Crime Victimization: It’s Not Over ‘Til It’s Over


 crime victim


I have come to realize that working with other crime victims is never  a “one and done proposition” when you have invested with your heart as well as your other skills.

Getting Ready

In the beginning, you have a specific assignment, your procedures, your time frame, your technical assistance waiting in the wings, your  “cut to the chase priorities” if needed.

You anticipate need, you craft questions and ways to elicit information that are most helpful. You know how to interview and you have learned that listening to both what is said and not said are equally important. You underestimate your time when time is the most precious commodity.

Changing your Mindset

Sometimes as professionals, (whether paid or unpaid) we sell ourselves short, for we may think that these vulnerable people who have joined the “victim of violent club”  entered kicking and screaming just like us, oh so long ago. As seasoned victim advocates, we must clear out the cobwebs and put ourselves in their role again, not a comfortable position.  However, your pain must be dredged up, now to be used as a teaching tool for others. You must set your personal opinions aside and be the victim, apart from the horrendous crime.  You must comfort, carefully  sprinkling realism on what they may think or may learn from television or  biased media reports.

Ready, Set, Go-Maybe…

You are providing a service ready to go on specified date, but alas, keep in mind that your “colleague in crime” may be grief-stricken, not able to communicate, organize thoughts, not able to go to work, rise from bed on that day, answer e-mails or phone calls. If they can’t face the world today, they can’t be ready for you. You must be prepared. You walk that delicate balance of providing a sense of hope that they will make it through. Although their lives are irreparably changed forever, someday something positive will blossom in their lives because of, in spite o,f the awful event that took their loved one from this earth.  However, you must not make promises you can’t keep.  

The Judicial System

When dealing with the judicial system, they must be prepared that weak evidence, lack of evidence, contradictory evidence ,circumstantial evidence and lack of DNA (the “magic bullet” can all be part of the uncertainty for the jury and hence, reasonable doubt. No matter how much you love your  family member  and present a fair and balanced picture to the court,  the defense can and does readily put the victim on trial, exposing all matter of skeletons in one’s closet!  If the victim was complicit in the crime, not an innocent victim by legal standards, or if  mitigating factors are present (any information or evidence presented to the court regarding the defendant or the circumstances of the crime that might result in reduced charges or a lesser sentence). This includes the very real possibility of a plea bargain-deal.

The Brand New Victim

Is not resilient, cannot anticipate, frequently has few people with whom to compare notes. When discussing their cases with family members (who are often at different places emotionally) more questions than answers are generated, with few if any timely answers. They are resentful, depressed, very angry and so very disillusioned.

The Seasoned Victim Advocate Providing a Service

Provides a lifeline; a yardstick against which to measure the starts and stops, ebb and flow of the process. But most importantly, when hearts ans souls are involved, it is NOT a “One and done”, ‘Bye, see ya’, “Have a nice life.”  How can it possibly be so when you are spiritually kindred souls? A valuable connection has been made when a new crime victim puts their trust in you to “paint the true picture” of their precious loved one.  Afterall, isn’t that that way life should be?  

You hope for a connection that will last.  Even if it cannot be for whatever reason, you know in your heart of hearts, you truly have made a difference and are with them spiritually when they deliver their customized victim impact statement in the mahogany laden room where they hope justice will prevail! This is one of the most difficult chapters. But truly, it will never “be over” for a crime victim.   he fat lady of the opera never sings…. However, victims  can and do evolve from victimization to survivor, and sometimes, a thriver- all very important distinctions!

For assistance with creating customized Victim Impact Statements for families experiencing homicide with sufficient preparation time, see the following link- 

Donna R. Gore

To schedule Donna R. Gore for your next conference, seminar or event, please contact ImaginePublicity.Phone: 843-808-0859 or Email:

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Protection Under the Dome: Is Your State Capitol a Safe Place? 


It’s a “sign of the times” so they say…being cautious and proactive against future violence.  After 9-11 in our neighboring state of New York and the horrible massacre in Newtown, CT in 2012, you would think that we would have caught up with other states. However, it appears that public buildings for the public’s use and enjoyment was a primary reason against installing metal detectors at our historic and palatial looking State Capitol  (constructed between 1872 and 1879). But perhaps, “the public’s right to enter’” should be safeguarded as much as possible in 2015.

