Written by Nancy Lee, as part of her Social Marketing Sightings theme.
Sighted on: Multiple News Channels
Social Issue: Gun Deaths & Injuries
Social Marketing Strategy: Need for Moving from Bystander to Upstander
After the announcement of the tragic shooting by an employee at a Walmart in Chesapeake, Virginia, on Tuesday, November 22nd, 2022, I watched news stories and read articles for several days. I wanted to understand the shooter’s motive, and whether a social marketing intervention might have helped reduce the likelihood or the number of injuries (6) and deaths (6) of staff members in a team meeting that the shooter was the lead for. As reported in many mass shootings, there were “red flags” the shooter displayed, noted in news reports based, in part, on interviews with surviving Walmart employees, including that he:
- Had given a “harrowing” warning that if he ever got fired from his job, he would retaliate
- Was upset about a recent change in employment status
- Indicated he was being harassed by fellow employees
- Had spoken out that he had a lot of “issues” with other staff members
- Had displayed threatening behavior in the run-up to the shooting
- Had issues with other managers at the branch
- Posted (privately) a “chilling manifesto” on his cellphone, expressing his motives
A book I am currently authoring, Reducing Gun Deaths and Injuries: A Social Marketing Approach, explores and proposes 20 social marketing strategies that citizen groups could (and have) employed that can help reduce shootings from being carried out, and/or, the number of victims killed or injured. One, potentially applicable to this mass shooting, would be to “say something” when you “see something”, to move from being a “bystander” to being an “upstander.” In this case, it would most likely need to have been “anonymous” to assuage concerns with retaliation, but there are currently products like the Sandy Hook Promise “Say Something” app, that could be helpful for downloading tips on warning signs of gun violence, and safe next steps to take.
- Yahoo!news, Rachel Sharp, “Chilling ‘manifesto’ on Walmart gunman Andre Bing’s phone reveals possible motive for Chesapeake shooting“, (November 24, 2022), accessed at https://news.yahoo.com/chilling-manifesto-walmart-gunman-andre-112753808.html