Who’s Gonna Snap Next?

It seems every other day someone is losing their cool and taking their personal problems out on innocent people.  I was living in Michigan when the famous event took place at the Royal Oak (MI) post office on November 14th, 1991.  That event led to the creation of the phrase “Going Postal“.  Today, people throw that term around with no real appreciation for what it really means and how that one event helped shape a landscape in this country that allows people to shun responsibility for their own actions.  Five people lost their lives that bloody day in November.  Four others were wounded.

And there were many who saw it coming.

With the advent of social media there are all kinds of ways to get a leg up on people who are on a path toward going postal.  Many of these malcontents deliver their plans in plain, direct English, void of any attempt at being cryptic.  They put their twisted manifestos right out there for everyone to see and rarely does anyone in a position to at least monitor the situation take them seriously.  Someone can tweet that they are going to shoot up the office where they work because one guy stole his pen, he was passed up for a promotion, and the vending machines are too expensive.  Three days later, eleven innocent people are dead, the vending machines are riddled with bullet holes, and the person who did it turned his AK47 assault rifle on himself so he wouldn’t have to face the music or even go for an insanity defense.

Now, for the purposes of being accurate with my information I just Googled “assault rifles” because I wanted to be sure an AK47 was indeed an assault rifle.  It is, but now I have to wonder if by searching the web for assault rifles I am now being monitored by someone in Washington.  I would bet not, but I have to wonder what the threshold is for something like that.  How much research on the web in regard to assault rifles must one do before a flag is raised to someone?  And when does that line that is crossed become an issue of personal privacy?

This is yet another reason I am not a huge fan of the Internet.  As I have always said it makes the world too small sometimes.  And let’s face it, if you’re researching assault rifles I’d bet you’re looking for a little bit of personal privacy, right?  Some quiet time to develop your plan of action, your own personal schematic of death, destruction, and carnage for the television cameras.

As these “Going Postal” events continue to occur more frequently it’s normal for your co-workers to bring in their expert opinions on who in your office will be the next to go over the edge and create a news story.  What the heck, your office most likely won’t win the Powerball jackpot with your pooled plays, so maybe your shot at fame is to have a co-worker snap and spray bullets everywhere. 

Never fear, I am your app for that.

I’M HAVING A BAD DAY, BUT THAT’S NORMAL AND OK

First and foremost, the person you MOST expect to have a bad day and go all goofy is NOT the person who will do it.  Where I work, that describes me almost to a tee.  When I lose my cool at work, I let people know.  Steam rises from my skull, my pupils turn a deep, blood-red and I foam at the mouth and drool a lot.  You know why I won’t be the idiot that snaps?  It’s because I deal with my anger and frustration the healthy way – I let it out.  I let it vent through me like a soft, warm summer breeze.  And no, I don’t care if my co-workers think I’m a hot head and I don’t even care if they’re afraid of me.  Unknown to them at their subconscious level they have nothing to be afraid of from me because I’m the normal one.  It’s the boneheads who let their anger build over time, the idiots who keep it inside of themselves you need to be afraid of.  They are ticking timebombs…tick…tick…tick…SPLAT!!

NEVERMIND ME, I’M JUST AN IDIOT

People who talk the talk about shooting up your office are also not to be taken seriously.  These types are looking for immediate attention but deep down inside they are ok if they don’t get that satisfaction of validation.  These are the people who want to be everyone’s friend, everyone’s chum and confidante in the office.  The worst thing these types will do is stab you in the back, throw you under the bus or anything else they can do to make themselves look good in front of management.  You know, the regular day-to-day stuff that goes on in the office place.

THE STEW IS SET TO BREW

The person (or persons, unfortunately) you need to worry about are the ones that keep to themselves.  This also holds true for areas outside of the office in real society.  Time after time when you hear about people who have snapped, you also hear how they were quiet, polite, always saying good morning and how they always kept to themselves.  There is a clear and constant pattern with these types.  In most cases you can throw in the abuse they received from a parent when younger or how the neighbor kid never wanted to share their Lego’s with them or whatever.  Every one of these pin heads has something inside them, some little baby alien that uses the host as their own personal petri dish, growing forms of disdain and discontent.  Disdain and discontent matures into those voices in the head that tell the idiot to take their problems out on someone else.

I should be a shrink, for cryin’ out loud…

Keep an eye on the quiet ones.  Especially if they’re on medication for depression or stress related issues.  It’s even worse if they have a mortgage, a spouse and little children at home.  Sure, they might not have a car payment, but the pressures of dealing with everyday life can be overwhelming for these types and sure enough, chances are you are to blame somehow.  You won’t know exactly when they’re going to snap unless you follow them on Twitter or Facebook.  The best way to deal with it is to be vigilant, be alert and pay attention to the warning signs. 

SHE’S GONNA BLOW!!

If you smack the person in the face with a shovel and he responds with an apathetic attitude, consider that as a flag.  If he doesn’t seem to mind if, while sleeping at his desk, you put his hand in a bucket of warm water so he pees his pants in front of everyone, consider that as a flag.  If you flick his ear lobe really hard with your index finger and he laughs, that’s a sign for you to turn and run as quickly as you can toward the nearest exit because your days have suddenly become numbered, most likely in the single digits with a number of less than two.

NO THANKS ARE NECESSARY

I hope this explanation helps save lives.  However, when it comes to the office environment, none of these rules apply to management because they are too blind to see anything around them that would entice such behavior and they are too worried about their advancement up the company ladder to care about such frivolous things anyway.

Happy Labor Day.  You’re going back to work tomorrow, right?

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  1. Bullying In the Workplace « Unknown Quantity

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