“For decades, legislators in Connecticut resisted recommendations by police to add metal detectors as a permanent feature at the Capitol and Legislative Office Building.”

A little history regarding the registered historic landmark: the Connecticut State Capitol 

The Capitol was opened in 1878 and stands in the picturesque setting of Bushnell Park. (Construction 1872 -1879). Designed by Richard M. Upjohn, a cathedral architect, this High Victorian Gothic style statehouse was designated a Registered National Historic Landmark in 1971 and underwent a restoration between 1979 and 1989.The exterior marble from East Canaan, Connecticut and granite from Westerly, Rhode Island is accented by a gold leaf dome. The interior floors of the Capitol are inlaid with white marble and red slate from Connecticut and colored marble from Italy. The stenciling, stained-glass windows and light fixtures were designed by Boston interior decorator William James McPherson.  This beautiful and unique building houses the executive offices and legislative chambers of the state, as well as historical memorabilia including statues of Nathan Hale, “The Genius of Connecticut” and Governor William Buckingham.

How Does Your State Stack Up with Security?

According to a 2007 survey in New York, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. All three have metal detectors, as do Pennsylvania and New Jersey. According to the National Conference of State Legislators, there are metal detectors installed at 23 state Capitols, in New York, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.    All three have metal detectors, as do Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Some State Capitols screen all visitors with the metal detectors, while others such as California exempt state employees and legislators.

According to a CT article, during Governor Malloy’s second inaugural address at the beginning of the legislative session on January 6, 2015, “every Capitol Police officer and security technician was on duty.” No incidents were reported.

In Connecticut, some state employees and all legislators are exempted from screening by the metal detectors.  Rather, they may use their badges to get through the turnstiles or vestibules to get into the building. (Hmmm! Who are the exempted employees and why? Suppose they did this at airports?)

In terms of overall traffic, legislators, staff, and the nearly 150,000 annual visitors  including   more than 25,000 school children visit the State Capitol Complex and our beautiful  “over the top” cherry wood and marble Legislative Office Building.

Since 1999, upgrades have included: installation of cameras and video equipment, a card access system, increase in staffing of capitol state police, implementing a security technician program, installing garage gate arm access and emergency call boxes, implementing an emergency warden program, (i.e. emergency management building personnel knowledgeable about proper procedures),  mandatory staff  intruder drill training and workplace violence training.

It all sounds impressive BUT… in February 6, 2002 it all went wrong! According to a Hartford Courant article, a report with the following information was issued to legislative leaders, but not to the public! ‘Too embarrassing! I was just into my third year as a state employee when this occurred….

  • Police swarmed the state Capitol complex in response to a report of a gunman on a roof;
  • Some employees of the Legislative Office Building weren’t notified the building was being evacuated, and no one made use of a public address system to direct the hundreds of people who were “locked down” inside the Capitol;
  • “Several lapses” in the police response were described as “an uneven enforcement of the lockdown and a lack of communication between police and legislative leaders and staff.”
  • Hundreds of people were evacuated from the Legislative Office Building and detained in the adjacent Capitol in the hours after the legislative session opened Feb. 6th. *** Two women told police they saw a machine-gun toting man on the roof of the office building’s garage.
  • THE TRUTH – It was a videographer with a hand-held camera.   But, it might have been just as they described!
  • Capitol police admitted that an evacuation at the Capitol complex had “not been tried or practiced before,”
  • Joint training sessions were needed to familiarize state and local police with the government complex. A “lack of communication” between all parties could have been eliminated if only they would have made use of use of public address systems, e-mails and a formal chain of contact.
  • Additional problems included:  insufficient radio communication between the police, a SWAT team, armed military police and the “Trooper One” helicopter, which hovered overhead.
  • The primary concerns expressed by employees centered around the evacuation and lockdown procedures…. Workers in the office building library and maintenance workers in the basement were not notified by police that the building was being evacuated. During the Capitol lockdown, when all doors should have been secured some people were seen exiting and leaving the grounds, potentially in the line of fire of a “potential sniper.”
  • Interestingly, as reported by the Hartford Courant, “a search of the garage turned up evidence that police initially thought could be connected to the reported gunman — a “ski-mask type hat” and three vehicles that they considered suspicious. But by 6:30 p.m., the garage was deemed safe. A half-hour later, an attorney contacted state police on behalf of the rooftop cameraman, suggesting a misidentification had occurred.   (What??  An attorney was representing the cameraman in 30 minutes?? LOL How convenient for him!)
  • Children in the on-site day care center for children of state employees remained safe. However, an upgraded phone system with a message light for emergency calls was recommended.
  • To this day, I can attest to any public meeting in the LOB, “a script” concerning emerge procedures is always read at the outset.  And…. To this day, I believe that no one is allowed to park or have access to the upper floor of the LOB garage!

