Monday, September 15, 2008

JOURNAL EXCERPT: May 21, Sun. 1978 at 7:50 PM

"There was a bomb scare at the Avalanche Journal [newspaper] Saturday. There was no longer any serious danger when I got to work, but you still had to sign in and out. A Pinkerton's security guard made sure you signed in and out (if he was awake he did)."

MANHOOD REDO: I actually remember this incident, although not specifically what it was about. As the person in charge of the newspaper dock at night, I had to sometimes go upstairs to the insert room, and each time before I went up the stairs, I had to sign the form the Pinkerton guard had. While it was initially an out-of-the-ordinary and therefore interesting experience, after two or three times of dealing with the guard, it grew kind of old.

Looking back, I'm wondering why anyone would threaten to bomb the AJ. I suppose something might have been published that pissed someone off, like the time an editorial called the area farmers "goobers," and they completely surrounded the building with their tractors so that none of the AJ trucks could leave to deliver newspapers.

I'm more inclined to wonder, though, whether it was a former employee threatening to "go postal." Masculinity can be a lonely business without much in the way of support. It seems to me that most of the men who have committed workplace violence, lashing out with guns and other weapons in places of previous employment, like Patrick Henry Sherrill, who originated the term when he shot two of his ex-supervisors and then a number of other post office employees, are loners. I can't help but think that if they had a better support system, they might be less inclined to feel all is lost and so there's nothing to lose.

Obviously, they also don't know how to handle their anger.

Some workplace violence is connected to domestic violence - an ex-husband or boyfriend kills a woman at her job. This doesn't surprise me since I would assume that the forces driving men to kill at work are similar to the same forces that drive a man to commit violence at home.

It is overwhemingly men who "go postal," and yet masculinity is rarely connected to the violence. In my view, that is a costly disconnection.

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