Workplace Violence: 12 Signs Of A Dangerous Person

Workplace violence is something everyone needs to be educated about. Know the warning signs to protect yourself and your employees.

7HThe Navy Yard shootings were a harsh reminder that, while studies show violence is down overall, workplace violence is a problem that doesn’t seem to be going away.

I appeared on CNBC to discuss the shootings, and addressed what can be done to prevent this from happening in the future. Everyone seems to be looking for a silver bullet to solve these problems, and many think technology will solve the problem. Interestingly, the anchor pointed out that if the NSA monitors people’s chatter online and in the social media sphere, then surely it should be able to step in and thwart a crime.

If it were that easy, there’d be no crime. (And the NSA might only look at less than 1 percent of the data it has access to.)

What can be done to prevent this from happening in the future? Those who study workplace violence know that there is a psychological profile of someone who is likely to commit an act of violence. Every business owner should know and understand the signs. A combination of a few (or more) of the following behaviors should be reason for concern.

  • Difficulty getting along with others: They are unreasonable and often make inappropriate remarks about others. They are never content with the status quo and are always upset by everyone and everything.
  • Controlling behaviors: In their minds, they are superior and everyone else is beneath them. They always force their opinion on others. They are control freaks and can’t deal with change.
  • Clinical paranoia: They may not yet be diagnosed, but they think others—including their friends, family, fellow employees and the government—are out to get them. They are conspiracy theorists.
  • Power obsession: They own firearms, are members of paramilitary groups, and subscribe to numerous military, law enforcement or underground military group chat communities or newsletters.
  • Victim attitudes: They never take responsibility for their behaviors, faults, mistakes or actions. They always blame others; it’s always someone else’s fault. They may have had trouble with the law, even just a minor incident, but it wasn’t their fault.
  • Litigious nature: Taking legal action against neighbors and employers and constantly filing grievances is their way of virtually controlling others. Everything is blown out of proportion.
  • Constant anger: Hate and anger are how they get through the day. Coworkers, family, friends and the government are all the reasons why they are mad, mad, mad.
  • Violent opinions: They see acts of violence in the media, such as shootings, mass murders, racial incidences, domestic violence and executions as reasons to celebrate. They say victims “got what they deserved.”
  • Vindictive references: They say things like, “He will get his someday,” or “What comes around goes around,” or “One of these days I’ll have my say.”
  • Odd behaviors: They might be good at their jobs but lack social skills. Their presence makes others feel uncomfortable. They have an edge to them that makes others not to want to be around them.
  • Unhealthy habits: Sleep disorders, always being tired, dramatic weight loss or gain, or numerous health-related problems issues plague them. They are often addicted to drugs, alcohol or numerous other substances or experiences.
  • Recent layoff: A combination of any of these traits that leads to job loss can set an ex-employee off. As a society, we introduce ourselves by our job description: “Hi, I’m Robert Siciliano, and I’m a personal security and identity theft expert.” But really, I’m also a dad, son, husband, etc.—and if any of these things are taken away, resulting in significant emotional despair, it can sometimes push people over the edge.

Knowing the warning signs is a good start to preventing the unimaginable from happening at your workplace, but you’ll also need to stay vigilant and educated. Preventing active shooters involves multiple layers of security. Make sure all your managers and employees know the warning signs. Workplace violence isn’t a technology problem that can be cured with a fence or a security camera. It’s a serious people problem that can only be fixed with intervention.

On CNBC, when I gave an example of a worker who demonstrated all these behaviors and the necessity of the fellow employees or even a family member to drop a dime, the anchor said, “Yes, but there’s always been a cultural resistance for fear of implicating the wrong person.” My response: “So what!?” My view is that it’s better to be safe than sorry. Take precautions to protect yourself, your employees and your business, and if something doesn’t feel right, speak up. It could save lives.

Robert Siciliano CEO of IDTheftSecurity.com, personal security and identity theft expert and speaker is the author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Identity Was Stolen. See him knock’em dead in this identity theft prevention video.

2013 Boston Marathon: My Best Worst Day Ever

UPDATE: April 15th, 2019. Today marks the 123rd Boston Marathon. As many of my followers know, I have ran the marathon seven times, and I look forward to it every year. My charity for the past 6 years has been The Boston’s Children Hospital, and I have raised upwards of $60,000+. This year I am proud to announce my 2019 charity – The Martin Richard Foundation, please donate here.

