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California Sees Another Mass Workplace Shooting

In late May 2021, an employee of the Valley Transportation Authority in San Jose, California opened fire on nine of his former co-workers before killing himself. According to data from Everytown for Gun Safety, there have been 37 workplace shootings since 2009; five of those events occurred in just the last 10 weeks. Some individuals studying workplace violence believe the spike is a result of the pandemic, that fragile populations feel less inhibited as restrictions are relaxed. From 1986 until 2011, a quarter of all mass workplace shootings happened in California per researchers at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. It is the deadliest state for workplace mass homicides.

Speaking to the Los Angeles Times, a John Jay professor asserted the shooter in this latest devastating incident fit a pattern. He was a “disgruntled worker” who had given lots of signals that he was dissatisfied with his life. He had been making specific threats about killing for quite some time, but his threats were ignored. His ex-wife told reporters he had been talking about killing people at work for over a decade. He clearly executed a plan, bringing an arsenal of weapons with him to the yard. The John Jay professor noted this shooter fit the stereotype of the loner male who may have been bullied or disciplined in the workplace. Workplace shooters are almost always male.

President Biden responded by encouraging Congress to take immediate action to help end the epidemic of gun violence.