Saturday, August 25, 2012

Criminal #1: The Disgruntled Employee

Hello, and welcome to my new blog! Let's jump right in, shall we?

For today's soundtrack, we have "Run Through the Jungle" by Creedence Clearwater Revival. 

By now, everyone who has been paying attention has heard about the shooting outside the Empire State building yesterday. If not, you can find the details here.

With this blog, I'm not going to mention the names of killers or other criminals, because they don't deserve any notoriety. In some cases, that's exactly what they want. They're losers who can't make a name for themselves any other way, so committing heinous crimes becomes their claim to fame. On my blog, they will only get a number.

So we'll call the guy outside the Empire State building Criminal #1.

Apparently #1 had lost his job a while back, and he blamed the loss on a man named Steven Ercolino. #1 hid behind a van yesterday, and when Ercolino walked by, #1 shot him multiple times with a semi-automatic pistol. Ercolino died. Soon after that, police shot and killed #1, and nine bystanders were injured in the process.

My question is this: what pushed #1 over the edge? What was it that finally compelled him to murder the man he'd been arguing with for months? What was going through his mind yesterday morning when he left home with that gun?

It wasn't the first case of a disgruntled employee violently attacking a boss or a former coworker, of course. In fact, it's a modern day phenomenon that occurs with such frequency there's even a pop culture term for it: going postal (unfortunate for the fine folks who work our post offices, but there you go). My novella Fire and Ice deals with such a character, but can you imagine?

What would it take to set someone like that off? Are they simply insane and prone to violent behavior (#1 had no prior criminal record)? Or could it happen to anyone?

Is there a killer lurking inside each of us, just waiting for the right buttons to be pushed?

Would gun control have helped in a case like this?

And if you're in a supervisory position somewhere, should you fear for your life every time you have to reprimand or terminate an employee working under you?

Talk to me.


  1. These people seem to blame others for the misfortunes in their lives. Real or otherwise. I do not think gun control would have stopped the violence. It would on the other hand prevented the number of deaths.

  2. Well, there were two deaths in this one. #1 and Steven Ercolino. But nine people were wounded from "friendly" fire.

  3. I suspect suicide by cop with a twist: taking out a hated rival at the same time.

  4. Interesting theory, Eric. The hatred must have been intense, which brings up even more questions. It would be good if people who want to die would just do it and leave everyone else alone.