January 10, 2010, in Austin Texas:

  • Twenty–four year old Fausto Cardenas, was identified as the shooter after firing several shots from a small-caliber handgun on the Capitol steps.
  • Although beginning in 2009, visitors to the House and Senate galleries were asked to pass through metal detectors outside the third-floor galleries to watch legislative action in those chambers nothing had been done to secure the entrances to the Capitol.
  • Governor Rick Perry had received endorsements from the National Rifle Association and the Texas State Rifle Association. His response was: “I’m always up for looking at new ways to protect our citizens, but the last thing I want is for the Texas Capitol to turn into DFW Airport.” (So what else is new??)
  • Another incident “may have forced the hand that fed Governor Perry” when in May 2010, another man was arrested for dropping an eight-inch knife on the floor during a committee meeting.
  • According to,”Home of the Black Rifle,” as of their post on Friday, May 21, 2010,  Tourists entering the Texas Capitol during the start of the new security procedures thought “metal detectors were a good idea ***until they found out people with concealed handgun permits are not required to surrender their firearms at the door.
  • “People with licenses still can carry guns in the building, so what’s the point? Why are you putting up metal detectors, some people inquired. Just before noon, perhaps only one in 20 people entering the building through the south entrance had to go through the metal detectors. A special line was set up for school groups, people with concealed handgun permits and people with state-issued building passes. A computer is set up for troopers to check the status of handgun permits.”

Does this make any sense to you?  I say, no guns, period in the Capitol except for law enforcement.

Definition- Conceal and Carry law –

Concealed carry or carrying a concealed weapon (CCW) is the practice of carrying a weapon (such as a handgun) in public in a concealed manner, either on one’s person or in close proximity. Not all weapons that fall under CCW controls are lethal. For example, in Florida, carrying pepper spray in more than a specified volume (2 oz.) of chemical requires a CCW permit. Whereas, anyone may legally carry a smaller, so-called, “self-defense chemical spray” device hidden on their person without a CCW permit.

Texas Requirements Conceal- Carry Weapons:

  • The Concealed Handgun Law sets out the eligibility criteria that must be met. Applicants must be at least 21 years of age (unless active duty military) and must meet Federal qualifications to purchase a handgun.  A number of factors may make you ineligible to obtain a license, such as: felony convictions and some misdemeanor convictions, including charges that resulted in probation or deferred adjudication; pending criminal charges; chemical or alcohol dependency; certain types of psychological diagnoses protective or restraining orders, and defaults on state or city taxes, governmental fees, or child support.  Eligibility requirements can be found in GC §411.172.You must also submit a completed application, pay the required fees and submit all of the required supplemental forms and materials.


I suppose we all have our preferences as to what makes us feel most secure based upon our culture, upbringing and experience. However, can we not draw the line and hand over the guns when it comes to our public places of assembly, learning, law making and human civility?

Although we know that humans are not at all civil when it comes to the use of violent crime as a means to “settle differences,” I prefer to think that “a gun in your pocket,” particularly in public places designed for our citizenry to come together as one, is not the path for “the ordinary citizen”, not at all.



Alcatraz. . . And All that Jazz

It was a unique vacation many years ago – in the late 1980’s or early 1990’s.  This was a much anticipated trip by bus throughout selected areas of California, including the infamous Alcatraz Island that held a special significance for this blogger.  Career criminal Perry Lee Herring was behind bars for the murder of my father and another perpetrator, an accomplice in a bank robbery.  I imagined that the harsh conditions of Alcatraz might be the same as what Herring was experiencing in Connecticut. (Naught!)