Training for a marathon is a taxing, physical, emotional and expensive process. For me personally, that has meant multiple cortisone shots, almost a hundred physical therapy appointments and a few arguments with my wife. Why do it? Why climb a mountain? Why be a police officer? Why be an emergency room nurse? Why detonate a bomb in a crowd of innocent people? We all make choices others wouldn’t and we justify our decisions based on our interests, options and perspective.

Shortly after the bombings, evacuating the city, carrying my 40lb child after running 26 miles. Hurt, angered, saddened and grateful to get to my family.

Shortly after the bombings, evacuating the city, carrying my 40lb child after running 26 miles. Hurt, angered, saddened and grateful to get to my family.

For me, I just wanted to lose weight, get fit and finally give back to a charity; killing two birds with one stone, so to speak. When you’re 50 with a young family and your health and marriage are good, bills are paid and life is settled, words like “health,” “gratitude” and “grace” begin to have more meaning. And when you become a runner, you join a special club of conscious people who enjoy challenging themselves and understand our time is limited .

In 2013 I was on my way to run about a 4:10 (my best time ever), but was stopped at mile 26 due to some a couple terrorists’ agenda.

During the 2013 Boston Marathon, my improved time put me on Boylston Street shortly after the blasts. There were two loud bangs, and as I rounded the corner I saw the finish line through dissipating smoke. Boston police immediately corralled runners from going any farther down Boylston because it was now a volatile area and potential crime scene. At 2:52 PM I called my wife, who was at the finish line, about 100 yards from the first bomb, and got no answer. A minute later, I got my dad on the phone; he was with my wife and the kids and he confirmed they were OK. I instructed him to leave ASAP, as another bomb could go off any moment. I told him to “walk down the center of the street and avoid any cars!”

But nothing was going to keep me away from them; I couldn’t just sit there and wait. In my mind, there were bombs going off between my family and myself. As a father, son and husband, the instinctual need to get your family to safety overpowers every sense of reason. I dodged a couple of police officers and ran down Boylston, the only runner on the field, putting myself in jeopardy and now also causing law enforcement to chase after me. At the 26-mile mark, I saw people on the ground, bloody and getting medical attention from the few paramedics that were on hand to take care of runners expected to be injured in more predictable, less violent ways. I made a decision to keep going. Which still doesn’t sit well. It felt like a 3D movie where the scene was pushing me back in my chair, but the sound was off. I know the scene was loud with sirens and screams, but I heard nothing.

Then I heard an angry cop (rightly so) blasting his voice in my ear before he wrestled me off the course. Eluding further apprehension, but onward to my family, I hopped a fence and ran down a back alley behind the restaurants, bars and shops that were evacuating people through their back doors. What I saw was people—many victims who must have made their way on their own or with the assistance of others—screaming, crying and making frantic phone calls…and there was blood. Some victims I saw lost anywhere from pints to whatever; I don’t know. I just remember freaking out and not wanting to run in it.

I ended up behind the finish line and found a way to cross Boylston. I made my way to the Weston Hotel, where I found my family, scooped up my four-year-old and hiked another half mile to my vehicle. Leaving behind two vehicles, we piled nine adults and children into my Yukon and evacuated.

Out of relative danger, our attention now turned to our two children and damage control. To gauge my seven-year-old’s feelings, I calmly asked her, “Did you have fun today?” She said, “Yes, today was awesome! Until the bombs went off!” Knowing she was shaken, the radio stayed off and adults did what they could to speak in code. Note to adults who may try this: It doesn’t fool a seven-year-old.

By this time my phone was going nuts, Facebook and Twitter were buzzing and my mother, who couldn’t get in touch with us, was in complete meltdown.

Once I got home and got the kids situated, we ordered a bunch of pizza because that’s what you do when a bomb goes off. People need to feel normal.

My mom showed up at our home shortly after we got there. She was a total mess, and after the kids saw her emotional state, they understood the gravity of the situation. Today, they are showing a tremendous amount of affection and gratitude, which seems to be a side effect of their trauma.

