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(34,149 posts)
Thu Dec 3, 2015, 12:08 PM Dec 2015

Workplace killings - the origin of the phrase "going postal"

People here seem surprised that someone would kill so many of their fellow workers as if that had never been done before yesterday. The phrase "going postal" comes from a series of workplace killings by postal workers during the 1980s and 1990s:

Edmond, Oklahoma in 1986
On August 20, 1986, 14 employees were shot and killed and six wounded at the Edmond, Oklahoma, post office by Patrick Sherrill, a postman who then committed suicide with a shot to the forehead.

Ridgewood, New Jersey in 1991
A former United States postal worker, Joseph M. Harris, killed his former supervisor, Carol Ott, and killed her boyfriend, Cornelius Kasten Jr., at their home. The following morning, on October 10, 1991, Harris shot and killed two mail handlers, Joseph M. VanderPaauw, 59, of Prospect Park, N.J., and Donald McNaught, 63, of Pompton Lakes,
N.J. at the Ridgewood, New Jersey Post Office.

Royal Oak, Michigan in 1991
On November 14, 1991 in Royal Oak, Michigan, Thomas McIlvane killed five people, including himself, with a Ruger 10/22 rifle in Royal Oak's post office, after being fired from the Postal Service for "insubordination." He had been previously suspended for getting into altercations with postal customers on his route.

Double event in 1993
Two shootings took place on the same day, May 6, 1993, a few hours apart. At a post office in Dearborn, Michigan, Lawrence Jasion wounded three and killed one, and subsequently killed himself. In Dana Point, California, Mark Richard Hilbun killed his mother, then shot two postal workers dead.

Goleta, California, in 2006
Jennifer San Marco, a former postal employee, killed six postal employees before committing suicide with a handgun, on the evening of January 30, 2006, at a large postal processing facility in Goleta, California.
Police later also identified a seventh victim dead in a condominium complex in Goleta where San Marco once lived.

Baker City, Oregon, in 2006
Grant Gallaher, a letter carrier in Baker City, Oregon, pleaded guilty to the April 4, 2006 murder of his supervisor.[13] He reportedly brought his .357 Magnum revolver to the city post office with the intention of killing his postmaster. Arriving at the parking lot, he reportedly ran over his supervisor several times. Subsequently he went into the post office looking for his postmaster. Not finding the postmaster, he went back out to the parking lot and shot his supervisor several times at close range, ostensibly to make sure she was dead. He then reportedly fired several more bullets into the supervisor's car.

Although "going postal" became the term for workplace killing: "Researchers have found that the homicide rates at postal facilities were lower than at other workplaces. In major industries, the highest rate of 2.1 homicides per 100,000 workers per year was in retail. The next highest rate of 1.66 was in public administration, which includes police officers. The homicide rate for postal workers was 1.48 per 100,000." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Going_postal#Analysis

This latest incident of American gun violence could NOT be terrorism. Farook and his wife could have been indulging in a family version of "going postal." The accouterments they selected - their outfits and the weapons - could just have been today's variation on a theme.
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