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Does the Virginia Shooter Show Need for Better Workplace Security?

Vester Flanagan, the man alleged to have murdered two former co-workers while they were live on the air, had a well-documented history of hostile behavior in the workplace. He was said to have made colleagues feel “threatened or uncomfortable” on many occasions according to one of his previous supervisors at WDBJ. Flanagan was hired as a reporter for the Roanoke, Virginia news station in 2012, and was fired less than a year later for creating a hostile work environment that was stressful for all of his co-workers. There are a number of reports and memos detailing his negative behavior over his months of employment, but despite this behavior, Flanagan never acted illegally. This raises the question: how can employers properly protect their employees from violence that can’t be predicted? Flanagan had no history of criminal behavior, or violence. He also had no documented history of mental illness. Because of this,…
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