The rising public anger and frustration at the loss of normal social interactions and weeks of quarantine is reaching a fever pitch, egged on by a right-wing media machine that is howling for the economy to re-open despite it not being safe to do so. Being Americans, these pent up-energies are being expressed in one of the only ways we know how — senseless gun violence.
Two teenage McDonalds employees in Oklahoma City were shot by a customer on Wednesday after they told her that the dine-in area was closed to the public.
Gloricia Woody, 32, grew furiously angry and left the restaurant only to return with a gun and fired three shots, sending both sixteen-year-olds to the hospital with non-life threatening arm injuries.
This attack follows on the heels of the horrifying murder of Calvin “Duper” James Munerlyn, who was working as a security guard at a Flint, Michigan Family Dollar store when he was shot in the head after telling a customer that they needed to wear a facemask in order to shop at the store.
These outbursts of violence are distinct from the massive protests appearing outside of statehouses by gun-toting Trump fans, who are being organized and directed behind the scenes by shadowy billionaire-backed groups.
Tens of millions of Americans are suddenly unemployed and are left to fend for themselves by a federal government more interested in bailing out big business than Main Street while being cut off from normal social interactions and human contact in an atmosphere of fear and great uncertainty.
my mom just called me, almost crying. she ran into a store for a minute and a guy was coming towards her. she said "please stay away from me" and he called her a "fucking bitch" and kept getting within inches of her on purpose. so like. people are fucking losing it out there.
— i bless the rains down in castamere (@Chinchillazllla) May 7, 2020
Unless their anxieties are assuaged by some kind of universal relief program from the government, people will continue to take their frustrations out on those around them — and history has shown far too many times how quickly that can spiral out of control or be taken advantage of by an extremist demagogue.
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Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.