Going Postal: Rage, Murder and Rebellion: From Regan’s Workplace to Clinton’s Columbine and Beyond

Going Postal. Everyone knows the term. When a disgruntled employee returns to work and starts shooting everyone in sight. Going Postal is a look at the history of workplace shootings that first occurred during the ’80s first in the blue-collar arena like post offices, then gradually to the corporate world and most recently to high schools like Columbine in the mid ’90s. The author Mark Ames looks at these rage murders and sees that it is more than just a nervous breakdown, but a social breakdown. Ames cites the Regan reign as a difficult time that led to job insecurity and a greater divide between the rich and poor. Ames provides more than just the headline you would read in a newspaper but an explanation. He shows the rampage murderer in a different light–who they were and what they went through before they went postal–sufferers of the system. His insight gives you a whole new perspective and understanding of the work culture problem. Today it’s poor working conditions: longer hours, job insecurity, reduced workspace, untaken vacation days, underpaid workers, and overpaid CEOs and bullying from management. As for the newer emergence of school shootings, Ames looks beyond the often-simple explanations of poor parenting and pop culture trends like Marilyn Manson and the Matrix. Instead he sees the school system as the root problem. The pressure of competing for scholarships, the bullying and the tolerance of the bullying, is surprising. What’s more surprising still is it continues today, and is not reported in the news. “Perhaps because after 9/11 middle- American kids plotting and shooting their schools up just didn’t fit into our new way of seeing things. Only Islamic extremists do that now.” Going Postal is packed with details and insights that are often not explored by mainstream media outlets that look for quick answers. This book is critical for an overworked society that doesn’t even realize why it’s working so hard in the first place. (Andrea Nene)

Non-fiction, 280 pgs,by Mark Ames, issue, $15.95, Soft Skull Press, 55 Washington St, Ste 804, Brooklyn, NY 11201, softskull.com

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