Pandemic isolation may be fueling rage

Reporter: Zach Oliveri Writer: Drew Hill
Published: Updated:
unruly passengers
Credit: WINK News

More attacks are being provoked by fits of rage. Just in the past three months, WINK News has told you about four road rage attacks in Southwest Florida. From drivers firing bullets on the road to boaters pointing guns at others on the water.

These tantrums aren’t just happening in Southwest Florida, they are also happening in stadiums and on flights.

Doctors are saying that the pandemic is taking a toll on people at different times and to varying degrees. Getting back to normal now has some people not feeling excitement but, instead, angry.

From fists of flights to fans in stands taunting players, is pent-up anger pouring out after months of isolation?

Alise Bartley is FGCU’s Community Counseling Center Director. “We’re tired of having our rights taken away from us. So, we are going to maybe put ourselves in situations where we’re not thinking about the bigger picture and how our behavior can impact the lives of others,” Bartley said.

Bartley says some people are overwhelmed by the constant “do this” and “don’t do that” that we’ve dealt with in the past year.

The FAA has 2,500 reports of bad passenger behavior. Of those, 1,900 were people being angry about having to wear a mask.

“A lot of us are just done. We’re tired we’re exhausted and this is where I just ask people to take a step back. Take a breath,” Bartley said.

After a season in the bubble, NBA fans are back. But some of those are not in a good way. From spitting on a player in New York to running on the floor in Washington to throwing a water bottle in Boston. The man in Boston could face 10 years in prison.

“It’s almost like a balloon and you’re filling it up with water and it stretches and stretches and stretches and we think oh we can just let the water out,” Bartley said. “Well unfortunately the balloons are popping. So they’re exhibiting behavior that they maybe wouldn’t exhibit during regular times.”

Each of those cities saw people going through long stay-at-home orders. Here in Southwest Florida, we did not.

Bartley says this is an interesting hypothesis that needs to be explored fully.

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