Do Your Own Thang
I’ve been told, and overheard, that workplace violence (WPV) seems to be getting worse. Barely a week goes by and there is another mass shooting, in a business, somewhere in the country and on the news. But is that really the case? Or is that just our perception of events?
To be perfectly honest, it’s not necessarily worse than it was in the 80’s & 90’s. There are four reasons for this seeming to be so much worse than it really is;
- The culture we live in – and not because of proliferation of firearms
- The media sensationalizing the news in a yellow journalism way-having to be the 1st to report on it
- People taking the ‘Me First’ attitude to a new level
- ‘Perception is Reality’
Let’s start with the culture in the United States. As I stated in my book (One is too Many: Recognizing & Preventing Workplace Violence), I believe that the seeds of WPV were sowed in the 60’s, 70’s, & 80’s. It all started with the ‘Do your own thang’ mentality of the drug culture of the 60’s.
It then progressed to the ‘Me Generation’ of the 70’s. Add to that the recklessness of disco and ‘Let it all hang out’ pushed us even closer. Then came the 80’s.
Greed is good and our self-esteem was sooo low, according to the conventional wisdom and ‘progressive thinkers’. You have to do things to make yourself feel better. It doesn’t matter whether or not someone else gets hurt, you have to let it out and seek ways to boost your self-esteem and make yourself feel better (remember scream therapy?). Unfortunately, far too many people decided that killing others or at the very least shooting up businesses was the way to accomplish this!
Then we come to the media. We live in a period of 24 hour news channels. It all started with CNN & HLN. Then a proliferation of others MsNBC, FOX, Bloomberg, al Jazeera-America (for now), amongst others. And let’s not forget the plethora of all news radio stations across the country.
We are constantly bombarded with news. These networks have to fight to be the first to report on something and/or find stories the others aren’t covering. Therefore, they are going to play up these events and attempt to position themselves as ‘the news leader’. And there we get the sensationalism of news items.
35 years ago, we had the broadcast networks with news at 6 and 10 and CNN. Not much competition in the industry. And now with newspapers losing out and going strictly digital and the overabundance of news channels…
The ‘Me First’ of the80’s is still around and the mass shootings are taking place with gangs and domestic violence. They account for more than 80% of all mass shootings in the country. Businesses and schools are generally the exception rather than the rule. But again, the media doesn’t cover gang killings or domestic violence as closely as they do WPV or SV.
Lastly one phrase I’ve trumpeted for years. Perception is Reality. Our perception’s shape our reality. Many times what we perceive is what gets ingrained in our brains and is almost impossible to remove without something else to ‘perceive’ as the truth. Which is why many of the perpetrators of WPV believe that their actions are justifiable?
So is WPV more prevalent now or what is causing the perception that it is? To be perfectly honest, it’s all four. It’s our culture, the media, other murderous actions of individuals, & our own perceptions of what is going on around us. We walk on the Sunnyside of the street and don’t want to see the ‘dark side’ until it jumps up and bites us in the arse.
There is no doubt that WPV is a serious issue within the business world. It affects everyone involved and costs billions of dollars to the American economy and those who push it forward. And the devastation it leaves on families is even worse. Unfortunately, the perceptions of the masses will keep businesses from trying to prevent it in any meaningful way.
How is that you ask? All I have to do is point you to the adverse reactions of people 6 months after the terrorists brought down the Twin Towers in Manhattan. Everyone was scared to death that it would happen again, so businesses beefed up security. They spent thousands, if not millions to ensure the security of their employees.
After 6 months when nothing happened, employees began complaining that security was too restrictive and was hindering their…everything. Therefore businesses loosened security measures and went back to the way it was at 0700 on September 11, 2001.
But as things get worse in the world WPV and SV, along with DV will begin to rise exponentially. We may soon see mass murder in businesses all across the nation. From someone upset with a co-worker to a jealous husband or boyfriend coming in to get their girl and take her out, or worse terrorism such as San Bernadino. In any event we need to stay watchful and try to prevent all of these. If we can perceive the danger instead of ‘Doin our own thang’.
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