Red Teaming The Workplace Violence Shooter and The "MR. Uncomfortable Factor"

I very interesting article by Christine Byers of the ST Louis Post Dispatch that fitting with street level red teaming. The concept of researching people their behavior and threats they may pose is the bedrock to the prevention of violence. Are their risks involved? Absolutely there are risks but with the right people from cross disciplines working together to analyse threats can get folks the help they may need and possibly prevent violence from occurring. This threat assessment approach when balanced with individual rights is an outstanding way to explore situations and look for the pre-incident indicators and options in dealing with potential stressed and anxiety ridden people with poor coping skills who may be spiraling towards self-destructive or violent behavior. I felt this article was worth sharing with those who frequent this blog. Stay Oriented! Fred

'Mr. Uncomfortable' – quirky co-worker or potential mass murderer?

Joe Spiess feared that an employee he disciplined might seek violent revenge, and took the concern to his boss.


“You better make sure you have your gun handy,” was the supervisor’s advice, he recalled. “The next thing I know, the guy is shooting paint balls at my window.”

That workplace was the St. Louis Police Department, where Spiess is a major. The employee, who retired, hasn’t taunted him in years. But the episode — underscored by the dismissed Los Angeles cop gone violently rogue — shows that even trained and armed police officers are vulnerable.

About five years after Spiess’ uncomfortable encounter, he was a scene commander in 2010 after an employee at ABB Inc., an electrical parts manufacturer in St. Louis, killed three co-workers and himself after he was passed over for a promotion. Spiess spent the next 2½ years studying such shootings, and he says he has discovered ways for employers to help prevent them.

The research led Spiess to focus on what he calls the “Mr. Uncomfortables” in almost every workplace or school. They exhibit signs of potential trouble long before they act. Most such people never turn to violence, he explained, but most who do erupt in violence come from their ranks.


“All of these workplace shootings have a ‘Mr. Uncomfortable’ factor involved,” Spiess said. “And most people think it’s not going to happen here, but almost every workplace has a ‘Mr. Uncomfortable.’”

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