Friday, November 22, 2013

Who is threatening to bomb Wal-Mart and why?

Wal-mart has been getting hundreds if not thousands of bomb threats for years, yet once in a while when people hear about them they often get the impression that this is something new.

One of the most common times for these bomb threats might be during the holiday season although that isn't always the case; however as I begin writing this bomb threats have been reported in Florida, Maine, Connecticut and Idaho. This might be slightly higher than normal but not much. The reporting of these threats is much lower profile and it has been for years; they only seem to report them briefly in the areas that they occur without mentioning that they're also happening in other areas as well.

So one important question that should also be answered is; are the police and the media reporting them properly? It might be reasonable to respond that they don't want the public to panic and that the vast majority of them are false threats. However there have been at least half a dozen actual explosions over the years and they have causes several hospitalizations and thousands of dollars of damages. The cost of evacuation for the false ones are almost certainly more than the cost of the real ones. And there have also been numerous examples where there have been explosive devices that didn't go off, either because they haven't been competent or they were lucky enough to catch them first.

If you consider the number of people that have died as a result of this as the leading measurement it isn't nearly as serious as problems with shootings or many other things at Wal-Mart including people that have died in stampedes during black Friday riots. As far as I know no one has died as a result of the few bombs that have actually gone off and some of them aren't much more powerful than firecrackers; but the fear factor is higher and one single incident could increase the deaths much faster if it does turn out to be real.

If this is the case then it might also be reasonable to investigate them and find out what social causes might be contributing to them. If this is done than a better effort could be made to prevent them. With limited resources I have already found what I consider potential contributing causes to some of them that can be prevented without waiting for the last minute.

Unfortunately investigating them and learning from them isn't what those with political power seem to have in mind.

Many of the people making these bombs and threats almost certainly have the same problems that perpetrators of other types of violence do which is why I have no doubt that addressing the early root causes of violence would reduce this type of crime as well ass any other as I attempted to explain in Does child abuse and bullying lead to more violence? and Child abuse and bullying link in study long over due. As indicated in these posts I believe there is an enormous amount of evidence from credible peer reviewed researchers to indicate that by reducing child abuse long term crime can be dramatically reduced.

Unfortunately the mainstream media isn't reporting on this properly either, nor is the political establishment; fortunately some academics and people at the grass roots level are doing better.

However that doesn't address this specific problem and there are some other major contributing factors that will almost certainly turn up with a closer look. Part of this would be helped by the fact that many of the people calling in these threats have already been caught and they indicate certain trends which the police must already be aware of. Unfortunately the most effective way to prevent them might not be the jurisdiction of the police, unless we continue to wait until the last minute before trying to prevent them, which will inevitably fail.

If past tactics were effective then they would have succeeded by now.

Almost five years ago a California police officer said that he thought Wal-Mart Bomb Threats might be Part of National Movement (02/20/2009); however based on the arrests that have been reported on the internet it doesn't seem as if the vast majority are part of a single movement. Instead it is usually a single individual that often calls them in or in some cases calls in many. there may be social causes to this that repeat themselves over and over again which could be addressed but there doesn't appear to be a single conspiracy although there could be some Small conspiracies for some of them.

Earlier this month an incident occurred in Oklahoma involving a man that had what looked like an explosive devise and had doused himself with flammable liquids. It didn't turn out to be a bomb but it still could have started a fire and done a lot of damage. This was only reported in a low profile manner but a closer look at the story indicates that they could just as easily have turned it into as high a profile story as the incompetent Time Square bombing attempt which was also a useless bomb but they turned it into a national obsession. Not that I think they should have overblown this anymore than they should with the Time Square bombing but it shows the priorities of the chimerical media, as indicated in the following excerpt.

Suspect in possible Walmart bomb threat in custody 11/08/2013

CHICKASHA — The Oklahoma Highway Patrol has given the all clear regarding a vehicle at the Chickasha Walmart, which had suspicious wiring. 

Chickasha Police Chief Eddie Adamson said a suspect was taken into custody regarding the incident.

