To summarize the encounter...
I am a field service technician for a concrete paving company. I often work alone in isolated areas. Company "Verbal" policy is no weapons (not in print in our employee handbook). I obey the law, and disregard work policy in matters of my personal safety, ergo I carry all day, every day.
For the last year and a half, my company has either had a bad stretch of poor choices in hiring, has gone willy-nilly firing red-hats (managers, foreman, supervisors...) or going old school and making life so miserable that they quit.
Thursday I was talking to one of the dirt crew foreman who was on his last couple of days since putting in his notice. He was one of those that had their life made miserable & quit. I noticed a couple of shotgun shells in the back of his pickup and jokingly said, "Have you been taking shots at the low flying geese?"
His response - "Nah. I always have a gun though. The shotgun is not in there, but I always have my pistol. Screw what (safety manager) said at the meeting. I always carry it. These days, you never know."
Whoa. That threw me in condition red. I knew that he had a short fuse, a bit short with people, and does not respond well to people touching him (found out when he was about to walk in front of a heavy equipment tire that had a genuine possibility of explosion and launching the lock ring a mile or so out into a field. I grabbed his coat arm as he was walking past me). Fits too many points of the criteria for a disgruntled employee.
Friday, and I suspect for the next month or so at least I will be in Cond. orange at work.
Did I or will I report him. Probably not. The points he met for disgruntled employee also fit those of a person that is not a people person. A person that acknowledges the need to take responsibility for personal safety. A person that is being pushed to quit instead of termination (I'd be bitter too).
I don't know him well enough to pass that kind of judgment on a person. I see no need to throw him under the buss, and bring unnecessary attention to the "unwritten rule" on weapons.
I thought he was a fool for openly saying that, not sure what his intent was, besides, what are they (office dwellers) going to do if they find out. Fire him? I said nothing about CCW or even perused the conversation. I just said "It's a tool. It's not a weapon unless there is intent."...Quoting what the safety manager said regarding knives at work.
We talked for a few minuets more about work and his justification for quitting. I agreed that if what he says is true, it was pretty CS of the company to do that. Not my call. Put me at ease a little about him, but once you get that button pushed, the alarm does not reset for a while.
I have 2.5 years of carrying every day at work, I have never been involved in any altercation with another coworker, or even a heated argument. If I ever get called on the carpet for carrying, my first response will be "Well, nothing has happened in the last x.x years that I have had it on me every day. Have not been involved anything even remotely close to workplace violence. What's changed? I have not broken any state or federal laws, unlike the long list of employees that have and broken policy and laws of consumption of alcohol and operation of company vehicles, where you seem to turn a blind eye to those that hit cooler on the job site, or the bar after work. They may be on their own time, but in a company vehicle, they are still representing the company, and you will find yourself liable in civil court.
How many red hats with DUIs do we have? How many trucks have been wrecked? It's OK for them drink and put the public at risk on their way home/to their hotel, but I can't posses the means for my personal safety since neither you or the police will do that for me?
I am one of maybe a hand full of employees with NO criminal history, let alone the number of ex-cons and felons working here. The only reason I am standing here before you is evidently because of a wardrobe malfunction and panicky coworker."
Too much? Yeah, probably. Realistically the conversation won't go anywhere close to that, but it does not hurt to plan ahead.