, if you don’t own the building and you’re leasing space it can get even more convoluted because of dealing with the property owner.

Many commercial owners/brokers are unable or unwilling to commit the resources it takes to make their space secure because they want to make it as inviting, and profitable, as possible.

Many small business owners don’t concern themselves with the security aspects of where they are going to locate their store. The space is cost effective, the traffic is good, and there are other stores that attract customers.

But before you sign the paperwork, there are a few security items you need to consider. And if you do these things and talk to other shop owners then you may avoid trouble that could force you out of business. Which, of course, is never the option you want.

All business owners need to conduct a Down & Dirty (DnD) survey, even if you’re not a security professional. This is one that isn’t that involve. And consequently, it doesn’t cover everything, just the external basics.

The Neighborhood:

The first thing you have to think about is the amount of crime in the area. If you locate a car dealership in an area known for car thefts and burglaries and not with a lot of security, it may not be a good idea to locate there. Likewise, if the location is high on muggings & assaults having a store with a lot of foot traffic… And it’s unlikely that your broker or agent will tell you the absolute truth about crime in this location.

In larger cities they have programs that allow you to look up and see the crime stats for certain neighborhoods or zip codes. If they don’t then you will have to do your own research. It can get time consuming and labor intensive and you may have to pay for it. But it may be worth it in the long run.

Parking Lot & Landscaping:

#2 is to take a look at the landscaping and parking lot. Are there any places for people to hide? Does the landscaping allow you to observe what activity occurs in AND around the parking lot and the entrance to your store? Think like the criminal who wants to rob you or customers.  Does the parking lot give them opportunities to hide and waylay you?

You have to ensure that the bushes are neatly trimmed and only waist high so as to keep those criminals from hiding to do harm to anybody. This also goes for planters and other ornamentation around the area.

Remember to check on the outside lighting as well. You must ensure that the lighting is adequate to observe activity in and around the parking lot, the entrance to your business, and your back door.

If there are lights that are not working properly make sure that they are replaced before you sign, both inside and outside. While speaking of lighting you need to remember the whiter the light the darker and deeper the shadows. In other words just because it’s as bright as an athletic stadium doesn’t mean its safe.

Burned out lights are not very efficient or effective in having a secure parking lot. You have to have them replaced as soon as possible. If anyone reports that the lighting is burned out or dimming you need to contact the property owner and have them replaced.

By not replacing the lighting, the property owner, and yourself if it’s not reported, is inviting crime. And like vandalism, if it isn’t replaced, you will have criminal activity that chases away the customers you need and renters they want.

Robert D. Sollars is a recognized expert on security issues, specifically workplace violence. He’s spent 32 years in the security field. Contact him at 480-251-5197 or Visit his Facebook page, One is too Many. Here you will read about other items related to security & WPV issues. Or be a twitter follower at @robertsollars2.

I May be Blind but my Vision is Crystal Clear

Is your management style risking an incident?

So many managers & employees believe, with absolute certainty, that they are not in danger of having a workplace violence (WPV) incident. And this is despite the fact that they have already had one and don’t recognize it as WPV.

There are certain companies that have attitudes, styles, and cultures that will make an incident more likely to occur than not. But if you try to discuss it with them, they will poo-poo and guffaw the very thought. And why do they do that? The liability of admitting it beforehand.

If they ignore the problem, they can then truthfully say ‘I didn’t know they were capable of that. There was no warning. And in truth they are acting like an ostrich. Management will stick their heads in the sand and never actually acknowledge the issue.

Look at these most prevalent management styles & company cultures and decide for yourself;

Authoritarian style of Management:

                The best way to describe this is my way or the highway! No room for debate or questions. No leeway for anything but the, the dreaded stolid, corporate line. This style of management ignores and punishes innovation, creativity, & independent thought from employees. And if you loathe and punish those things, then you are alienating your employees.

Management Incompetence:

                If employees believe management is incompetent it may leave them with ‘no choice’ attitude which can lead them to violence. And if they feel that way, then they, potentially, will lash out and attack, like a trapped animal.

Whether the incompetence is real or just perceived doesn’t matter. Perception is Reality, meaning, simply, what they believe is their reality, whether it is the truth or not. And that perception can be dangerous.

