The Lockheed Martin tragedy: A time to grieve
July 10, 2003
At this point, for editorial purposes, there is no point in trying to make sense of the tragic events at the Lockheed Martin plant on Tuesday morning. It is a time for Lauderdale County Sheriff Billy Sollie and other investigating agencies to do their jobs; it is a time to grieve over the loss of family and friends, and to bury the dead. Soon, it will be time for the fine people at this facility to get back to work building components of airplanes that help keep America strong and free.
No one knows at this point what precisely drove Doug Williams, a 48-year-old production assembler with 19 years on the job and a divorced father of two, over the edge. Obviously, as Sollie said, Williams was angry, angry enough to walk out of an ethics training session, arm himself with a 12-gauge shotgun and semiautomatic rifle and return to the plant, where he gunned down 14 co-workers and then killed himself. From all indications, Williams had repeated problems with management and co-workers, both black and white.
In the shooting frenzy, five of them died. We join their family and friends in mourning. At the same time, we wish a speedy recovery for the nine other people who fell victim to Williams' anger.
Meridian area mental health professionals and our clergy are offering counseling, support and other services to members of the Lockheed Martin family touched by this tragedy. Candlelight vigils and other events planned in the near future encourage the community to come together in the wake of Tuesday morning's events.
That is the proper course of action for our community at this point.
We are confident that Sheriff Sollie, a skilled, methodical law enforcement professional who has handled himself extremely well in the glare of international media attention, and his colleagues be they federal, state or local will find answers as to Williams' motivation as quickly as possible.
We all must support them in that important work.