EDITORIAL - A tragedy that could have been prevented
by DM Editorial Board
July 09, 2003
Our View - Doug Williams' shooting spree in Meridian could
have been prevented.
A lesson should be taken from Tuesday's shooting spree at
Lockheed Martin's Meridian plant. Doug Williams was known by his
coworkers as a staunch racist. He repeatedly made racial threats
against black workers at the plant.
He was clearly unstable.
So perhaps what's even more tragic than the families that lost
mothers, fathers, sons and daughters is the fact that gunman Doug
Williams' killing spree likely could have been prevented.
This is a man who bragged to line-mates about his desire to kill
people, telling one, according to The Clarion-Ledger, that he knew
he was "capable of doing it."
Some Lockheed Martin workers even said Williams was the first
person to come to mind when they'd heard what had happened in the
morning hours Tuesday.
Clearly, the warning signs for disaster were present in Meridian,
yet appropriate measures were never taken to report or stop the
harassment Williams was inflicting on some of his coworkers.
Instead, he remained employed by the plant; and security was so lax,
Williams was able to sneak a small arsenal in to act out his sick
A man in camouflage bearing a shotgun and a rifle and allowed to
walk right into a factory run by the nation's largest defense
contractor is outrageous and unacceptable.
Threats of murder or destruction, no matter how innocently
intended, have no place in today's society.
The only real solution is to turn to a zero-tolerance policy on
anything that can be construed as a threat on someone's life.
It's the same painful lesson we learned after the Pearl, Paducah
and Columbine school killings. It's the same painful lesson we
learned after the Sept. 11 attacks. It should have been applied to
the workplace environment long ago.
Mississippians continue to fight the racist stereotype with which
they are commonly tagged. It is discouraging for the rest of the
country to assume this racist behavior serves as an accurate
depiction of the views of all Mississippi citizens, when in fact it
It's just that: extreme.
The DM Editorial Board is composed of Editor Laura Houston,
Managing Editor Suzanne McKay, English major Joel Moore and Online
Editor Joy Douglas.