Nobody knows where and when the next mass murder may occur. Contrary to postal propaganda, the killers are not drug-crazed psychotics, but hard-working, caring employees who, under what the Postal Service considers its "right to mismanage," had their work ethic used against them by a top heavy bureaucracy that feeds unappreciatively off the fruits of labor. Postal supervisors regularly stalk their intended victims in packs, striking from all sides without warning, using unethical tactics no longer utilized in private industry. The cornered worker naively seeks redress from the grievance procedure and, upon finding the system to be corrupt, goes down fighting - most often in the courts, but sometimes by the desperate means which have come to be known as "going postal."

The names of dismissed employees are sent to the Office of Personnel Management in Washington, D.C. where they are put on a special blacklist. Of major American employers, including the federal government, only the Postal Service discriminates against veterans and systematically terminates loyal employees with long service.

I want people to understand that these shooters were normal people who were pushed over the edge by ruthless administrators. None of them had criminal records and most put a gun to their own head when they realized what they had done. The USPS was a knowing accomplice to these murders. The honchos at USPS national headquarters at L' Infante Plaza in Washington, D.C., did everything short of pulling the trigger and were well aware of where pushing the envelope would get them.

For every murder by a postal employee, it is estimated that there are five suicides. Most employees internalize their problems, blaming themselves while searching for a viable solution which, in the "Catch 22" workplace regimen instrumented by postal administrators, far too often does not exist. The ultimate indictment against the criminals who run the postal monopoly is that they use up and discard the very best - a horrible, unconscionable waste of humanity.

I worked as a "leg man" (a letter carrier who legs other carrier's routes while they stay inside sorting mail) for 11 years, striding six or seven miles a day with 50 to 60 pounds of mail on my back - a human mule delivering weighty junk mail circulars to people who would rather not have them. My labor bore bitter fruit. My arches have fallen, I have hammer toes, and my right knee gives me trouble. Although I cannot condone their actions, I do understand the pain and frustration that made a number of my fellow workers go postal. In my heart I know that there but for the grace of God go I.

Americans who honorably served their country during wartime are being unjustifiably labled as unemployable by the United States Postal Service. Those who work hard to get ahead are finding that it gets them nowhere. What was once an excellent job for a career-oriented family person has become a fear-ridden nightmare.

Are the purges official? The Postal Service is a "top down" quasi-military operation. Discrimination against any grouping of employees is impossible without the knowledge and approval of the Postmaster General. The mass murders will end when the Postal Service drops its policy of continually pushing the envelope. Those who push run the risk of it escalating to shove.

Not content with intimidating employees, the Postmaster General has taken to threatening Congress as well.  Contending that he needs a freer hand in raising postage rates in order to counter $1.7 billion in losses for fiscal 2001, Postmaster General John Potter says that if Congress doesn't allow him to get his way, the guarantee of mail delivery to every part of America at the same rate may come to an end.  Either they let him take "bold actions" such as post office closings and suspension of Saturday delivery or "the universal [mail] service we rely on will be in jeopardy."

What further evidence is needed to prove that the United States Postal Service regards its hourly workers as expendable second class hired hands than the death of Robert Morris Jr. from anthrax. Morris, age 55, was working at the Brentwood processing center in Washington, D.C., when a woman next to him found a letter with powder in it on October 13, 2001, two days before Senate Democratic Majority Leader Tom Daschle received a letter containing anthrax that had been processed through the Brentwood facility.  On October 16, Morris began feeling achy and having headaches.  Suspicious, he went to his doctor on October 18 for a throat culture but never received the results.  "I guess there was some hang-up over the weekend.  I'm not sure," he said later.  "The doctor thought that it was just a virus or something."  In desperation Morris finally dialed 911 on October 21, a Sunday, minutes after he began vomiting.   Morris told the dispatcher that postal officials had issued a bulletin describing anthrax symptoms and that his symptoms matched them "almost to a T."  An ambulance was dispatched to take Morris to the hospital, but it arrived too late.  "They never let us know whether this thing was anthrax or not," Morris had confided to the emergency dispatcher.  He said he had placed calls to postal officials but to no avail.

When the anthrax scare started, members of Congress and media celebrities got tested right away.  Two postal workers - Joseph P. Curseen Jr. and Thomas L. Morris Jr. - had to die before Postmaster General John E. Potter got moving.  When asked by a reporter why the Postal Service hadn't begun treating postal employees sooner, Deputy Postmaster General John Nolan snapped, "We don't need you all to cause us to second-guess."  You would think that this would have cost him his job.  But it didn't.

We can't bring back Morris or Curseen or the hundreds of other men and women in uniform who died needlessly because their overseers thought of them as wage slaves - good enough to sweat like pack animals to get out the mail, but not good enough to be treated like they were family.  What we can do - and what I urge you to do - is to write Congress and tell them that the Postal Service needs to be completely overhauled, starting at the top.  The Deputy Postmaster General says, "we don't need you all" and by God we surely don't need anyone like him.

This article was taken from Chapter 15 of Bushwhacked by Fred Dungan.  To get the complete story click here.
write to the author Me or the Postmaster General or the Merit Systems Protection Board

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One Flew Over the Post Office United States Postal Service
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For in-depth research, information on recent postal slayings, and a more objective view than my own, read Going Postal by Don Lasseter (Pinnacle Books, Kensington Publishing Corporation, New York, 1997, 304 pages). The Foreward features a particularly scathing indictment of the Postal Service's attitude towards the press.

The vast majority of postal workers are honest, hard-working individuals who do their utmost best to provide prompt, courteous service to the public, despite less-than-perfect working conditions. It was an honor to have served with them.

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This page last modified on November 27, 2002.