The tragedy in Tucson has captured the nation’s attention and increased the anxiety of some federal employees–everywhere from the Internal Revenue Service to the U.S. Postal Service–that they too may face the threat of violence simply by doing their jobs.
As the Washington Post chronicled last week, reported attacks on federal employees are on the rise. The Department of Justice has already filed charges against 84 defendants this year, and there were 320 cases during 2010. There are countless other cases where federal employees have faced hostile and upsetting encounters with the public that either have gone unreported or have not resulted in law enforcement involvement.
Fortunately, given the size of the federal workforce and its geographic dispersion, incidents of workplace violence are actually quite rare. However, violent attacks and threats have occurred–and they can be frightening to our public servants who are working on our behalf each and every day.
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