Never brush aside a threat of violence

What's wrong, Amos, you look a bit piqued?" Assistant Maintenance Supervisor Amos Courtney hesitated before answering. "Nothing." "That isn't a 'nothing' look on your face.
By Raymond Dreyfack February 1, 1999

What’s wrong, Amos, you look a bit piqued?”

Assistant Maintenance Supervisor Amos Courtney hesitated before answering. “Nothing.”

“That isn’t a ‘nothing’ look on your face. What’s the problem?”

“It’s Griffith again. He’s upset about that sludge removal assignment I gave him.”

Courtney’s boss, Bill Reese, chuckled. “That’s nothing new; Griffith is always peeved about something or other.”

“Yeah, but this time he was like a pot about to boil over. The crazy idiot threatened to ice me after work one of these days.”

“Specifically, what did he say?”

“Something about watching my butt in the parking lot when I work the late shift. No big deal. Griffith’s a hothead. It’ll blow over when he calms down.”

“I wouldn’t bet on that. Griffith packs a knife, doesn’t he?”

“So I heard.”

Question: What would you do in response to Griffith’s threat?

Martin’s response: Reese brought Courtney to Plant Engineer Joe Martin’s office and had him repeat Griffith’s threat. “I doubt that he meant it,” Courtney said. “He was hot under the collar at the time. I’ll keep an eye on him.”

“I hope you’re right,” Martin said, “but if the guy’s irrational, keeping an eye on him may not be good enough. In Fort Lauderdale, FL, they learned this the hard way a year or two back. A city employee returned after being fired and murdered five former coworkers before taking his own life. It’s obvious to me that threats by people like Griffith can’t be dismissed lightly.

“A set of warning signs have been documented to identify violence-prone individuals in the workplace. Number one is carrying a concealed weapon. Another is the kind of threat you cited. Holding a grudge also ranks high on the list along with alcoholism, drugs, and various signs of irrational behavior.”

Courtney frowned. “What do you think I should do about it?”

“We’ll find out soon enough,” Martin replied, picking up the phone. “This is Martin. Give me Security please.”

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