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July 13, 2004

Murder Most Foul

"When a guy is going around threatening employees within the workplace to the point of threatening to kill them, dismiss him. You don't keep that employee there." -- Tyrone Means (attorney for the plaintiffs)

You don't have to be a rocket scientist or an officer of the NAACP to know that something is wrong here.

Lockheed Martin Corp., the Bethesda-based defense contracting giant, permitted a racially hostile work environment for black employees "to grow in intensity" at its Meridian, Miss., plant until an employee shot 14 workers -- 12 of them black -- there last summer, an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission investigation has found.

As far as I can tell, this incident is the most foul thing that has happened in this country since the DC Sniper. I don't know what was going on such that I didn't hear about it. What occupied our minds at that time, huh? How did we not see a mass murder? Well, it's clear that this is a big ugly.

Now I hate to be cynical, but this is the kind of incident where heads should roll. I'll give it a day to percolate and see which heads speak out. All that nonsense about a flashlight and pound cake theives is a drop in the bucket when compared to quadruple homicide. Doug Williams, the terrorist in this matter, decided to be a suicide killer. So recourse falls to the place that employed this psychopath. So let's hear all the excuses. I'll even put some out there for you.

I'm energized. Who else?
(sounds of crickets)

At this late date, I feel a little weird giving my condolences to the families, but I do. I heard on the radio today that there are violent crime victimization funds. (Max $25,000, which is less than car insurance pays.) I'd say they've got a bundle coming - and some people at Lockheed really need to be fired and slapped around. Let's see what size trial and media nonsense these families have to endure to get what's coming to them. At the very least, they have my sympathy.

In the meantime, let's hear some strident yapping.

Posted by mbowen at July 13, 2004 11:22 PM

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With respect...

What the article fairly shouts to me is not that LockMart allowed a racist to run their shop, but that they allowd someone with an obvious and severe mental illness to continue in their employ without any intervention at all. The symptoms are *classic* (in my opinion bipolar, but IANA psychiatrist, I just work around them). If someone walked into work with oozing sores they'd pack him off to the hospital in minutes, but when someone wandered around with funny hats, screaming obscenities, and bringing weapons to work, they did nothing.

To me, *that's* the greatest tragedy of all. Because if they'd just fired him, he would've ended up going postal somewhere else. If he'd gotten treatment, *seven* people would still be around today.

Posted by: scott at July 14, 2004 07:22 AM