I posted a brief note on Facebook: “Im OK, I was on Boylston St. when it happened. I saw smoke, I saw blood and people on the ground. My family was 300 yards away, waiting for me and I got to them and evacuated from the city. More later.” And the comments and “likes” poured in.

Shortly after, I provided an update: “I was right there, bomb went off. Boston police removed everyone, I kept running toward the bombs because my family was at the finish line. Police got me off the road, I resisted then another cop almost tackled me (rightly so). I ran in the back alleys, people spilling into the alleys from the explosion, screaming, crying, blood, got my dad to get my wife and kids out of there concerned for another explosion. I’m telling it to Dr. Drew on CNN between 9:15ish and 9:30ish tonight.”

Again, comments poured onto my page like never before. People offering an outpouring of help and support. I never knew I had that many real friends.

I feel I have to explain the part about Dr. Drew and CNN.. It may seem opportunistic, but frankly, for me, it’s therapy. I do lots of media as the expert. My network is “the media.” So when I send a blast email to raise money for charity, my network knows I’m running the Boston Marathon. When I logged into Facebook and email, the requests came in from CNN, Extra and Canadian TV, along with a few radio shows too. So I spent the evening after the run as an eyewitness. And, because it’s who I am, I gave security tips too.

My cousin, who is an Iraq and Afghanistan soldier and flies one of those crazy killer helicopters, reached out to me via Facebook and said, “I think your situation was much worse than many Middle East situations I’ve been in.” Which I thought odd because he’s had his best buddy blown up right next to him. Then he said, “When I deploy I’m armed, geared up and expecting to fight. You were at a peaceful gathering around families and innocent civilians, not expecting bombs. That makes it much worse.”

We accept the possibility of death and destruction when we sign our contracts. I’m sure no one who signed up for the marathon expected this.

This completely messed me up, putting into perspective just how awful this situation is.

I only slept three hours that night, on edge, emotional and fragile. The next day, I headed to the media compound near Boylston to meet with Maria Menounos from Extra, who is a Boston girl. I connected with Maria, and within two minutes we were both crying. She started talking about how she loves Boston so much, then I started crying, then she started crying…which completely messed me up. I tell you this because she told me people should know this is real and they can’t forget. She was professional, but she was real. She put me at ease and we got through the interview.

Since then I’ve done more media on this than I wished, including the Boston Globe,  Dr. Drew, Extra, Current TV, Canadian TVagain and again, Fox Boston and some radio.

In early May after the blasts, I was asked to speak to the North Eastern Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council on the benefits of social media to law enforcement and how social can help get the word out in a tragedy. When I walked into the room to speak, everyone was in uniform. What I didn’t know was many of the men and women attending were the first responders saving lives at the finish line, and others who were involved in the capture of the bombers.

That was a very emotional speech for me. Check out the Huffington Posts blog on how the Boston Police did a stellar job using Twitter during the bombing.

At this point, my family and I are safe, like most of America. Emotions are still high for some. Even as I update this post from 6 years ago its messing me up. We were and still are angry.  This celebratory event will forever be marked by the visual of a plume of smoke that symbolized the evil intent of misguided people that do not value human life and have no regard for our freedoms. 

We caught the bastards and while there are no real answers, we may never get them. The movie Patriots Day actually did an amazing job of telling the tragic story through a composite character.

On behalf of my Boston, we are proud of our city, its first responders and its people, who showed the true measure of the human spirit through powerful acts of kindness and displays of citizen courage. We are strong as a city, undivided as a country and unbowed by this attack. No terrorist will be allowed to alter our nation’s course.

Please like my Facebook Page to stay in touch and see you at the finish line!

2013 Boston Marathon: My Best Worst Day Ever

UPDATE: April 15th, 2019. Today marks the 122nd Boston Marathon. As many of my followers know, I have ran the marathon seven times, and I look forward to it every year. My charity is The Boston’s Children Hospital, and I have raised upwards of $70,000.

Training for a marathon is a taxing, physical, emotional and expensive process. For me personally, that means five cortisone shots, almost a hundred physical therapy appointments and a few arguments with my wife. Why do it? Why climb a mountain? Why be a police officer? Why be an emergency room nurse? Why detonate a bomb in a crowd of innocent people? Not sure. We all make choices others wouldn’t and we justify our decisions based on our interests, options and perspective.