This was also a special trip as it was an adventure of sorts – staying at a quaint gay owned hotel at the foot of Chinatown… and the opportunity to explore San Francisco and the California wine country… to connect with “my people of orientation,” if I could find them.

As for “my people,” I found but one smokey, not so nice women’s bar.  Even the Women’s Center in the Castro appeared to be underground… but that’s a chapter for another time.  Disillusionment….  This was a man’s town it seemed.

Anyway, some of the details of that trip are fuzzy after all of the intervening years.  However, this fact stands out while on my way to tour Alcatraz Island, I KID YOU NOT…. I WAS ROBBED (i.e. my cash was stolen) while on Alcatraz!  How could it be? Where were the cops?  Where was Burt Lancaster (the Birdman) when I needed them?

I was at the snack bar prior to the tour to buy a drink on this swelteringly hot day.  I laid my change purse with $50.00 cash on the counter for what seemed like just a few seconds.  (The rest was located elsewhere in traveler’s checks).  As I was organizing myself, I took my eyes off the counter and …. GONE!

I immediately reported it and the Ferry police (with their big hats similar to mounted police).  They radioed to the mainland and conducted their search/investigation, interviewing people, filling out documents etc.

I suspected the counter person as a likely suspect or another tourist who made off with my cash and quickly headed back to the ferry.  Results…. NADA!   What a way to begin a vacation!!!  But, I, ladyjustice, was not deterred.  Having gotten the “bad luck” out of the way, I was now on my way  to a fascinating adventure to re-live how crime was dealt with going back to the days of the Civil War in the 1880’s until Alcatraz’s closing in 1963.

One of the many times in which Alcatraz received national attention included  when it was temporarily occupied as part of a Native American Civil Rights Movement that spanned from 1969 to 1971 when Federal agents “removed them” in 1971.

Personally, I would love to see my father’s killer “dropped off” without any life necessities to live out the rest of his miserable life as a lone survivor  (as in the TV show).  Next, I would “drop off all of the sexual predators that could possibly fit on the island.  SAYONARA, BABY!

Back to “The Rock”….

When one tours Alcatraz as a typical tourist, you are given a headset and walkman recorder (perhaps they are digital now) and the story is recounted as you walk the various cell blocks, mess hall etc. and provided with a series of frequently asked questions and answers.

As I toured, I was struck by the absolute desolation and degradation of everyday life.  Today’s prisons, in comparison are country clubs by any measurable standard, no doubt about it!  (Bloggers, I refer you to my previous blog called Prison Programming, Is it a Panacea?) What a dramatic contrast!!

According to the website, the daily routine at Alcatraz was vey mundane – nothing interesting unless you think prisoners waiting several times a day for guards to count and verify people and pieces of silverware…

True interest as a tourist attraction lies in Alcatraz’s age, history of the prison itself, the site of the oldest operating lighthouse on the West Coast and other features such as seabird colonies and remnants of early military fortifications.

As per and the previous source, here are some

FUN FACTS” about Life on Alcatraz

1)    12 Acre Island maintained by the National Park service;

2)    Began as a Military Reservation in 1850 and was transformed into a Federal Penitentiary in 1934;

3)    Famous Movies Filmed on Alcatraz include: “Murder in the First”-1995; “The Rock”-1996; “Star Wars-The Emperor Strikes Back”-1980 and “Escape from Alcatraz”- 1979;

4)    Average length of stay at “Hotel Alcatraz” – 8 years

*** Tourist average length of stay (Unless you are robbed) 2-3 hours;

5)    Highest capacity of prisoners– 302;

6)    Typical Cell Accommodations – 336 cells in total; 5 feet X 9 feet;

Small sink, toilet and a cot;

7)    Most Common Complaints by Inmates:

“Rule of Silence” (i.e. speaking allowed only during meals and recreation – abolished in 1930);

Constant cold temperatures

8)    Number of Inmate Deaths on the Rock

8- Murdered;

5- Suicide;

15- Natural Illness

(This blogger wonders….. Do those parents who inflict domestic violence in California tell their children… “You had better be good, or we’ll put you on Alcatraz???”  I sure hope not…)

9)    Escape Attempts

36 men attempted involved in 14 separate incidents;

23 were caught;

6 were shot and killed;

2 drowned

No, sorry, make that 37 attempted escapes including Donna Gore… Whew!

