Magazine article Insight on the News

Yet Another Reason for `Going Taxpayer'

Magazine article Insight on the News

Yet Another Reason for `Going Taxpayer'

Article excerpt

Some cases of government waste just make this columnist go nuts -- sometimes so nuts that I think I might just snap and reach in blind fury for my assault-style, semiautomatic word processor and start blowing people away, willy-nilly, with hollow-point rhetoric delivered with maximum force. The latest dispatch from the U.S. Postal Service is a good example.

The Postal Service, apparently seeking to burnish its image, spent $4 million of taxpayers' money on a two-year "study" proving that its employees aren't all demented malcontents with an ax to grind and an arsenal stashed inside their lumpy blue cardigans just waiting for an excuse to mow the world down. After reading about the study, I was seething, itching to let someone have it with both barrels as the taxpayer's avenger.

And I wouldn't be placated by the study's statistical proof that "going postal" is just a morbid urban legend. In fact, it says postal workers are no more likely to be murdered on the job than taxi drivers or mini-mart clerks working midnights. Of 6,719 workplace homicides from 1992 to 1998, according to the report, a mere 16 were postal employees -- though nine died courtesy of current or former postal colleagues. The study failed, however, to present statistics of how many workplace killings were cabbie-on-cabbie, or convenience-store clerk-on-convenience-store clerk (which really would be more to the point). And its statistical snapshot conveniently leaves out 1986, when a letter carrier in Oklahoma killed 14 colleagues and himself, and 1991, when a postal employee in Michigan killed four coworkers before turning the gun on himself. …

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