"He said he was there to commit suicide and blow himself up," said Adamson.

No explosive device was found in the truck, according to Adamson.

CPD released a statement about the incident at 12:50 p.m identifying the suspect as Micahel Brown (42).

"It is believed that the suspect had doused himself with gasoline or other flammable liquid prior to officers arriving," the released states. "The suspect had an address in Ponca City and had arrests for DUI and Vandalism in that area but upon further investigation it is believed that the suspect had been living in Chickasha, but was now homeless and living in his vehicle in the Chickasha area."  Complete article

This man turned out to be homeless and possibly had problems with mental illness. He isn't the only one in this situation that has either been involved in bomb threats or other incidents including shootings and kidnappings. Yet there is little competent efforts to address the problems with either homeless or mental illnesses. Instead the government continues to cater to business interests preserving corporate welfare while cutting programs to help those at risk of becoming offenders. Not that this would be an excuse for bomb threats but when we have an economic system that isn't serving a growing percentage of the people due to corporate corruption it makes these types of incidents more likely.

A lot of the other people that call in bomb threats or make them in other manners are Wal-Mart employees. This shouldn't be implied that there is a problem with all Wal-Mart employees however it should raise questions about their hiring practices and there is plenty of indications that many of these people might be retaliating against what they consider abusive behavior by their employers. It is easy to conclude that this is no excuse and it may be true but when employees have a lot of legitimate concerns and they can't get them addressed through normal means it makes this type of incident more likely.

When employees express their concerns in legitimate ways then they should be addressed because they are legitimate concerns not because they might increase the risk of bomb threats; however when they also increase the risk of bomb threats they shouldn't use this as an excuse not to address the concerns of those that express their complaints properly. Then people with grievances may be less likely to feel they have to resort to extreme measures as an added benefit.

Another problem that should be considered is the possibility that when they fire people that take the initiative to stand up for their rights in retaliation, they might be getting rid of some of their best workers and, in some cases, keeping the worst or convincing them to suppress their complaints and any anger they might feel towards their employers. The people in the corporate office that make policy decisions seem to have little or no idea how they might be impacting people in the stores.

At least two incidents in Reno Nevada make it clear that some of these are the result of disgruntled workers including the following story.

He Means It: Disgruntled Walmart Employee Threatens To Shoot Boss, Plant Bomb. 11/08/2013

After being scolded for taking a two-hour lunch break, Reno police said a Kietzke Lane Walmart employee told co-workers if he were to be fired for it, he would “do it better than John.”

Justin Robert Wilt’s alleged comments referred to former store employee John Gillane, who is now serving a 96-year prison term for a Oct. 29, 2010, non-fatal shooting rampage at the store. Gillane, who feared being fired and disliked his bosses, shot three supervisors.

Reno police were called to the store Wednesday afternoon because Wilt, 31, was going to be fired and had threatened the day before to shoot his boss and plant a bomb, according to a police report.

Concerned employees had told managers Wednesday about the threats they said he made on Feb. 13 after being scolded for taking an unapproved two-hour lunch break.

After the conversation with his boss, he told witnesses he was tired of being treated poorly by management and if he got fired he was going to shoot people inside the store and do a better job than “John,” according to a report. He allegedly told co-workers he was going to shoot his supervisor who spoke with him about his extended lunch and would plant a bomb inside the store. Complete article

The story of John Gillane is told in "John Gillane found guilty but What about Wal-Mart?" 12/14/2011 Wal-Mart spokesman Dan Fogleman said “We want to be diligent about protecting the safety of the employees and the store, especially after what happened in the past;” however there is little or no sign that they seem to believe that their own practices help create a hostile work environment.

Many of the people constantly protesting Wal-Mart clearly disagree.

Whether they acknowledge the potential for their oppressive actions to contribute to backlash or not they could reduce the potential threat from disgruntled workers if they were more likely to address their concerns and the current protest could provide them an opportunity to do just that.

Their policies aren't just angering the employees that have to put up with their policies but they're also angering a lot of customers as well. Despite an enormous amount of propaganda about how Wal-Mart is "saving low income people a lot of money" many people know better. They have cut their prices in many cases by cutting manufacturing expenses dramatically and this has led to lower quality products which often have to be replaced much more often than they used to and it also leads to a lot more defective products that are broken right out of the package.

This means that a lot of people have to go out of their way to return them or just accept the loss. The vasts majority of these people deal with this reasonably but like the small minority of disgruntled employees some of them strike out in anger once in a while and one of the ways they might do this is to call in a bomb threat. Or in a few cases they might just start yelling bomb in person, which inevitably leads to them getting caught.

Whether it is a disgruntled employee or disgruntled customer that resorts to extreme measures there is almost always other contributing factors that can be pointed to that aren't Wal-Mart's responsibility; this often involves problems in their upbringing as I indicated previously. However to put all the blame on that would be inappropriate, since there is an enormous amount of evidence to indicate that Wal-Mart's policies are also contributing as well.

Even if they did blame other contributing factors, in many cases, it is the same politicians and propagandists that are arguing to cut funds to social programs that would help prevent them from creating more violent adults including programs that reduce child abuse before it escalates. This would be much less expensive than spending an enormous amount of money on prisons after these abused children grow up and turn out to be as violent as their abusers.

Wal-Mart didn't gain their dominant position in the m,market solely by being competitive; they gained it largely due to their enormous wealth and political connections that helped them get many subsidies and bankrupt their competition. Once they dominate a market they stop trying to cater to the wishes of their customers as much and take them for granted. This inevitably leads to problems of one sort or another.

One of these problems are an enormous number of angry people calling in bomb threats; and they obviously aren't deterred by the threat of punishment which clearly doesn't apply to those with political connections. In many cases they are even suicidal.

The people that make these decisions in the corporate office don't even seem to want to know about the results of their decisions. Our elected officials have pulled a bait and switch over the past thirty or forty years; they told us that we should watch out for the communist menace that makes decisions in a centralized authoritarian government bureaucracy then they gave us a centralized authoritarian corporate bureaucracy without acknowledging the results of their policies in the stores, or the factories for that matter.

The following are some bombs that have actually gone off.

Homemade bomb explodes at Ohio Wal-Mart 01/19/2006

Teens Charged With Setting Off Bombs in Maine Wal-Mart 11/26/2006

Five people were injured in an explosion at a Wal-Mart in Sylva, NC which is west of Asheville. 09/26/2007

Explosive Device Discovered at a Boone NC Wal-Mart 07/20/2008

Homemade bomb explodes at Maryland Wal-Mart 03/16/2009

Two Arrested in “MacGyver Bomb” Incident at Woodman’s in Rockford Ill. 07/23/2010

HPD: Homemade bomb explodes at southwest Houston Walmart 11/04/2010

"Buck Bomb" at Chambersburg Pa. Wal-Mart causes $12,840 in damage 10/10/2012

Police: Exploding chemical bomb at Wichita Wal-Mart may have been a diversion tactic for theft 01/17/2013

Update at 9:30 p.m.: Blast heard at West Monroe Louisiana Walmart 04/17/2013

Two Men Arrested in Connection with Explosive Devices in Camden Del. Walmart 10/23/2013

The following are incidents where they found bombs that weren't made properly and never posed a threat; however they didn't know this until after the fact in most cases.

Nevada Walmart evacuated over suspicious device 11/07/2010

Birmingham police explode package at Roebuck Wal-Mart 11/26/2011

Arizona Walmart associate arrested in fake bomb scare 12/14/2011

Bomb squad called to Beaufort SC Walmart after suspicious objects found in vehicles 04/09/2013

Altus Airman Arrested For Allegedly Stockpiling Bomb-Making Materials 10/24/2013 Carey said he could use explosives at Walmart to "tie up" law enforcement and other city resources. .... they found bomb-making materials.

The following is a long list of the many people that have been caught in these bomb scares; it isn't enough to be statistically representative, especially since it doesn't screen out those that more effectively avoid being traced and it is based on often erratic reporting by the media.

