Workplace violence is on the rise and is an increasing concern for employers. In an unusual case in Florida (of course), police have potentially stopped what could have been an incident of workplace violence that may have resulted in many casualties.
Or they just nabbed a whack-job that could have randomly gone off anywhere or was just crying out for help – we can't be sure.
The Polk County Sheriff's office arrested a 31-year-old exotic dancer who worked at a Tampa Bay Area strip club after she admitted to posting threats of a mass shooting on her Tumblr account. Her username on the account was “taking-lives.” That is what professionals in law enforcement call a “clue.”
She apparently wrote about her “vision” of using an assault rifle to fire into a crowded bar or club that only had one entrance, thus preventing people from escaping. She posted, “I had a vision... of a very public place, only one way in and one way out. Preferably a bar/club on a busy night. 2019 has a lot in store if my plans go according!” She described herself to arresting officers ‘as a true-crime lover' and a “great admirer of serial killers and mass murderers,” according to reports. She also told another Tumbler user, who asked if she had homicidal urges, that “… A lot of us have urges, whether they will admit or not is the question. So yes, I have.”
She has been charged with making a written threat to kill or injure.
No one actually knows if she planned to follow through or not. If so, I have no idea if she intended to do this at her place of employment, but from her description I'd have to surmise she had that in mind. No doubt it would be a show her patrons would not expect. I also question her ability to actually get her hands on an “assault rifle.” She was probably thinking of an AR-15 or some other sort of semi-automatic weapon. It is a common error often made by wannabe homicidal looney bins.
Of course, my immediate question was, if she planned this for her workplace, where exactly does a stripper either holster or conceal a weapon of that size? It would seem problematic. I suppose it could be incorporated into the act so as not raise suspicions, but when you factor in additional magazines, ammo and other necessary items for any solid effort, that act would be rather unwieldy. I might suggest that she hadn't fully planned things out.
Clearly, and in all seriousness, this is a person that obviously needs help. I hope the end result of this is that she gets the assistance she needs. There was a time in this country when you were not arrested and criminally charged for simply writing out your fantasies, no matter how perverted or twisted they may be. In this day and age, however, when law enforcement agencies are routinely criticized for “ignoring obvious signs,” I understand the actions they took. I'm not sure what level of punishment may be meted out for broad and unspecific threats, but the end goal should be to get this person into a system that can get her on a better path. In this case, a good offense is the best defense.
And a good offense would be helpful for avoiding many potential workplace violence situations.
Robert Wilson is President & CEO of WorkersCompensation.com, and "From Bob's Cluttered Desk" comes his (often incoherent) thoughts, ramblings, observations and rants - often on workers' comp or employment issues, but occasionally not.
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