Disgruntled Workers: “Going Postal” and Other Human Tragedies from Connecticut to California….

Disgruntled Workers: “Going Postal” and Other Human Tragedies from Connecticut to California….

v  On average, 584 million pieces of mail were processed on any given day in 2009;
v  The USPS had 596,000 “career employees” according to 2009 data;
v  There were 15 incidences of homicide within the US Postal Service between 1986 and 1989;
v  This was “the high profile time period” spawning the maligned term, Going Postal…..
v  Most likely to be slain… includes occupations such as chauffeurs and taxi drivers – 121 times that of postal workers and 5 times greater than police officers…
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics kept track of workplace homicides in general, reporting that:
v  For the years of 1997 to 2008, 7,606 people died in workplace homicides, an average of nearly 700 per year;
v  Workplace homicides numbered 586 in 2008 alone.

A few years ago, I recall sitting in my agency’s cafeteria to participate in a three hour workplace violence presentation.  Prior to my arrival in year 2000, our small state agency, had suffered much more than most.  Just prior to my career as a state employee, other employees were subjected to a long term real life Peyton Place scenario that is still whispered about today.  It undermined the agency’s operation and mission, sworn to serve the disabled and emotionally held people hostage.
Since that time, other unsavory elements have visited our institution in the form of predatory behavior and domestic violence incidents among others.
Our agency was bruised and battered…..   Hence, the need for a full time security guard.   However, the real reason for this workplace violence presentation, (besides government protocol) was an incident that rocked our state, etched in the minds of Connecticut residents; forever known as “the Lottery shootings” which occurred in March, 1998.
At the time, this blogger was 2,582 miles away in Phoenix, Arizona pursuing an alternate career and residence.  Those who bore witness to this event, encountered a “disgruntled accountant”, age 35, named Matthew Beck who bitterly complained in writing that the Connecticut State Lottery Corporation, “created an environment that does not hold any long term growth or promotional opportunities.”  Government, being government, is steeped in bureaucracy.  This man was politely told by an HR official that once his initial grievance was settled, “I will be happy to meet with you to answer any additional questions.” Beck felt cheated that his job involving computer skills was re-classified, and denied an upgrade that every other accountant received.
Unfortunately, in his warped perception of reality, he chose not to wait…. but to return to work eight days early from his stress-related leave of absence and fatally shoot four of his bosses, prior to ending his own life. Beck’s boss, lottery president, Otho “Ott” Brown reportedly was chased by Beck, who led the gunman away from other employees, saving their lives.
Matthew Beck had no previous such episodes and had received positive work reviews.  However, a psychiatric history of suicide attempts was in his past.

The human toll and emotional scars are immeasurable….

Fast forward to August 2010 in Manchester, Connecticut, in which another disgruntled employee of Hartford Distributors went on a deadly rampage killing nine people.  Racism was the charge, ending in a cowardly suicide once again…   This guy was given a break and promoted to a truck driver and eventually got caught twice on video stealing cases of beer.
According to union officials, Thornton had poor work habits and a lack of understanding that it takes years to rise through the ranks as a senior driver in a union shop.   His employer made the fatal mistake of allowing him to walk free among his employees on the day he was fired.
A recently completed investigation says that a forensic examination of perpetrator Omar Thornton’s cell phone revealed no evidence of racism. He never filed a formal grievance.  Instead he formulated a plan that spelled justice to him.
Few Studies, Lack of Answers:
This topic cries out for more focused study, particularly in a depressed economy like no other in history….   The most conclusive study found to date on postal homicides was completed in 2000. The “Report of the United States Postal Service Commission on a Safe and Secure Workplace” provides detailed statistics.  During the 1990’s, postal workers were only a third as likely to be murdered at work as compared to “the average worker.”

Question by this author… What does it mean to be a third less dead???

