As mask ordinances are imposed across the United States in an effort to help contain the spread of the coronavirus, a new form of viral video has quickly emerged as unhinged people — generally white — react in outrageous ways to being told to do something that might benefit someone other than themselves.
Some of the situations, like a recent video from this weekend, feature some astonishing violence. A New Jersey couple allegedly assaulted an employee at the Ocean County Mall on July 9th for asking them to put their masks on, spitting on the person, and hitting them with a belt.
The victim told police a man and woman walked into Zumiez, which sells skateboards and apparel, with their face masks hanging around their necks.
The victim, who works at Zumiez, told the two they needed to wear their masks properly to shop. She told police the man became irate, yelling, and picked up a belt and snapped it hat her, hitting her with the belt, Messina said.
As the man and woman left the store, the woman turned around and yelled at the employee, then spit at her, Messina said.
The assailants have not been identified.
This is only the most recent in a string of violent reactions to mask mandates. It truly speaks to how even the most pedestrian of issues has become highly politicized in the era of Trump, to the point where a basic concern for public safety and the lives of those around you is somehow a controversial issue.