Compact Equipment

SEP 2018

Compact Equipment is a magazine dedicated to equipment owners and operators of small, nimble, tool-carrying construction, landscape and ag equipment — such as skid steers, mini excavators, compact tractors, generators compressors and beyond.

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Page 16 of 55

O n Feb. 14, 2018, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz walked into Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., pulled the fire alarm and gunned down 17 people as they evacuated the building. Tragic events of this nature re- peat themselves far too often in America, but there is one thing about this event that stands out as unique: Many people saw it coming. Before his expulsion from school, his classmates avoided him. His writings were ominous and threatening. He declared on social media that he wanted to be a "professional school shooter," which was even reported to the FBI. Previously, police had been called to the Cruz home 39 times since 2010. The fact that so few were surprised to hear Cruz identi- fied as the shooter makes this event exceptionally tragic. Ignored Clues One of the myths about mass violence is that people just snap and start killing people. After the Virginia Tech massacre in which Seung-Hui Cho killed 32, one tearful young lady being interviewed by a reporter said, "He just snapped! There wasn't anything we could have done." No. He didn't just "snap." But that's the sound bite that makes its way into the majority of eyewitness accounts in media coverage of heinous acts of violence, whether it happens on campuses or in American workplaces. In fact, at least two professors at the institute found Cho's behav- ior leading up to the massacre to be growing more dis- turbing. He had intimidated several female students, and his writings began to take on more violent and obscene themes. On at least two occasions leading up to the shoot- ing, Cho received a verbal warning from campus police regarding stalking complaints. It is not possible to pre-identify those who commit such acts based on a personality profile or employment screening. However, there are easily recognized patterns of changes in behavior that justify an elevated level of attention to employees who demonstrate them. These changes are what should command an alert supervisor's attention. What Should Get Your Attention? Keep in mind that these are indicators of stress, not predictors of violence. They should always be taken in context and together. This means observing the patterns, frequency and intensity of the behaviors, as well as the number of different behaviors. It's especially important to observe and note changes in an employee's behavior. The observance of these behaviors should command the attention and care of supervisors, and evaluations should be undertaken concerning appropriate steps to ensure the safety and well-being of the entire workplace. 17

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