Perceived unequal treatment:

This one goes a little deeper into a person’s state-of-mind. If they perceive that someone else is getting preferential treatment over them, then it could be trouble. It usually will manifest itself in one way or another.  Remember WDBJ in Roanoke, VA?

Like a 2-year-old, these people demand the same treatment as someone else, whether they deserve it or not. They want the same candy as everyone else. In simpler terms, they want a communistic form of employment where everyone is equal no matter how many times they screw up.

Inconsistent enforcement of policies & procedures:

If management, or their representatives, is actually treating some employees differently than others. And they aren’t doing it because of disciplinary actions or rewarding behavior. They are doing it simply because they don’t know better, they don’t like the one employee, or they haven’t even thought of it because they have tunnel vision in getting the job done.

NIH-not invented here:

One of the styles I hate the most. And unfortunately in my 32 years in the security field, I’ve seen this hundreds of times.

And practically every time a good idea was given only a cursory ‘look-see’ if it didn’t come from supervisor or higher.

The prevalent attitude amongst the client, or company management, is simple. “Those idiotic flunkies are too stupid to have a good idea”. Ideas are tossed aside because they came from someone without a degree or worked the front lines.

CHH-Can’t happen here:

                Another one I shake my head about sadly. This is the most dangerous attitude that a company can have in avoiding WPV. EVERY SINGLE COMPANY I know has had an incident. Maybe not fatal, but they have had one. And yet they deny it because it Can’t Happen Here.

This comes from the c-suite telling everyone the company is so well respected and treats their employees so well…; no one would want to do us any harm! Just because you have a good work environment and a lot of perqs, doesn’t mean that it can’t happen at your company.

How HR conducts their business

                Too many times, the HR departments are so tightly intertwined with the c-suite. Doing their bidding and being thought of as a cost center instead of a source of financial return, which just like security they are. This makes their jobs even harder, and unfortunately they can’t bend with the wind. And if a tree can’t ben with the wind in a tornado, then it will break.

No empathy:

This one is fairly simple, I believe. If a company follows the rules, regulations, policies, & procedures like a prison environment, then they will have no empathy for the employee. I will leave you with an example of having no empathy from a major defense contractor. I’m not sure of the exact year, but I believe it was 1992.

A man had taken time off because his young son (less than 5 years old) was dying of cancer. He grieved and buried his son in that time. The day he returned from leave he was called into a meeting, with a memo. At the meeting he was told he was being terminated because he had taken too much time off for ‘undefined’ reasons. He promptly shot and killed a couple of people in the meeting with him.

Is your company following these management styles that can cause a WPV incident? They are so easily rectified and fixed. But a word of caution here. There are no guarantees in life. You could be the best company to work for in the world and still have a WPV incident, so changing your management style isn’t the only answer.

Robert D. Sollars is a recognized expert on security issues, specifically workplace violence. He’s spent 32 years in the security field. Contact him at 480-251-5197 or Visit his Facebook page, One is too Many. Here you will read about other items related to security & WPV issues. Or be a twitter follower at @robertsollars2.

     I May be Blind but my Vision is Crystal Clear

A rubber band doesn’t snap without being stretched

When I hear about a workplace violence (WPV) incident, there is always some talking head on the television or radio, a current or retired law enforcement official, psychologists, and others who are glad to tell you, ‘They just snapped with no warning’. And then discuss how we can prevent these things with usually nothing more than vigilance and physical security measures.

THEY ARE WRONG! And granted they say those because they make excellent sound bites. But do we need good sound bites or the truth in this issue of importance to American business and the lives of their employees, not to mention our friends, family, and co-workers?

                There will ALWAYS be warning signs before someone commits one of these incidents, a rubber band doesn’t break without being stretched. And it doesn’t matter whether they use their fists, pipe wrench, pencils or staplers, or knives and firearms. There will always be signs they are about to injure someone.

I’m sure you can recall the incident in Roanoke, VA. On August 26th this year when two reporters from television station WDBJ were murdered, while on a live remote, and a woman with the local Chamber of Commerce, was wounded, by Vester Flanagan. He then drove off but killed himself several hours later. His anger, resentment, & perceptions of persecution had been growing for nearly 2 decades.

