“Going postal,” and “murder by proxy” – a mirror reflection of our society

This documentary about the phenomenon of “going postal” and other mass shootings breaks my heart as I watch it. Having worked at the Postal Service for 33 years, it’s hard to face… Nonetheless, I would like to encourage everyone – postal workers, friends, family, the general public, managers, supervisors, policy makers and politicians – to watch “Murder by Proxy: How America Went Postal” from beginning to end. It gives a clear picture of the dysfunctional, difficult work environment at the United States Postal Service and how it affects workers – and sometimes can pushes certain employees to the edge of their rope. This documentary focuses in particular on the Thomas McIlvane postal shooting in Royal Oak, Michigan on November 14, 1991 and examines the aftermath of the shooting, as political leaders and the community try to rebuild their lives and discuss the problems that led to the shooting. The documentary gives voice to workers experiences and it raises important questions about how the work environment and a harsh management system can subsume postal employees. It is hard for the community that knew him – particularly postal workers – to grapple with the shootings, while also understanding the very human pressures that McIlvane was facing and the terrible treatment he received from management. But we also have to ask some general questions about all mass shootings – like Columbine and Virginia Tech – and how they effect our society as a whole.  This documentary is a good start.

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