For Your Own Safety

Katherine Nixon is dead, for her own safety.

Afraid of a co-worker’s potential for violence, she voiced that concern to her husband the night before she died, and told him she wanted to take a gun to work.

Dead, for her own safety.

She was forced by policy to work in a so-called “gun free zone.” As a utilities engineer for the City of Virginia Beach, she was forbidden to bring a gun into the building where she worked…as was her murderer. And I am quite confident that the managers of that organization told her (and the other 11 victims of the May 31st shooting there) that the reason for the policy was “safety.”

For your own safety.

If Katherine Nixon had argued this policy with them, they would have lied to her. They would have told her that allowing employees to bring guns to work was not safe. They would have told her that in the event of a workplace shooting, her having a gun would only make things worse. Worse than what?

This is the lie that managers tell employees (and themselves) every day in this country. Despite readily available data to the contrary, they continue to insist that denying citizens the most effective and easy-to-use self-defense tool available somehow makes them safer. Don’t you believe them.

The only ones made safer by policies like these are the managers and the organizations which employ them. As I have written before, these policies are meant to protect the organization from liability, rather than the lives of the human beings who work there. Organizations don’t see employees like Katherine Nixon as real people, with real lives…precious lives worth defending. They are “resources,” and resources can be replaced. You are the “R” in your company’s “HR” department, after all.

Job postings for Utilities Engineer with the City of Virginia Beach as of June 13, 2019

Jason Nixon has retained an attorney, hoping to force some answers and accountability from the city. My cynical side fears he will have little success, however, as the court system has been extremely reluctant to assign any liability to organizations which enact no-gun policies…even while they fail to protect the lives of the people who work there.

Very few states have any sort of law on the books assigning liability to organizations which disarm their people, or even grant immunity to organizations which allow the choice to go legally armed on their premises. This needs to change.

But I do hope that Jason Nixon’s revelation of Katherine’s fears in her final hours might inspire some change in the way the legal system and our lawmakers look at “gun free zones,” and start shifting the calculus of risk-averse managers.

No one should die defenseless…for their own safety.