When Fear Of Workplace Violence Hits Home

By the time this issue arrives in your mailbox, you’ve undoubtedly read about several high profile shootings and deadly abductions over the course of the past few weeks. I’m referring specifically to the Wisconsin multiple murders, the Ohio workplace shooting, the Atlanta courthouse murders, the Minnesota school shooting that resulted in ten dead and the recent child abductions in Florida and Iowa. These events are tragic to say the very least and I’m going to use this opportunity to deviate from my planned column to write about an experience my wife had in her office earlier this month. Her experience relates directly to the fear of workplace violence and the importance of remaining vigilant.

 

The problem was, this guy wasn’t giving up and called back repeatedly telling my wife that he was going to “come down there and take care of things” in a threatening manner.

 

My wife works for an independently owned branch of a major insurance company with her office located in a strip mall in a very nice area of town. By all accounts, violent crime rates are very low and the crime that does occur is the usual, non-contact stuff…the occasional stolen car stereo, maybe a late night break-in at a local store. I’m by no means dismissing this activity as harmless or acceptable, but merely pointing out that the fear of a violent or armed attack is somewhat less than in other areas of town, although not non-existent. In other words, it’s easy for “ordinary” folks to let down their guard, particularly at work.

That changed last month when my wife took a phone call from an irate customer running off at the mouth that his insurance policy had been cancelled. It seems that this individual had his claim denied and upon further investigation by the insurance company they noticed he had filed several recent claims which triggered a fraud alert. Well, that didn’t sit too well for this guy who began casting blame on everyone but himself. My wife turned the call over to the owner who took an earful and then turned the guy back over the fraud department. The problem was, this guy wasn’t giving up and called back repeatedly telling my wife that he was going to “come down there and take care of things” in a threatening manner.

After stopping by her office and hearing this story, I immediately asked the owner if he had a gun on the premises and got the typical answer; “Nah that’s against corporate policy and a termination offense.” Not wanting to start a gun debate but wanting to make my point nonetheless, I pointed out to the owner that, 1. They don’t know this guy or what he may be capable of. His claim denial may have financially devastated him and been the “last straw” in his messed up life, 2. The office is a storefront window with only one way in and out, leaving the employees absolutely vulnerable if this whacko made good on his threats and, 3. Who the hell at the corporate office was going to know if he had a gun as long as he KEEPS HIS MOUTH SHUT? Let’s see…terminated…or dead? Sounds like a no-brainer to me.

Upon returning home that evening, I ran a public record check on this moron and GUESS WHAT I FOUND? You betcha, a 13-page felony rap sheet that included burglary, robbery, prostitution, pimping, felon in possession of a gun, and several violation of probation charges with a couple of drug possession charges lumped in the mix as well. Of course, I took this information to the owner and I could hear the nervousness in his voice. So he took action…The type of action most unarmed people take, he called the police.

You see, his other employee’s husband is a police sergeant in our fine city and the owner immediately turned over to him the copies of the rap sheet that I had printed. The officer made a personal call to this robber, prostitute, pimp, burglar, drug abuser felon and warned him that his calls constituted “threats” and any appearance on the premises would result in his immediate arrest.

 

The true shame here is that all of the above mentioned shootings occurred in what the anti-gun crowd refers to as “gun free-safety zones,” i.e. churches, schools, courtrooms, workplaces, etc. and some of those good law abiding folks who played by the rules are now dead.

 

Boy was I relieved! I sure felt better knowing that he would be arrested after he committed whatever crime he may have had in mind if he decided to follow through with his intimidation, this guy has never shown his face, nothing has happened, and hopefully several other companies have turned him down for his insurance requests.

You know, it wasn’t long ago that I was a kid; ok, maybe a few decades back, but I can remember most any dispute at school being settled with a fistfight that usually resulted in the winner, and sometimes the loser, being suspended for a few days. There were no workplace shootings or school shootings and just as many Americans had guns as they do now. In fact, I can remember when a pick-up truck without a gun rack wasn’t a pick-up truck at all, toy guns and BB guns were common Christmas gifts, and the NRA was welcomed on grade school campuses, its classes a must-have for those of us at ten years old.

I guess the moral of the story here is that in today’s environment, these instances underscore the importance of what we already know, to remain vigilant and well armed. The true shame here is that all of the above mentioned shootings occurred in what the anti-gun crowd refers to as “gun free-safety zones,” i.e. churches, schools, courtrooms, workplaces, etc. and some of those good law abiding folks who played by the rules are now dead. The fact is there is no such thing as a “gun free-safety zone” as long as criminals are willing to break our laws. Fortunately for me, my daily activities don’t bring me in contact with many “off limit” locations and my state isn’t overly restrictive regarding CCW; however, I believe my right to life supersedes all else.

 

[ Mark A. Walters is the Director of Gun Safety Education and an NRA Certified Instructor in 3 disciplines. He is also the owner of 45 Caliber Transfer, LLC and a local firearms/Second Amendment activist in his hometown.  ]