Friday, February 03, 2006

Look out, he's going clerical!

Security expert Bruce Schneier shoots down another widely-held belief that isn't true:
There is a common myth that workplace homicides are prevalent in the United States Postal Service. (Note the phrase "going postal.") But not counting this event, there has been less than one shooting fatality per year at Postal Service facilities over the last 20 years. As the USPS has more than 700,000 employees, this is a lower rate than the average workplace.
What's so intriguing about the idea that Postal Employee = Gun-Toting Loner on the Edge? Here's my half-baked armchair theory.
  1. Postal employees are poised to go full-goose nutso with little or no warning.
  2. I will spend as little time as possible at the post office.
  3. Therefore, I can keep myself slightly safer than I would be otherwise.
  4. Since I feel better believing (3.), I will not question the truth of (1.).
You could argue that it's the media that creates a false impression by harping on postal worker violence, but that only means that TV reporters find the whole scenario weirdly compelling and believe their viewers will too.


Post a Comment

<< Home