The Center for Disease Control disagrees and states that previous rates in the 1980s were roughly equal. 
The National Institute of Occupational Safety & Health reported in 2008 that 30 workplace occurrences included multiple deaths and that 12% the perpetrator was a co-worker or former co-worker.
Fred Blosser of NIOSH reports that the risk factors most likely to result in workplace homicide include:  handling money, working late at night, risk of robbery and working alone.
The USPS employed more than 750,000 part-time and full time workers in the year 2000 and hired 40,000 workers a year.  Is it a stretch to say that “going postal” no longer lives up to its reputation?

Let’s take a closer look …

A standard in the Human Resources industry for Workplace Violence presentations includes the showing or partial showing of a training film entitled “Murder 9 to 5: Violence in the Workplace, a 1994 HBO Production.

This author was recently told by a Department of Administrative Services official that the three day training provided to HR officials for the State of Connecticut  after the lottery shooting, was ordered to “be condensed to three hours” for state employees.  Thus, only a 10 minute showing of excerpts of this film was available for our viewing.
Although somewhat dated, it remains very relevant film and prominently features:

1) The 1986 story of postal worker and killer Patrick Sherrill “Crazy Pat” who committed homicide on 14 workers in Edmond, Oklahoma prior to his suicide.   Dr. Park Diez, a forensic psychiatrist and FBI consultant also appeared in the film.  Much has been written about this event.

2) August 10, 1989, Escondido California mailman, John Merlin Taylor shot his wife to death, then drove to a nearby post office in Escondido and opened fire on fellow employees, killing two and wounding a third before putting the gun to his head and shooting himself. U.S. Postal Service spokesman Ken Boyd said Taylor had been a letter carrier for 25 years and was nearing retirement.

The rampage, which began at 7:30 a.m. on East Valley Parkway on the eastern edge of the northern San Diego County city, left postal workers scrambling for safety. When the gunfire subsided, survivors were seen exchanging hugs and crying quietly.

“He fired well over a dozen rounds, and there are expended cases all over the floor there,” Escondido Police Lt. Earl Callander said.

“There is also a box of about 100 rounds that apparently was going to be used for re-loading.

Police said they knew of no motive for the shootings and believed that the victims were shot randomly, but co-workers said Taylor had succumbed to increasing pressure at work.
Author’s note:  Perhaps this was really a domestic violence issue that spilled over into the workplace……

3) Ridgeway, New Jersey, 1991 was the date and location of the next in a series of postal homicides by clerk Joseph Harris.

Writing a two page note, he referred to the Edmond, Oklahoma deaths and explained his own unfair treatment by the Postal Service.  Carol Ott, a supervisor at the Ridgewood, New Jersey post office.  A personality conflict existed….
She ordered him to take a “fitness for duty” psychological exam with a doctor chosen and paid by the Postal Service.  Insulted, he refused to cooperate with the request and Ms. Ott instituted proceedings that resulted in Harris’ dismissal in April 1990.Armed with guns, grenades, homemade bombs, and a samurai sword, he booby trapped the front door of his apartment and drove to the suburban home of Ms. Ott.  After forcing entry, swinging his sword in a great arc, he deeply slashed her left shoulder and continued to thrust as she staggered backwards.  After killing her, he crept down the stairs and shot her live-in boyfriend, Cornelius Kasten, Jr. behind the right ear as he sat watching television in the basement.

October 10th, 2 am, Harris entered the rear of the Ridgewood post office where he shot and killed two mail handlers, Joseph Vander Pauw and Donald Mc Naught.  Barricading himself in the basement, he shot at truck driver Marcello Collado who had become suspicious when he arrived at the back dock and found nobody to help him unload his truck.

Collado escaped unscathed and drove to the nearest police station.
Police attempted to enter the post office but were forced to retreat and await assistance when Harris lobbed an explosive device at them.The Bergen County SWAT team surrounded the building and attempted to telephone Harris.  Refusing to answer, he kept the SWAT team at bay until 6:30 AM when he surrendered to a police negotiator

Joseph Harris was subsequently convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to death.  He died on death row in 1996.

4) Thomas McIlvan, Royal Oak , Michigan, November 14, 1991.