And the incident in Minneapolis on September 27, 2012. Andrew Engeldinger Was in a termination meeting with his supervisors and the owner of Accent Signage Systems and opened fire at the termination meeting. He then calmly walked past numerous female employees on his way to the loading dock. When he got to the dock, he opened fire killing 3 more, including the UPS driver, and wounded 4, before killing himself.

If you look at the thousands of WPV incidents over the past 30 years, you’ll find innumerable accounts of a shooter who, literally, either ignored or didn’t shoot people who were right in front of them. In several cases the shooter looked them straight in the eye and then ignored them. In the case of ConEd of Southern California in December 2011, the shooter went looking for his victims in the cubicles to ensure they were actually there.

The Key

The master key to unlocking the ‘secret’ of this is we can choose to act upon the warning signs or ignore them. Which way we decide to act could determine whether or not someone will get injured or die. And in reporting the warning signs there are several excuses, amongst others i.e. trust of management that stand in the way of reporting them.


The first excuse that most people can relate to is ‘I don’t want to get involved’. This can be quite dangerous if it prevails in the workplace and the mistrust of management. And it is unfortunate but the culture of the business might also be encouraging this attitude as well.

So what are some of those excuses that people give for not reporting the warning signs to their supervisor, manager, human resources, or an anonymous tip line? They are many and varied and many times they can be comical. Here is a partial list of the ones I’ve heard in my 24 years in the WPV field. And more importantly, how many of these ring true with a problem employee that you know now?

  • He was just going through a tough time
  • He’ll come out of it
  • He’s not capable of doing that
  • He’s got problems, who doesn’t?
  • I don’t want to get him in trouble
  • I don’t want to get involved
  • It’s not my problem
  • I hate this place, why should I warn them?
  • This company needs a wake-up call anyway
  • They won’t listen to me

Connecting the Dots

I stated above that a rubber Band doesn’t break unless stretched because there are always warning signs of the band being stretched to the limit. Unfortunately, it’s as much the companies fault as well as the employees that these signs are ignored. The reason for this is that, in addition, to the excuses above, no one can or is willing to ‘connect the dots’. And sometimes the company doesn’t want to add extra hassle to their stressed days.

Connecting the dots is a simple exercise, especially when you know what to look for. And it’s up to the company to inform their employees what they need to look for and connecting those dots.

And it’s not just that simple either. Supervisors, managers, human resources, security, C-suite, & literally everyone needs to know not to brush off what an employee brings to them.

Some employees will cry wolf too many times and therefore not be credible when reporting such things. But even if they aren’t credible in all cases, it may be the one case that they are and an incident occurs. After that it’s all about cleaning up, the blood, brains platter, broken machinery, lives, bad publicity, litigation and potential bankruptcy.

Robert D. Sollars is a recognized expert on security issues, specifically workplace violence. He’s spent 32 years in the security field. Contact him at 480-251-5197 or Visit his Facebook page, One is too Many. Here you will read about other items related to security & WPV issues. Or be a twitter follower at @robertsollars2.

I May be Blind but my Vision is Crystal Clear

Workplace Violence incidents for September

A correction from the August numbers; Because I read an erroneous report about it, the listed incident was NOT a workplace violence (WPV) incident, just a simple security breach. And the numbers immediatly below are corrected from the original ones.

Newark,NJ. August 30                   0

August: 24 incidents    14 dead  17 wounded

You will notice that I have included school shootings, threats, & hoaxes in these numbers as well. Schools are workplaces and in many instances it is teachers& administrators that are targeted as much as other students. And with school just starting in the country it is reasonable to think that the incidents at schools would be dominant in these numbers.

Tollefson, AZ. September 1 (school)       0

Sacramento, CA. September 3 (school) 1d 2w

San Antonio, TX. September 4   1w

Baltimore, MD. September 4 (school) 1w

Las Vegas, NV. September 6       2w

Minneapolis, MN. September 9                0

Lyon County, KY. September 13                2d

Cleveland, LA. September 14 (school)3d

Indianapolis, IN. September 14 2w

Glendale, AZ. September 15 (school)0

Selma, AL. September 20             3w

Maricopa, AZ. September 23 (school) 0

Washington D.C. September 27                1w

Lafayette, IN. September 28 (school)

Harrisburg, SD. September 30 (school) 1w

Forest Acres, SC. September 30                1d

September:  16 Incidents    7 dead    13 wounded

Year-to-date incidents: 138 Arizona 49

101 Dead  170 wounded

Robert D. Sollars is a recognized expert on security issues, specifically workplace/school violence. He’s spent 32 years in the security field. Contact him at 480-251-5197 or Visit his Facebook page, One is too Many. Here you will read about other items related to security & WPV issues. Or be a twitter follower at @robertsollars2.

