Sunday, April 19, 2009

Should we expect more workplace shootings in today's economy?

One of the bloggers I frequently read (indeed, her blog is my home page -- great mix of psychological insight, wit and lighter fare) will be speaking on the Today Show about the important topic of "layoff etiquette." This involves things like:

What etiquette dilemmas do the unemployed and their still-employed friends face? What awkward situations have you encountered because of a friend's unemployment, or your own?

Discussion of the 10,000 laid-off per day are big in my household write (oops) now because H .... no he wasn't laid off or even threatened with such (H doesn't work outside the home) is writing a play which is set in 'The Present" against the back-drop of the current economic crisis. The play features a workplace shooting (or at least the threat of one, final act not completed yet).

So my brain has been spinning the etiquette question a couple different ways.

What should one do if a friend who lost their job confesses that they are so tired of the unfairness of our current economic system that they want to go postal -- the bosses need to pay too, etc, like the old rhyme from the rank and file in Vietnam, "Turn the guns around, shot the bosses down"... Advise them to work for change in a nonviolent manner? Why shoot yourself in the foot (head) just to have the satisfaction of killing your boss first?

There is a provocative book that says that workplace shootings are a way that frustrated workers vent their anger at an unjust social system,

from wikipedia:

Going Postal: Rage, Murder, and Rebellion: From Reagan's Workplaces to Clinton's Columbine and Beyond is the title of a book by Mark Ames, which examines the rise of office and school shootings in the wake of the Reagan Revolution, and compares the shootings to slave rebellions....Ames argues that "killing sprees" at U.S. workplace and schools are acts of political insurgency rather than ordinary crimes or the actions of disturbed individuals.

Indeed, Mark Ames also wrote a story on this last month: "Workplace Massacre in Alabama: Did Endless Downsizing and Slashed Benefits Cause the Rampage?"

Ames writes: "But of all the inexplicable circumstances surrounding the murder spree, one of the oddest has to be the way Alabama authorities went from focusing hard on solving the shooter's motive to suddenly dropping the issue like a hot potato and running away from the scene of the crime, as if they didn't like what their investigation produced..."

1 comment:

Miss Conduct said...

There's a similar theme to this essay in Salon: