A Dangerous Profession?

7 Feb

Three are dead following a shooting during a Phoenix mediation at a lawyer’s office last Wednesday, Jan. 30th. Now, there’s a sentence I never thought I would write.

According to police, 70 year-old Arthur Douglas Harmon shot and killed 48 year-old Steve Singer and his attorney, 43 year-old Mark Hummels, toward the end of the mediation to end a lawsuit. The lawsuit centered around a dispute about faulty office cubicles. Later, Harmon shot and killed himself.

It’s a stark reminder of the desperation that will sometimes find its way into a mediation–or any dispute, for that matter. When people feel they don’t have a way out, they are at risk of doing something violent or harmful. And, when people feel their lives will be ruined–either financially or otherwise–they are also at risk of harm.

Let’s all keep that in mind and remind ourselves that we are dealing with emotions–and, sometimes, emotionally unstable people. That’s why it’s important to book that room in the library or courthouse if you feel you may be at risk. Find somewhere with a metal detector. Whatever barriers you can put between you and violence, look for them.

So, prayers for those who were killed–and caution for mediators, attorneys, and anyone who deals with disputes. Don’t rely on luck to keep you safe.




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