Shortly after the bombings, evacuating the city, carrying my 40lb child after running 26 miles. Hurt, angered, saddened and grateful to get to my family.

Shortly after the bombings, evacuating the city, carrying my 40lb child after running 26 miles. Hurt, angered, saddened and grateful to get to my family.

For me, I just wanted to lose weight, get fit and finally give back to a charity; killing two birds with one stone, so to speak. When you’re 50 with a young family and your health and marriage are good, bills are paid and life is settled, words like “health,” “gratitude” and “grace” begin to have more meaning. And when you become a runner, you join a special club of conscious people who understand our time is limited.

So I’ve spent the past two years raising money for Boston Children’s Hospital and disciplining myself to eat better and get in the best shape I can – I want to be of value to my family in 20 years. (Plus, “abs” has been on my bucket list.)

In 2012, there was the 86-degree heat and my awful 5:32 time, but in 2013 I was on my way to run about a 4:10 (my best time ever), but was stopped at mile 26 due to some a couple terrorists’ agenda.

During the 2013 Boston Marathon, my improved time put me on Boylston Street shortly after the blasts. There were two loud bangs, and as I rounded the corner I saw the finish line through dissipating smoke. Boston police immediately corralled runners from going any farther down Boylston because it was now a volatile area and potential crime scene. At 2:52 PM I called my wife, who was at the finish line, and got no answer. A minute later, I got my dad on the phone; he was with my wife and the kids and he confirmed they were OK. I instructed him to leave ASAP, as another bomb could go off any moment. I told him to “walk down the center of the street and avoid any cars!”

But nothing was going to keep me away from them; I couldn’t just sit there and wait. In my mind, there were bombs going off between my family and myself. As a father, son and husband, the instinctual need to get your family to safety overpowers every sense of reason. I dodged a couple of police officers and ran down Boylston, the only runner on the field, putting myself in jeopardy and now also causing law enforcement to chase after me. At the 26-mile mark, I saw people on the ground, bloody and getting medical attention from the few paramedics that were on hand to take care of runners expected to be injured in more predictable, less violent ways. I made a decision to keep going. Which still doesn’t sit well. It felt like a 3D movie where the scene was pushing me back in my chair, but the sound was off. I know the scene was loud with sirens and screams, but I heard nothing.

Then I heard an angry cop (rightly so) blasting his voice in my ear before he wrestled me off the course. Eluding further apprehension, I hopped a fence and ran down a back alley behind the restaurants, bars and shops that were evacuating people through their back doors. What I saw was people—many victims who must have made their way on their own or with the assistance of others—screaming, crying and making frantic phone calls…and there was blood. Some victims I saw lost anywhere from pints to gallons; I don’t know. I just remember not wanting to run in it.

Here is a screen shot my friend took from BAA’s website of me on Boylston running on the street then onto the sidewalk near Atlantic Fish, near mile 26 and closer to the second blast. Further down I made it into the alley.

2013 finishline05102013_0000

I ended up behind the finish line and found a way to cross Boylston. I made my way to the Weston Hotel, where I found my family, scooped up my four-year-old and hiked another half mile to my vehicle. Leaving behind two vehicles, we piled nine adults and children into my Yukon and evacuated.

Out of relative danger, our attention now turned to our two children and damage control. To gauge my seven-year-old’s feelings, I calmly asked her, “Did you have fun today?” She said, “Yes, today was awesome! Until the bombs went off!” Knowing she was shaken, the radio stayed off and adults did what they could to speak in code. Note to adults who may try this: It doesn’t fool a seven-year-old.

safr.me

By this time my phone was going nuts, Facebook and Twitter were buzzing and my mother, who couldn’t get in touch with us, was in complete meltdown.

Once I got home and got the kids situated, we ordered a bunch of pizza because that’s what you do when a bomb goes off. People need to feel normal.

My mom showed up at our home shortly after we got there. She was a total mess, and after the kids saw her emotional state, they understood the gravity of the situation. Today, they are showing a tremendous amount of affection and gratitude, which seems to be a side effect of their trauma.

I posted a brief note on Facebook: “Im OK, I was on Boylston St. when it happened. I saw smoke, I saw blood and people on the ground. My family was 300 yards away, waiting for me and I got to them and evacuated from the city. More later.” And the comments and “likes” poured in.