Man arrested for bomb threat at Russellville Ark. Wal-Mart 12/17/2008

Lusby Md. Woman Arrested for Wal-Mart Bomb Threats 02/21/2009

Wal Mart bomb threat suspect arrested in El Dorado County 08/17/2010

Former mall employee charged with bomb threats at West Park Mo. Mall, Jackson Walmart 06/27/2010

Man threatens to kill people at Walmart: Second incident at Old Saybrook Conn. store in 2 days 10/14/2010

Daniel Larson charged with making bomb threats in Green Bay Wisc. area 04/01/2012

Golden Meadow La. employee arrested for calling in bomb threat to Wal-Mart 05/19/2011 "so he wouldn’t have to do participate in some of his job duties"

You Can't Say 'Bomb' In a New Ulm Minn. Wal-Mart 06/20/2012

Nampa Id. store employee charged for fake Walmart bomb threat 09/12/2012

Slidell Police Department books man with causing Walmart bomb scare 07/07/2012 "I think it's safe to say that Mr. Hamilton will probably lose his opportunity to work for Walmart," Seuzeneau said

Suspect Arrested In Ca. Walmart Bomb Threat 08/02/2012

Employee Arrested for Making Bomb Threats at Copperas Cove Tx Wal-Mart 08/15/2012

Walmart Bomb Threat Suspect Arrested 10/09/2012

Man charged with making terrorist threats at Gulf Shores Ala. Walmart 11/01/2012

Man accused of bomb threat at NC Walmart 01/16/2013

Two youth charged after Strathmore Canada Walmart bomb threat 01/23/2013

UPDATE: Suspect arrested after bomb threat made at Calcutta Ohio Walmart 04/09/2013

Cops: Portage Ind. man arrested after making bomb threats at Walmart 04/25/2013

Walmart bomb threat suspect says he has schizophrenia 05/03/2013

Police: Man made fake bomb threats outside Fla. Walmart 06/02/2013

Man Threatened to Bomb Willow Grove Pa. Walmart, Police Say 06/27/2013

Police charge man in Russellville Ark. Wal-Mart bomb threat 07/06/2013 "scared patrons with a disparaging remark about Walmart"

Police Arrest Walmart Or. Bomb Threat Caller 07/10/2013

False Bomb Threat Gets San Pedro Man in Jail 07/25/2013

Employee charged in connection with Ky. Walmart bomb threat 08/03/2013 "as a joke"

Bomb threat strikes Minn. Walmart 08/08/2013

Bomb threats in Utah could be part of national scam 09/18/2013

Man threatens to blow up New Iberia La. Wal-Mart, leaves on pink bike 09/20/2013

Man Jailed After Police Said He Threatened To Blow Up Beckley WV Walmart 09/22/2013

UPDATE: Arrest made following bomb threat at Va. Walmart 10/13/2013

Man issues bomb threat in Russellville ark. Wal-Mart 11/15/2013

These are related stories as well.

Black Friday bomb threat clears East Stroudsburg Pa. Wal-Mart 11/29/2008

Bomb threats called into Utah pharmacies including Wal-Mart 09/18/2013

Police Believe Walmart Bomb Threats are Connected 07/30/2012

Wal-Mart Stays Open During Bomb Scare 12/28/2006

Ikea bomber: vendetta campaigns 06/15/2011

Psst one other thing, for you, no not most of you, just the FBI or NSA agent that is surely checking this post. Is this really the way you want to handle the problem with bomb threats at Wal-Mart?

Wouldn't it be better to share some of your data with sociologists and psychologists that are sincerely interested in finding out how to solve problems? Then if the commercial media continues to try to report on accurate research at least you could share it with alternative media outlets.

Also some of these protestors that you investigate and even arrest for trivial charges are actually trying to implement reforms so that these problems can be solved. Maybe that isn't the best way of handling things.

I'm sure you wouldn't sell out but the people that give you orders might and keep in mind in past authoritarian purges like in the Soviet Union those who carried out the early purges were often victims of the later ones even when they did follow orders.

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