Posted Thursday, Sept. 17, 2009, at 11:35 AM
Ray Clark, the co-worker of 24-year-old Yale med student Annie Le, has been arrested for her murder. Clark's motive is unclear, but New Haven Police Chief James Lewis stressed that it was an issue of workplace crime, "which is becoming a growing concern around the country." Is workplace violence actually on the rise? According to the most recent CDC statistics , workplace homicides were actually far worse in the mid-'90s, reaching a high in 1994 with 10,040 murders on the job. In 2006, there were only 540 workplace homicides.
Which is not to say that Le's death isn't incredibly upsetting, or that workplace violence isn't a problem. But I think tying this lone act of horror into a larger theme is problematic. From the scant details released about the case so far, there is no obvious impetus for Clark's alleged murder of Le-though Gawker wonders if Clark's rage stemmed from Le's inability to clean up after her lab mice properly. In cases of senseless violence, everyone is looking for a narrative that explains the issue in a way that can prevent similar incidents from happening in the future. Sociopathy isn't something that's so pat or easy to control.
Photograph by Christopher Capozziello/Getty Images.