Shortly after, I provided an update: “I was right there, bomb went off. Boston police removed everyone, I kept running toward the bombs because my family was at the finish line. Police got me off the road, I resisted then another cop almost tackled me (rightly so). I ran in the back alleys, people spilling into the alleys from the explosion, screaming, crying, blood, got my dad to get my wife and kids out of there concerned for another explosion. I’m telling it to Dr. Drew on CNN between 9:15ish and 9:30ish tonight.”

Again, comments and “likes” on my page like never before. People offering an outpouring of help and support. I never knew I had that many real friends.

I feel I have to explain the part about Dr. Drew and CNN. It may seem opportunistic, but frankly, for me, it’s therapy. I do lots of media as the expert. My network is “the media.” So when I send a blast email to raise money for charity, my network knows I’m running the Boston Marathon. When I logged into Facebook and email, the requests came in from CNN, Extra and Canadian TV, along with a few radio shows too. So I spent the evening after the run as an eyewitness. And, because it’s who I am, I gave security tips too.

My cousin, who is an Iraq and Afghanistan soldier with all kinds of rank and medals, reached out to me via Facebook and said, “I think your situation was much worse than any Middle East situation.” Which I thought odd because he’s had his best buddy blown up right next to him. Then he said, “When I deploy I’m armed, geared up and expecting to fight. You were at a peaceful gathering around families and innocent civilians, not expecting bombs. That makes it much worse.”

We accept the possibility of death and destruction when we sign our contracts. I’m sure no one who signed up for the marathon expected this.

This completely messed me up, putting into perspective just how awful this situation is.

I only slept three hours that night, on edge, emotional and fragile. The next day, I headed to the media compound near Boylston to meet with Maria Menounos from Extra, who is a Boston girl. I connected with Maria, and within two minutes we were both crying. She started talking about how she loves Boston so much, then I started crying, then she started crying…which completely messed me up. I tell you this because she told me people should know this is real and they can’t forget. She was professional, but she was real. She put me at ease and we got through the interview.

Since then I’ve done more media on this than I wished, including the Boston Globe,  Dr. Drew, Extra, Current TV, Canadian TVagain and again, Fox Boston and some radio.

In early May after the blasts, I was asked to speak to the North Eastern Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council on the benefits of social media to law enforcement and how social can help get the word out in a tragedy. When I walked into the room to speak, everyone was in uniform. What I didn’t know was many of the men and women attending were the first responders saving lives at the finish line, and others who were involved in the capture of the bombers.

That was a very emotional speech for me. Check out the Huffington Posts blog on how the Boston Police did a stellar job using Twitter during the bombing.

At this point, my family and I are safe, like most of America. Emotions are still high for some. We are sad and angry. Our hearts are heavy, knowing lives were lost, and that so many will never be the same. We are not at ease, and we all want answers. We wonder, sadly, whether this celebratory event will forever be marked by the visual of a plume of smoke that symbolized the evil intent of misguided people that do not value human life and have no regard for our freedoms.

Safr.me We caught the bastards and while there are no answers yet, and we may never get them. We must keep in mind the immediate needs of the victims and their families. On behalf of my Boston, we also must declare that we are proud of our city, its first responders and its people, who showed the true measure of the human spirit through powerful acts of kindness and displays of citizen courage. We are strong as a city, undivided as a country and unbowed by this attack. No terrorist will be allowed to alter our nation’s course.

Please like my Facebook Page to stay in touch with my marathon progress, see you at the finish line!

Perez Hilton is a Hater and Social Media Suffers

Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Expert

I was on CNN this week and CNN also featured Perez Hilton, who was hired by Donald Trump, to judge a beauty contest and Hilton made hateful remarks about Miss Californias beliefs. Perez is a hateful sardonic celebrity critic, and his actions are parallel to others who rant and hate, spew racist comments and even kill. Perez Hilton posts numerous videos of himself in the media, but he hasn’t posted this video on CNN to his site, because he knows he’s wrong. He is right now downgrading the story on his own site because of the heat is he getting.

CNN invited me to discuss the murder of a young woman who was stalked and harassed via social media, specifically YouTube and Facebook. She was eventually shot and killed in her college classroom by her stalker, who then put the gun in his own mouth.

