While much has been written about the physical symptoms displayed by those who catch the COVID-19 virus, much less ink has been dedicated to the mental health consequences of the pandemic which have affected even those who have not yet been infected by the coronavirus.
Weeks of lonely isolation, economic anxieties, financial uncertainty, and exposure to recurring footage of violent police brutality — during the demonstrations that have been as prevalent lately as the virus itself — have all contributed to a populace on edge and now suffering from hair-trigger tempers in an environment more politically polarized than our nation has seen in decades.
The very fact that wearing a face mask to prevent oneself and others from spreading COVID-19 has become a political statement as opposed to a simple, sensible, and courteous public health precaution is evidence enough of the toll that our current times have taken on both common civility and the overall emotional stability of our nation.
Thus we find ourselves reading daily stories about physical altercations or threats thereof by people whose idea of American citizenry is a rugged individualism — better described as extreme self-centeredness — that allows them to decide to ignore the health of the other people around them just so they can prance around mask free despite the regulations from local governments or merchants requiring face coverings.
Today’s example comes from where else: Florida!
It took place at a Fort Myers Costco where a young man with an apparent excess testosterone issue went full raging bull when an elderly woman admonished him for not wearing a mask in the store which required all patrons to wear one upon entering.
Wearing a Revolutionary war-themed T-shirt with a dubious message, the Florida man seemed to be one of those right-wing toughs who drone on about weak and pitiful liberal “snowflakes” while demonstrating their own embarrassing sense of inadequacy and lack of strength when they are “threatened” by an elderly woman who simply asks them to start following the rules meant to apply to everyone.
Florida man at Fort Myers Costco in "Running the World Since 1776" shirt flips out on elderly woman who asked him to wear a mask and man who defended her #BecauseFlorida (via @profjaffar) pic.twitter.com/PDOvi33qHK
— Billy Corben (@BillyCorben) July 7, 2020
Who knows what additional life pressures may have induced this man to such a state of defiance and rage? Nowadays, however, nearly everyone who’s not an ultra-wealthy oligarch is facing similar pressures.
While it would be tempting to insert a “Florida man” joke here — as the state has built itself a reputation as the home to some of the nations’ most perplexingly misguided collection of dim bulbs — the fact is that this type of angry, entitled, self-centered person is popping up all across the country these days.
It’s easy to recognize their faces. They’re not wearing masks.
If they are female and act this way, we now give them the appellation of “Karen,” while some are labeling the male of the species as a “Ken.”
Don’t be a Karen. Don’t be a Ken.
If you find yourself bottling up this much anger due to our troubled times, rather than risk a potentially embarrassing video of your explosion of rage going viral on the internet, seek the mental health care you need before you reach the breaking point.
At the very least, move to a state where medical marijuana is legal, get yourself a prescription, light up a fattie, and chill, bro.
That little old lady is in a vulnerable category when it comes to contracting COVID-19 and is just trying to protect herself and others.
Have a little compassion and think about someone other than yourself.
She’s not threatening you, it’s the invisible virus that’s your enemy.
Original reporting by Travis Gettys at RawStory.
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Vinnie Longobardo is the Managing Editor of Occupy Democrats. He's a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music, and art.