From John Caldwell (letter:) “At the end of the war I returned to school in Santa Barbara, now a branch of the University of California. I graduated in sociology, and worked for two years as a social worker in Los Angeles, but city life in a suburban home could not match the call of far horizons. We sold everything and bought a 36 foot catch, Tropic Seas, and said, what the hell, let’s go! But then we had a four-year-old son Johnny, and Mary was expected, but we sailed anyway. That was 1952. Our first passage was 45 days San Diego to the Marquesas islands. On to Moorea, the Samoas, Fiji, where Roger was born…then New Caledonia, and Australia in 18 months of cruising. We sold Tropic Seas in Sydney, and took six years to plan and build a larger boat which we named Outward Bound, then on for a year through the great barrier reef to Thursday island and Darwin, across the Indian Ocean, Christmas Island, Coco Keeling, Diego Garcia, Seychelles and Aden in the Red Sea. We tacked 28 days to the Suez Canal, than eight months cruising the Mediterranean to Gibraltar, and a 19 day crossing of the Atlantic from the Canary Islands to Barbados. From Barbados the Windward Islands was only a jump of 100 miles, and we found a new home in a string of islands like jewels running north to south, with steady trade winds blowing west to east–an ideal cruising ground, just what we had searched the world to find.” Caldwell (Calder in the novel) leased Prune Island in the Grenadines from the government of St. Vincent for $1 a year for 25 years, plus 12% of future profits, then spent 30 years with a wheelbarrow and the help of natives on Union Island, planting thousands of palm trees, renaming it Palm Island. His sailing adventures were legendary. Read “Desperate Voyage,” about his sailing across the Pacific alone into storms after WW2. The book was optioned by Burt Lancaster’s company before Burt suddenly died. Then an independent filmmaker optioned it. Nothing came of it. He next fought off renegades who’d taken Union and came for Palm, helping the Marines during the Grenada invasion. Turned down an offer from Trump and others to buy the property. “Anytime my wife and I say hello, that’s a Board Meeting,” he said. He showed Barbara Streisand around. Also hoped to “get it done.” Then he died. Amazing story, amazing life…largely untold. So I wrote a novel based on his story, and have updated it with a Powerball hook. Two wins. A win/win. Order any of my paperbacks and get the audiobook free. Order the audiobook and get any of my ebooks free.
What causes people to “go postal,” and where did the phrase originate? The St. Petersburg Times published the phrase on Dec. 17, 1993, in response to a symposium on violence in the workplace, and in 1995 the movie Clueless used the phrase repeatedly, solidifying its popularity. As to why people go “postal,” that would obviously be different in every incident, but some common reasons are a feeling of being boxed in and powerless in attempts to alleviate stress, made to feel humiliation from management (who are more interested in numbers than in people), and other long-standing mental problems which the environment may exacerbate. Some of the most famous shootings are listed below.
* On August 20, 1986, 14 employees were shot and killed and six wounded at the Edmond, Oklahoma post office by Patrick Sherrill, a postman who then committed suicide with a shot to the forehead.
* A former United States Postal Worker, Joseph M. Harris, killed his former supervisor, Carol Ott, then killed her boyfriend, Cornelius Kasten Jr., at their home. The following morning, on October 10, 1991, Harris shot and killed two mail handlers at the Ridgewood, New Jersey Post Office.
* On November 14, 1991 in Royal Oak, Michigan, Thomas McIlvane killed five people, including himself, with a Ruger rifle in Royal Oak’s post office, after being fired from the Postal Service for “insubordination.”
* Two shootings took place on the same day, May 6, 1993. At a post office in Dearborn, Michigan, Lawrence Jasion wounded three and killed one, and subsequently killed himself. In Dana Point, California, Mark Richard Hilbun killed his mother, then shot two postal workers dead. As a result of these two shootings, the Postal Service created 85 Workplace Environment Analyst jobs to help with violence prevention and workplace improvement. (In February 2009, the Postal Service eliminated these positions as part of its downsizing efforts.)
* Jennifer San Marco, a former postal employee, killed six postal employees before committing suicide with a handgun, on the evening of January 30, 2006, at a large postal processing facility in Goleta, California.
According to media reports, the Postal Service had forced San Marco to retire in 2003 because of her worsening mental problems. Her choice of victims may have also been racially motivated. San Marco had a previous history of racial prejudice, and tried to obtain a business license for a newspaper of her own ideas, called The Racist Press, in New Mexico.
* Grant Gallaher, a letter carrier in Baker City, Oregon, pleaded guilty to the April 4, 2006 murder of his supervisor. He reportedly brought his .357 Magnum revolver to the city post office with the intention of killing his postmaster. Arriving at the parking lot, he reportedly ran over his supervisor several times. Subsequently he went into the post office looking for his postmaster. Not finding the postmaster, he went back out to the parking lot and shot his supervisor several times at close range, ostensibly to make sure she was dead. Gallaher reportedly felt pressured by a week-long work-time study. On the day of his rampage, he was ahead of schedule on his route, but his supervisor brought him more mail to deliver. Years earlier, the union steward at the Baker City post office committed suicide.
There have been other shootings, including two in 2017. One at a San Francisco postal facility, and one in Dublin, Ohio in which the perp shot his supervisor and then beat the postmaster to death over his pending dismissal.
Originally a small press hardcover, Postmarked for Death is now an audiobook, and also an ebook and trade paperback. A rookie postal inspector hunts a politically motivated bomber targeting immigration offices and food stamp card processing equipment. Calvin Beach (#BeachReads) is hiding within the Tucson post office in the heat of summer, mailing letter bombs as police search for the wrong man. A why-dun-it instead of just a who-dun-it. Endorsements: “This gifted writer has given us a page turner that affords a fascinating look behind the scenes at the Postal Service. Read this one, and dropping a letter in the mailbox will never be the same.” –John Lutz (author behind film Single White Female). “A class performance, powerful and accomplished. . .mystery at its best.” –Clive Cussler, world’s #1 adventure writer, interview HERE. —Jonathan Lowe