Roger L. Simon

The Great 'Workplace Violence' Epidemic

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“Look..a workplace!”

As if Ebola were not serious enough, a new, and perhaps more lethal, epidemic appears to be spreading throughout the world from the Middle East to North America.  It goes under the rubric “workplace violence.”

The possibility of such an epidemic first came to our attention in November 2009 when Major Nidal Malik Hasan – an Army psychiatrist who corresponded with the late Yemen-based imam Anwar Al-Awlaki and who lectured his fellow doctors on jihad — shouted “Allah Akbhar” and fatally shot 13 people, injuring 30 others, at Ft. Hood, near Killeen, Texas.  The U.S. Department of Defense and federal law enforcement agencies  classified the shootings as acts of “workplace violence.”

(Some scholars, however, say the first true instance of “workplace violence” was the September 11, 2001 aviation incident at the World Trade Center, since the vast majority of the people in those structures were at work.  Calling this a terror attack was a misnomer instigated by Islamophobes.)

For a few years, the potential epidemic seemed to be in abeyance but of late there have been disturbing signs of a resurgence.  And then, this September, Alton Nolan, a young man in Moore, Oklahoma, who, for his hobby, liked to post photos of beheadings of Americans by the Islamic State on Facebook and had been a student of Islam during his prison term (aka most of his adult life),  shouted jihadist imprecations in Arabic while himself beheading a 54-year old female co-worker on the very day he was fired.  There you have it — “workplace violence” at its purest was back.

And now, with that outbreak, several other instances of “workplace violence,” past and present, have come to light.

Now as we all know, such epidemics do not respect borders.  So this week there have been two further outbreaks of “workplace violence” among our Canadian friends, resulting in the deaths of their soldiers who were, needless to say, at work.  Furthermore, the Islamic terrorist… oops, I meant “the alleged perpetrator of workplace violence”… had been about to assassinate numerous public officials in their parliament who were, you guessed it, also at work.

Meanwhile, in faraway Jerusalem, this very  morning another “alleged perpetrator of workplace violence” drove an automobile into a light rail station, injuring seven people — some of whom were doubtless coming or going to work — and killing a three-month old baby girl who, were she to have lived, would almost certainly someday have gone to work herself.

But as we know, the Israelis often have to deal with “workplace violence.”  Aren’t the tunnels a “workplace”?  Ask any unemployed miner in Kentucky or West Virginia.

But enough of the diagnosis. What is the cure?  How do we stop this epidemic?

First, as some Greek once said of every such situation, do no harm.  We must be extra careful.  Diseases of this nature tend to mutate into something even worse.  We must trust our leaders like the CDC, the FBI, the CIA, the State Department, the Department of Justice and, most of all, the POTUS himself.  He will shortly appoint a czar to manage this epidemic, I am sure, someone with special expertise in dealing with “workplace violence. ” Perhaps Michael Moore, who understands the workplace so well from his time on the assembly line at General Motors, will be on his short list.  There are others.

But whatever we do — we must never, never call this epidemic by its real name.  That would be a fatal mistake.