Murder By Proxy: How America Went Postal is a documentary film that examines the phenomenon of spree killing, particularly in a workplace, that became known in the United States as “going postal”. The film argues that the phenomenon originated in the United States Postal Service as a result of hostile work environment following the Postal Reorganization Act of 1971 and then spread to the rest of society.
Filmmaker Emil Chiaberi presents a point of view that spree killings became widespread in the United States as a result of a major socio-economic shift that began during the Reagan era. The film identifies corporate greed, income inequality, diminished job security, excessive consumerism and nearly total indebtedness as contributing factors to the sense of injustice that fuels murderous rage of some individuals. Notably, the issue of gun control is completely absent from the film.
Murder By Proxy: How America Went Postal derives its title from a phrase coined by Dr. James Alan Fox, dean of the college of criminal justice at Northeastern University in Boston and one of the experts who appear in the film. Dr. Fox describes “murder by proxy” as a situation when an individual kills co-workers because “they are associated with the boss, an extension of the original target.”