Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Washington Navy Yard Shooting: America's Tragic Culture of Violence

Tragically, the Washington Navy Yard Shooting is another reminder of the culture of violence as our sacred American flag flies once again at half mast at the White House.

The hearts and prayers of all Americans and all people of good will must be sensitive to the 12 innocent lives lost on September 16, 2013, the numerous injured and to all their families and friends.

Implications of this reprehensible act must encourage us to remain dedicated to stopping this scourge upon our nation by exercising unwavering leadership, vigilance and collaboration.

Also, time and time again, the need for a timely and appropriate response to warning signs is critical as published about this incident in the New York Times on September 17, 2013:

Mr. Alexis had shown a “pattern of misbehavior” during his four years as a reservist, according to Navy officials. That pattern caused some of his commanders to consider giving him a general discharge — one level below honorable, which could have derailed his security clearance.

Instead, Mr. Alexis received an honorable discharge from the military in January 2011, after he had applied for an early discharge under the Navy’s “early enlisted transition program.” A major reason, officials said, was that his misbehavior in the Navy was not violent. It included insubordination, traffic violations and being absent without leave — two days he spent in jail after a fight in a bar in DeKalb County, Ga.

Mr. Alexis was also twice investigated by other police departments in shooting episodes — once for firing through his ceiling in Fort Worth, Tex., and another time for shooting out a car’s tires in Seattle, during what he described as an anger-fueled blackout.

Perhaps these previous posts will shed light on the issue and offer some preliminary insights for prevention:

Empire State Building Shooting: Warning Signs of a Disgruntled Former Employee---August 26, 2012

In the shadow of my most recent workplace violence awareness and prevention initiative and just a short drive away is another new tragedy of violence at one of the world's most famous locations.

As with so many workplace violence tragedies, the shooting at the Empire State Building once again clearly highlights the issue of warning signs.

Published reports expressed a long history of antagonism that even led to complaints on each other (killer and murdered victim) to the NYPD.

As detailed below in my July 14, 2012 post, America's culture of violence demands full force vigilance with continual assessments, training, warning sign intervention, plans, programs and protocols:


On Friday, July 13, 2012, I delivered a presentation titled Workplace Violence Awareness: Prevention, Preparedness, Empowerment to 85 members of the Community Development Corporation of Long Island in East Patchogue. The presentation as organized by Lisa J. Dolan, CPP, President of Securit, covered basic issues of workplace violence and it was designed to increase awareness and initiate additional training, programs and protocols.

As addressed with all of my violence prevention presentations, articles and blogs, such as noted below, this is a serious issue for companies that deserves proactive full force viglilance.


According to its website, the International Facility Management Association (IFMA) is the premier professional association for facility management and supports the largest community of facility management professionals in the industry. IFMA membership comprises more then 17,500 facility professionals throughout 50 countries and its members have a voice in 126 chapters and 14 councils.

The mission of the New Jersey Chapter of IFMA is to enhance the value of the organization to the professional facility manager. The goal of the New Jersey Chapter is to serve as a user friendly,easily accessible resource of interaction, education and empowerment of professional skills and knowledge.

Complimenting the mission and goal of the New Jersey Chapter of IFMA, I was honored to be the guest speaker for their Wednesday, February 21, 2007 event at the Marriott in Somerset, New Jersey and presented, "Exercising Leadership to Protect Facilities" to over 50 facility management professionals representing New Jersey corporations and schools. The venue was generously sponsored by Bravo Building Services.

The agenda for the evening was:

  • Setting the Stage (Hurricane Katrina: Lessons Learned-the need for a culture of preparedness, leadership, partnerships and unity of effort)
  • A Crisis of Leadership (Public, Corporate and Professional Sports Scandals)
  • A Culture of Violence (School and Workplace Violence/Terrorism)
  • Exercising Leadership (Security Vulnerability Assessments, Risk Management, Target Hardening, Defense in Depth, Emergency Planning, Personnel Security, Sensitive Information Protection, Security Management, Crisis Management Committee's and Security Protocols including lockdowns, sheltering in place, evacuations, partial and full scale drills)
The presentation highlighted the cornerstone of facility protection as moral leadership, heightened vigilance and dedicated collaboration and the six pillars of practical day-to-day leadership as:
  • Affirmation
  • A Sense of Urgency
  • Dignity
  • Respect
  • Honesty
  • Compassion
As with all of my presentations, the program was punctuated with a moment of silence to reflect and remember those who are serving in our military and their families, especially those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice.

The attendees provided significant insights into their work and current concerns. Their commitment and dedication reminds us that:

"Leadership is key for those responsible for facilities and vigilance demands updated, tested and effective emergency plans to protect the lives of individuals entrusted to their care and to safeguard the very survival of their organizations."
International Facility Management Association (IFMA) Click here to visit site
IFMA – New Jersey Chapter Click here to visit site



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