Editorial: Knowledge is Power — and a Whole Lot More
I’ve been thinking a lot about a mandatory course I took a decade (or so) ago at a previous job. There had been a rather horrific workplace shooting and it rattled everyone. At that time, shootings like these were a rarity, but my employer thought it was prudent to have everyone attend a training about how to protect yourself and work with law enforcement in case something happened. It was led by a former police officer and was very thorough.
To say it was sobering is an understatement.
Fast forward to 2023, and workplace and mass shootings are seemingly commonplace. In this instance, I’m using the definition used by the Gun Violence Archive, which has been documenting mass-shooting incidents since 2014. A “mass shooting” is one in which four or more people, excluding the shooter, are shot or killed in a single incident.
If we use that definition, the U.S. saw an average of 22 mass-shooting incidents in January alone from 2014 to 2019. In 2020, the number was 25. In 2021 and 2022, the end-of-January average was 33 incidents.
As of January 24, 2023, the Gun Violence Archive had already tallied 40 incidents for the year — 21% higher than the previous two years.
Looking at the number of fatalities each year, the pattern is similar, reports the Washington Post. “From 2014 to 2020, the average number of deaths in mass-shooting incidents by the end of January was 31. In 2021 and 2022, it was 37. So far this year, 73 people have been killed in such incidents.”
Those numbers, likewise, are sobering.
In light of the trends we’re already seeing, one of the obvious questions is: How can I empower my employees so they have a better chance of survival if it happens here?
It’s saddening that we must think that way. In the pages of this issue, we look ahead to what the business climate will be in 2023. Considering the statistics above, should employee safety and security also be at the top of your list of priorities this year?
There are a number of resources online that can help you educate yourself — and your employees. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security offers the Ready.gov website,and which is a great resource to help you deal with all sorts of disasters and emergencies. The FBI has a page offering safety resources (fbi.gov/how-we-can-help-you/safety-resources/active-shooter-safety-resources). The Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) also offers products, tools, and resources to help you prepare for and respond to an active shooter incident (cisa.gov/active-shooter-preparedness).
In an 1817 letter to George Ticknor, Thomas Jefferson said, “…that knowledge is power, that knowledge is safety, and that knowledge is happiness.” In this instance, I think those words still ring true today.
Denise M. Gustavson, Editor-in-Chief
With 20 years of experience in the visual communication markets, Gustavson has in-depth knowledge of the issues, challenges and technologies of the industry. Reader feedback is always encouraged. firstname.lastname@example.org
Denise Gustavson is the Editorial Director and Special Projects Editor for the Printing & Packaging Group, which includes Printing Impressions, packagePRINTING, In-plant Graphics and Wide-Format Impressions magazines, among other brands. She is also the Editor-in-Chief of Wide-Format Impressions.