Are Employment Lay-offs Causing More Mulitple Homicides?

Are Employment Lay-offs Causing More Mulitple Homicides?

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Could a lay off from your job, foreclosure on your home, and potential bankruptcy be causing some of us to snap from the stress?  The number of Americans who are killed in multiple acts of murder is rising according to recent FBI statistics.  Homicides involving two or more victims rose from 1,360 incidents in 2008 to 1,428 incidents last year.


FBI agents that investigate mass murders for that Behavioral Analysis unit confirm that there is indeed a direct correlation to this behavior with white, middle aged men  being the most likely to commit these heinous crimes. They contend that it may be related to the economic downturn, saying that over the past couple of years as the economy has dropped as severely as it has, they just can’t stand the pressure of being in financial ruins.


This is confirmed by Northeastern criminologist Jack Levin, who has published several books on the subject.  He says that most mass killers don’t kill randomly and that they have certain people that they blame for all of their problems in life and target them.



The worst mass killing this year demonstrates the intense rage that translates to killings.   Omar Thornton killed co-workers at a beer distribution plant in Hartford, Connecticut in August when he was asked to resign after a security camera spotted him stealing beer from the plant.  He was recorded by a 911 call saying, “They treat me bad over here.  So I took it onto my own hands and handled the problem.  I wish I would have gotten more people.”  He then shot himself after killing eight people.


These disturbing words are from a man that couldn’t cope with his own life responsibilities or be accountable for his own actions.  Yet, eight co-workers lives were distinguished based on one man’s actions.  Perhaps, Thorton was always crazy and looking for an excuse to kill, and take his own life.  How do you know when someone is about to lose it?


You don’t know for sure, but be aware that these are trying times and that not everyone is stable enough to handle the loss in their lives by not seeing a way out.  In an attempt to manage this issue many organizations have invested money, time and training for their HR and legal departments in ways to address this serious challenge.  


But, to do so everyone has to admit to the problem and an entire new set of corporate policies and guidelines need to be adopted on how to fairly address mental illness in the workplace.  It is also important to note that those who suffer from mental disorders, although sometimes disruptive, conflict prone or unpredictable in the work environment, should not be stigmatized or abused because of their illnesses.


The mentally unstable deserve professional treatment for their sake and for the sake of those around them.  Without it, they pose risks that will not go away by simply ignoring them. My contention is that there are signs of distress that workers exhibit, yet are ignored.  Human Reosurece and hiring managers need to be more aware of potentially dangerous workers who may suffer from personality disorders and take care when laying them off or firing them.


Fortunately, most incidences of discontent do not lead to violence and murder.  There are only a few that have the ability to manslaughter innocent people that they blame for their dismal lives.  My advice is to pay attention to a co-workers behavior and report any abnormal behavior to your HR department or manager. 



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