Yesterday I returned to Detroit, the Paris of the Midwest, from Hollywood, the Paris of Los Angeles. I had trouble getting a hotel and paid a premium on my airfare, not because of last-minute planning, but because there were four conferences in town and there was a premium placed on hotel rooms and airfare. The conferences were all either canceled or truncated. The coronavirus scared away all the conventioners, and now airlines, hotels, and cruise ships (the worst form of transportation since the Nazi boxcars) are worried that Plague doesn’t ride a white horse, after all, it has a first-class berth on a Carnival Cruise ship.
The fear of the coronavirus is sheer panic, and it is bringing out the stupid in people (Corona beer reputedly has seen a 28% fall in sales—but hey they got off cheap, does anybody here remember AIDS chocolate weight-reducing candy?
First, some facts, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that as many as 49 MILLION people will get the flu this season, and 20,000-50,000 people will die in the U.S. from the ordinary, run-of-the-mill influenza. But at this point in history, where social media and dim-witted politicians make up facts as they go, the corona pandemic has captured the imaginations of people worldwide. And why? Because you might get sick? You might have a heart attack and die, or die in traffic, but somehow, dying of a disease that doesn’t spread that easily and probably won’t even make you sick has done what scores of terrorists have failed to do—create a worldwide panic.
I rode to and from LA with a planeload of people many of whom were wearing everything from surgical masks to dust masks. Maybe it made them feel better, but it offered no protection from the coronavirus. I saw a photo of a signing warning people to:
- Wash your hands frequently.
- Avoid contact with people with flu-like symptoms.
- Avoid unprotected sex with farm animals.
- Don’t touch your face.
I had to wonder, aren’t there ALWAYS a good idea? I went to the men’s restroom and for the first time in history, the line to use the urinals was shorter than the line to wash your hands. I skipped that line; my dirtiest body part was easily the cleanest thing in that restroom. These people scrubbed their hands raw. I wash my hands more than your average Mafia Don so a big thank you to the brain trust who thought up that tip.
I also avoid people who are noticeably sick, but then I avoid a lot of people for less rational reasons. As for having unprotected sex with a farm animal, I have yet to partake. I’m not judging those of you who are into that sort of thing but maybe I just haven’t met the right one yet. Even then I wouldn’t think of having sex until we were in a committed and monogamous relation before expressing my love physically; I’m old fashioned that way. I know full well that I will get a torrent of hate mail from the many safety personnel who enjoy a good swine buggering but since when do I shy away from a fight. On a related side note, I AM an internet ordained minister so if you and that special “comfort” animal of yours want to make it official I can make that happen. As for the last tip, I will touch my face anytime I damned well please. How in the name of all that’s holy am I supposed to shave without touching my face?
So while people continue to thumb there nose at workplace violence they will run screaming from a sneeze. This weekend I finished my third book, Blood In My Pockets Is Blood On Your Hands, but as long as I have the ability to shill my last book, Lone Gunman: Rewriting The Handbook On Workplace Violence Prevention I’m going to keep preaching. I am mystified at how rational people can freak out over this but ignore workplace violence.
Can someone please explain to me why a virus that almost certainly won’t infect you inspires such abject terror while the possibility of a deranged worker killing you, or your wife, or your girlfriend, or you daughter, or that pig you’ve been kanoodling is far more likely to be killed. You people have got it all wrong workplace violence CAN and at some point actually MAY kill you or someone you love, and the coronavirus statistically will not. But don’t let me stop you from worrying about the absurdly improbably and dismissing workplace violence because “it won’t happen here”.
WARNING: What follows may just teach you something but you won’t get any CEUs for it, you’ll just be better educated and informed but seriously who wants or needs that?
Some time ago, I read an article in the Metro Times (a Detroit Weekly) about a Facebook group essentially dedicated to encouraging attacks on women, Democrats, Muslims, and LGBTQ persons. There were hundreds of specific threats of violence. You don’t have to buy my book, but I wish you would. But if you want to help follow this link. Search LinkedIn to find out where these people work and encourage their employers to fire them. This isn’t a political statement, I would react the same way if people were saying that White Heterosexual Christian Men were the targets. Purveyors of hate need to feel real-world consequences. All it takes for evil to triumph is for good to do nothing.
Violent acts begin with violent thoughts that turn into violent posts on social media. How long are you going to continue to throw your hands up and say, “what can I do?” My second book, Lone Gunman: Rewriting the Handbook On Workplace Violence Prevention. answers this question. This is all new material that cannot be found anywhere else. In light of all the talk and panic around gun violence, and the shamefully bad advice some “experts” are giving I hope some of you will read it and pass it along to your executives and HR leads (go ahead, expense it, they will be glad you did.)
Before you dismiss this as yet another shameless plug for my book I want you to ask yourself these questions:
- What if anything is my employer doing to reduce its risk of a workplace attack?
- Do the people who are doing the hiring at my workplace know the warning signs of a workplace attack?
- What can I do to prevent workplace violence?
I should warn you, this isn’t a book that is pro- or anti-gun ownership rights. The book has extensive sections on spotting an unstable employee (some people’s lives will take a dark and desperate turn long after you have hired them but there are always signs), the types of work environments that tend to trigger these events, and I recently returned from Dublin, Ireland where I spoke on how companies can leverage technology to protect workers from workplace violence. But all the books, and magazines, and speeches in the world won’t change a damned thing if you keep thinking that it can’t (or probably won’t) happen to you or someone you love. You can bet your life that we will see more similar shootings in the weeks or months as people who are currently at the brink of sanity see the news reports and think, “now’s the time”. WAKE UP, PEOPLE!!!! This book is peppered with the sarcasm, self-deprecating humor of the first book, but it also makes use of my extensive knowledge of violence prevention in the workforce (that I gained as head of training and OD for a global manufacturer.) You should buy it. Seriously I’m not telling you how to live your life but you should buy it. Okay, I AM telling you how to live your life, just buy the damned book.
Of course, my first book is still for sale, and is ALSO available in the eBook format you might rightly ask yourself, why on God’s green Earth would I read a book that contains previously released material? Simple, like the rain-forest and the polar bears my work is disappearing from the web very quickly. All but a handful of my works for Facility Management Magazine are gone, and you can basically only go back two years on my blog (eight year’s worth of my work that ranges in quality from magnificent to mindless dreck.) And besides, about a third of the book is newly written material that cannot be found anywhere else. So buy it. People who have read it say that it belongs in everyone who works in safety’s library. It will teach you, entertain you, and make you want to read more it can be ordered here I Know My Shoes Are Untied. Mind Your Own Business or on Barnes & Noble.com.
As always, Read. Learn. Live. Share. Inspire