I May be Blind but my Vision is Crystal Clear

Most of the country has an unconquerable attitude

And in most circumstances that would be a good thing. In this respect it’s not. It’s one of the worst things we can have because this attitude is a bad attitude.

And what is that attitude you now ask? It is formally called CHH, ‘It Can’t Happen Here!’ And it is the most dangerous attitude that Americans can have with the proliferation of the mentally ill, anger management issues, and other innumerable issues in our country.

Whether you work in a school or a business, usually they are one in the same, we prepare and give lip service to the fact that we care about employees and students. We tell the media, parents, loved ones, students, & employees that we are spending valuable financial resources on ensuring the business/campus is safe and secure.

But it takes more than money to ensure the safety of our students and employees. It takes a change of attitude in administration and management as well as students & employees. And that attitude is the fact that we can’t dismiss the fact that it can’t happen here.

Even if we accept the fact that it can happen in our school or business are we staying vigilant in reporting it? Are we dismissing the warning signs in the people who may want to harm us? When nothing happens after an incident how much do we relax and begin to ‘sluff’ off the idea of an active shooter?

I can, and will, guarantee that by the end of next week the talk of securing campuses and businesses will have begun to wane and we’ve moved on to something more comical or important. Whether it be the comedy of errors that is our election cycle or the Middle East, it doesn’t matter. We’ll have forgotten what happened in Roseburg Oregon yesterday.

And while the Board of Regents or business owners may rejoice at the idea of not having to confront the possibility of spending their ‘frugal’ salary/bonus financial resources on security, we can’t let them forget it.

We, as security professionals and other employees and students need to make an active effort to ensure that everyone around us doesn’t forget this. It can happen in YOUR business, school, or anywhere you may be studying or working. Therefore it is up to us to make sure they don’t forget.

Financial resources are spent on new physical security measures for our schools and businesses. But do they do any good? Do they really help to keep our students and employees safe from an active shooter incident, or in this month, a domestic violence incident?

As was shown soon after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 we have a tendency to forget and get lax about enforcing our physical security practices, policies, & procedures. I have seen this for myself innumerable times in my 32 years in the field.

“This door has to remain closed and locked at all times!” But then we see smokers, workmen, employees, & others propping it open to allow for easier access during breaks and deliveries. And after break is over it remains unlocked and open.

Working for First Response, Inc. in Mission Kansas immediately after 9/11, we were inundated with requests for added security and the clients clamped down hard with some fairly harsh security policies. Six months later the security contract was cancelled and the policies relaxed to the point of being non-existent.

So, can we prevent school or workplace shootings? As long as we remain optimistic and are willing to overlook threatening items, relax ourselves, and not take it seriously then no we can’t. We have to take the cause of school and workplace violence seriously. At all times.

As security professionals, whether that is officers, managers, or consultants, we can’t allow our clients or companies to relax and become non-compliant with the practices, policies, & procedures that they themselves, probably with our help, developed and wrote.

We must convince everyone, without being overly dramatic and being a Chicken Little, to remain vigilant. And then we have to convince them to trust us and management to then ‘see something, hear something, then say something’.

We have to train the students and employees on the warning signs, the seriousness, and our policies/procedures concerning security. And it really doesn’t matter if the students fully comprehend and understand or not, they must be taught. This is mainly because until the big man upstairs decides to intervene, the world will be getting much more dangerous and we need to protect ourselves and our loved ones and employees.

Robert D. Sollars is a recognized expert on security issues, specifically workplace violence. He’s spent 32 years in the security field. Contact him at 480-251-5197 or Visit his Facebook page, One is too Many. Here you will read about other items related to security & WPV issues. Or be a twitter follower at @robertsollars2.

                                                I May be Blind but my Vision is Crystal Clear