Someone Fears Spiders More than You
Many people have phobias of different sorts. Some might be afraid of being in enclosed spaces, while others might fear heights. One of the most common phobias, of course, is arachnophobia, a fear of spiders. The level of fear can vary, of course, but most will not grow violent when they see a spider. However, people working in the Logan County prosecutor’s office found out that sometimes a fear of spiders can get out of hand quickly.
In 2015, the office was decorating for Halloween as they do during the holidays. The decorations go up at the start of the month to create a festive atmosphere. For Halloween, that atmosphere can be a bit spooky. That year, it included a number of spider decorations of varying sizes.
Gun vs. Spider
However, Assistant Prosecutor Chris White has a fear of spiders, and his supposed fear caused him to pull a gun in the West Virginia office and threaten to shoot the fake spiders that were hung around the office.
Naturally, the others who were in the office were scared when the gun was pulled. After all, workplace shooting incidents in the United States are not exactly scarce. Between 1992 and 2010, there was an average of 700 workplace homicide victims in the United States. There is only an average of 6.6. deaths from venomous spider bites in the U.S. annually. It’s easy to see where the fear should be.
The Prosecuting Attorney, John Bennet, said that White had a deep fear of spiders, which caused him to pull the gun. White told the secretaries in the office that he was deathly afraid of spiders. That was when he pulled the gun, walking into an office, and threatened to shoot all of the spiders in the workplace.
Bennet was not in the office when the incident happened. He says White told him that the gun wasn’t loaded, but he understands why the others were upset when the gun was pulled. Bennet said that guns would no longer be allowed inside of the office, except for the office’s investigator, who was a former police officer. Bennet suspended White with pay.
White had been a part of the office for five years and there had never been any type of incident that would have indicated that this could happen, according to Bennet. However, after the incident, he was told by several people in the office that White had something of a temper that would show occasionally. Bennet said he’d never see that side of White.
Regardless, the people in the office that day saw that side of White and were left in fear because of it. Even though the gun may not have had a magazine in it at the time, although this point is not entirely clear, other people in the office did not know that. They just saw an angry person with a gun.
What Should Offices Do When Decorating?
Phobias can make people do things that others will find questionable and even dangerous, as evidenced here. However, pulling a gun and threatening to shoot spiders does not seem like the response that most people have even when confronted with their fear.
Offices and other workplaces may need to rethink the way they do certain things when it comes to holiday celebrations. Whether it’s to reduce the risk of triggering someone’s phobias or to ensure that the workplace is religiously tolerant, many companies may institute different policies when it comes to décor and celebrations. There are likely to be other incidents similar to this, although they probably (hopefully) won’t involve a firearm.