Most people remember the San Bernardino holiday party massacre and the on-camera Roanoke shootings of TV crew members last year. But they do not necessarily think of them as workplace shootings–which they were.
As many as 800 people die a year from workplace violence in the US, 80 percent from guns. This week, Southwest Airlines employee Michael Winchester, father of Kansas City Chiefs long snapper James Winchester, became the latest casualty of a workplace fatal shooting at Oklahoma City airport. Police say the murderer was Lloyd Dean Buie (pictured, courtesy of AP), a disgruntled former Southwest Airlines employee seeking revenge.
Since the early 2000’s, the NRA has sought an armed workplace. It’s an extension of “the current Castle Doctrine” it says. Letting “good guys” on the job defend themselves against “bad guys” is so important, it has pushed through laws in Indiana and North Dakota that allow employees to sue their employers if asked about gun possession. In North Dakota, the NRA pushed through a law banning employers from asking if employees’ vehicles parked on company property have weapons in them and a law in Georgia that bars employers from making employment conditional on not bringing guns to work.
There’s just one problem with the NRA workplace agenda. It is the employees doing the shootings–not “bad guy” criminals!
Months before the San Bernardino and Roanoke shootings in 2015, employees at a Moorestown, New Jersey security company and at the Sioux Steel Co. in Lennox, South Dakota killed co-workers. The year before, an enraged UPS employee wearing his uniform killed three in Inglenook, Alabama, an employee shot and killed his supervisor at the Renaissance Ross Bridge Golf and Resort Spa in Hoover, Alabama and an employee shot and killed the CEO of ArrowStream, a top tech company in Chicago’s downtown. In 2013, a Silicon Valley engineer was found guilty of fatally shooting three executives at a semiconductor startup on the day he was fired.
2012 was also a bloody year. A fired employee at a Minneapolis sign company went on a workplace shooting rampage that left five dead and three injured. Lawrence Jones, an employee at a Fresno chicken processing plant, shot and killed co-workers. Jones “walked up to 32-year-old Salvador Diaz in the grinding room, put the handgun to the side of his head and pulled the trigger,” reported the Associated Press.
Needless to say business owners, property owners and human resource professionals see the deadly danger of “bring your guns to work.” The Florida Retail Federation, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida, Volkswagen, Caterpillar, Bridgestone and FedEx have all spoken out about the gun lobby’s workplace gun agenda. “Guns are inappropriate in our workplaces and workplaces include parking lots. We control those,” said the Florida Retail Federation. “Possession of firearms in the workplace or on company property is strictly prohibited,” said Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida which knows a little about the medical costs of gun violence.
Still, ask the NRA what causes gun violence including workplace and it will say “bad guys” who “don’t obey gun laws” despite the fact that 85 percent of mass shooters are legal gun owners and Southwest employee Lloyd Dean Buie who killed Michael Winchester this week was himself a legal gun owner.