A former postal clerk, 31, furious that he had been dismissed from his job, for “getting into altercations with postal customers on his route,” walked into a regional postal center opened fire with a sawed-off .22-caliber rifle, killing three workers and wounding six, before fatally wounding himself.
Three other workers were injured while trying to escape by jumping out windows of the two-story building during the shooting spree, which the police estimated lasted five or six minutes.

“Double Trouble”  on May 6, 1993

Firty-five year old Larry Jaison, a postal mechanic with 24 years of service in Dearborn Michigan shot and killed another postal mechanic and wounded a supervisor and administrative clerk prior to killing himself.   Reportedly the victims were targeted. This post office had the reputation as having “an authoritarian structure.”

Dana Point, California- May 6, 1993

A mere four hours later…. fired postal employee Mark Richard Hilburn killed his mother and her dog.  And then… he proceeded to the Dana Point post office and fatally shot letter carrier Charles Barbagallo and injured clerk Peter Gates.  Hilburn continued his mass murdering rampage wounding three others prior to being captured 36 hours later.

Hartford , CT Postal Worker Wounds Three Cops with Semi-automatic Rifle- September 4, 1998

After a neighbor accused Hartford postal worker, Edward Premo, 40 of vandalizing her car, police showed up to investigate. Premo was waiting in his yard and opened fire with two handguns. Officers returned fire.  The    wounded perpetrator continued to fire on backup officers. Premo was apprehended.  His trailer contained several homemade explosives. No fatalities occurred.

The City of Industry, California, July 10, 1995

Postal clerk, Bruce Clark, with 22 years of service, apparently punched his postal supervisor, James Whooper III in the back of the head without provocation.  Clark soon returned to the room with a brown paper bag containing a .38 caliber revolver and instantly pulled the trigger.  Other workers were able to subdue Clark until his arrest by police.

And, finally……. the tragic case of Jennifer Sanmarco, Goleta, California, January 30, 2006

In the mid -1990’s Jennifer Sanmarco worked as a police dispatcher prior to becoming a postal employee. At that time, she was the recipient of a standard background check and psychological evaluation. After several months as a dispatcher, she left the job due to the high stress conditions (which is not unusual for such positions). Jennifer eventually pursued an entry level clerk job at the mail processing plant.  However, in 2003, she had to be removed by police for “acting strangely” and was put on a psychological disability for her own protection.
On January 30, 2006, newspaper accounts reveal that  Ms. Sanmarco shot and killed her one time neighbor and then proceeded to go to her former workplace.
US Postal Inspector Randy DeGarperin reported that Sanmarco apparently entered the massive facility by following others into the gate.  She began her rampage by shooting two employees in the parking lot, and forced her way into the building with someone else’s key card.   The shooter used a semi automatic pistol, shooting all in the head.  Subsequently, she also fatally shot herself.
Before moving to the Goleta area, Ms. Sanmarco moved to a small town in New Mexico and attempted to start a publication called “The Racist Press.”
Former colleagues stated that Jennifer had a history of “making racially charged statements.”
Although a true motive was unclear, writings recovered in her home by the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s office indicated that she thought she was the target of a conspiracy centered at the Goleta postal facility.

“These incidents don’t occur because someone just snaps”, stated workplace violence Federal government expert and psychologist, Mary Tyler. She also expressed surprise that the shooter was a woman.
“I tried to think of another crime of this type perpetrated by a woman
and I couldn’t.”
Police and psychologists have offered theories as to her motive.
Paranoia and a history of mental illness, severe depression, anger and frustration and suicidal ideation are common.
There was no evidence she was mad at her boss and no supervisors were killed.
The Case of Jenifer Sanmarco remains a mystery….
Non profit experts in trauma offer that many victims relive the workplace violence event over and over again which is different from remembering.  Victims have individual ways of coping with these horrible events, but they do recover…
Psychologists from the Traumatic Stress Institute in New Britain, CT offers an explanation versus an excuse, during their trainings… “Hurt people hurt people.”
Indeed….. and complacency breeds a false sense of security and the potential for more violence.
After chronicling all incidents from year 2000 to 2006, a 2006 letter carrier network publication closes with the following words:

“No one is innocent and everyone is a victim when any agency is allowed to police themselves”

This blogger thinks that a book needs to be written on this topic….
Maybe I will…. someday…….