The growing trend of gun violence in societies, communities and workplaces across the world is a phenomenon that raises a deafening alarm. Those societies which promote the right to bear arms, such as the United States, are facing the challenge of how to reduce the indiscriminate use of the gun upon persons.
Those societies who maintain control measures relative to the purchase of a firearm, and have established regulations governing the use of firearms are facing the challenge of the increasing use of illegal firearms. The irresponsible and indiscriminate acts by licensed firearm users and the illegal use of the firearm by those who have no authority to own or operate any are posing a massive threat to our societies.
It is a given that the state has a responsibility to protect its citizens. Therefore, it is expected that action by way of the introduction of laws, statutory regulations and law enforcement would be the appropriate means to arrest the growing trend. It is a given that citizens in our societies have rights, but since rights are not absolute, it is required that the necessary measures are put in place to protect people from themselves and to safeguard all citizens, residents and visitors.
Inasmuch as the state has a right to protect its citizens, employers have a responsibility to protect their employees. They are expected to provide a safe place of work. There is enormous pressure being placed on them to respond in the attempt to keep guns out of the workplace.
Security scanners are expensive for most employers to install in the workplace. It is almost ludicrous to have employees being subjected to body searches daily, so as to ensure they are not bringing guns and ammunition into the workplace.
With the growing trend of gun violence at the workplace, the safety of employees at work has become a front burner issue. In the international world, there are often reports of shootings occurring in the workplace. Many a case has been reported in the United States. No business place is seemingly spared.
It is difficult to conceive that schools, colleges, universities and hospitals would be subjected to such vicious attacks. In many other workplaces, innocent workers are subjected to gun violence. The cold facts are that many innocent lives of employees and customers are lost in some of these criminal acts.
Employees at their workplace should not be made to feel insecure and threatened, as this hardly lends to worker productivity. It is accepted that in some jobs there are heightened levels of hazards and risks. For example, those businesses whose operations include cash transactions remain susceptible to possible armed robbery attempts. It is expected that the employer puts all precautionary safety measures in place.
One can only speculate on what has given rise to the growing use of firearms in our societies. Many blame sociological factors, starting with poverty as a main contributor to crime. It is clear that it is more than that.
As it stands, it appears that there is no easy solution to be found in addressing the upsurge in gun violence in and outside of workplaces.
Based on what has been occurring within the United States, it may be necessary for authorities to review protocols governing the use of firearms by those who have the authority to use them in their line of work. Police shootings have become the norm in the United States. These may well be described as unprovoked and trigger-happy. Wherever such behaviour exists, invariably the tone set by law enforcement can and is likely to have a trigger effect if it is left unchecked.
(Dennis De Peiza is labour management consultant to Regional Management Services Inc.
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