Anyone who reads this blog does so because they are intent on improving their personal safety by way of information security. With almost 50,000 reads a month on a variety of portals, I’ve come to understand the reader a bit. You guys want and need news that’s going to help save you time and money by preventing criminals and scammers from trying to take it.

I got my legs in personal security as it pertains to violence prevention. I started doing this in 1992, teaching self defense. My background as a scrawny, greasy Italian kid growing up in the Boston area, fighting my way though life and meeting other victims along the way brought me to a place where teaching others how to protect themselves gave my life a purpose. As my business grew, I needed more technology. I also needed “merchant status,” which is the ability to accept credit cards, which led to even more technology. In the early 90s, I set up my IBM PS1 Consultant PC, Windows 3.1, 150mb hard drive, and became hooked on technology. Soon after, I was plugged into the Internet. Within weeks, my business was hacked. Thousands of dollars in orders and credit card information went out the window. Now, personal security meant self defense from a different kind of predator: identity thieves and criminal hackers.

My passion is personal security as it relates to violence and fraud prevention. It’s all encompassing. I talk about the things that mom and dad didn’t teach you. Lately, I’ve been discussing broad issues that no parent is prepared to discuss. Really, neither am I. But somebody’s go to do it.

I love technology. But it has a very dark side to it. And predators have rapidly figured that out. I’m not blaming technology for this. Just its users.

Social networking is changing the world. Everybody’s information is everywhere, and access is instant. Predators use these tools more than ever to stalk children online. Stalkers can anonymously harass and harangue women or men, and law enforcement’s hands are tied.

Anyone can post relatively anonymous rants and raves, saying anything they like with little or no repercussions. Simple online newspaper articles meant to provide information about some innocuous issue devolve into hateful rants against the author or the source, thanks to the first few comments on the thread. A single comment can lead people in this dangerous direction. Newspapers need eyeballs, so they rarely police these comments, and the public puts up with them. Hate, racism, sexism and overall ignorance permeate every online newspaper and social network. Not a day goes by that I don’t see something entirely inappropriate for public consumption.

With social media, everyone gets a say. The KKK used to be a bunch of cross burning hillbillies. Terrorists lived in caves. Militias and skinheads were small groups that held an occasional rally. Now, they have an international platform, which they use to promote their agendas and recruit believers. Lots of people have very bad things to say and it’s hurting a lot of people. Words incite. What we say leads to action. We become what we think about. If we are fed hate, we act hatefully.

Most school shooters have read the manifests of what occurred at Columbine. Many serial killers study other serial killers. Every story we read about the Craigslist Killer and others like him reveals a bag with a knife, duct tape, rope, and wire ties. They all consume this information.

Coming from a personal security perspective, I am seeing lots of bad things happening to good people. Bad things are being said and bad things are happening. Totally unacceptable and hateful rants have become acceptable, when 10 years ago those kinds of rants would have been unheard of. Let’s get this straight, I’m no puritan. I’m certainly no saint. I’ve been there, done that, and have plenty of skeletons in my closet. I’m capable of saying anything and doing almost anything, and nothing offends me. I’ve lived a hard life and danced with the devil on plenty of occasions.

The meteoric rise of Perez Hilton is a direct sign of what’s wrong with social media and web 2.0. Web 2.0 can be used for good, or for very bad. Perez Hilton is a hateful person with an agenda. He says horrible things and uses social media as a platform to distribute his agenda no differently than a terrorist. What’s worse is millions of people follow him. For him, its not “all in fun”, its hate.

We all need leaders to take charge. Everyone needs direction on some level. Perez Hilton leads a flock of misguided and lost souls. And he empowers them no differently than Hitler, Mussolini, Pol Pot, Saddam, Stalin, David Koresh or Jim Jones did.

Hurtful, hateful ranting isn’t freedom of speech. It’s irresponsible and it’s bad karma. It will only lead to hurt and hate. Its okay to have beliefs, but when those beliefs have a tonality of hate and you express hate in your words, the problem mushrooms.

I spend more energy not saying what I want to say. My mother and father taught me tact. And it’s taken a lifetime to apply it, believe me. I use social media to spread what I hope is a better message, tactfully. I hope you rise against what is happening here and spread a better word. Lead. Don’t be led.

Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Speaker discussing Hate on CNN