600,000 COVID Deaths and Us: The America Revealed by the Agonizing Milestone
Monday was an ordinary day at the Big Bear grocery store in DeKalb County, Ga., where 41-year-old Laquitta Willis worked as a cashier.
Just after lunch, 30-year-old Victor Lee Tucker Jr. entered the store. When he went to check out, Willis reportedly asked him to put his mask over his face.
According to police, Tucker left without his items, returned shortly thereafter, and fatally shot Willis.
Such capricious and violent encounters in the time of COVID-19 have become an unfortunate side effect of the pandemic that just claimed its 600,000th victim in the United States. For more than a year-and-a-half, we’ve tried to navigate the treacherous waters not only of the virus itself and keeping our families safe, but of the tumultuous culture wars that have added totally unnecessary insult to considerable injury.
In Michigan last year, a Family Dollar store security guard was killed for telling a customer that her child needed to wear a mask to enter the store. She yelled and spit on him, and left, eventually returning with her husband and adult son, who allegedly pulled out a gun and shot the guard.
In New Mexico, two men were shot in a dispute at an auto shop over masks.
In the not-so-friendly skies, the Federal Aviation Administration reports a massive increase in disorderly conduct reports, a full 75% of which dealt with mask compliance refusals.
Some pastors in evangelical churches spread misinformation and profited off of the fear of their congregants.
Public health officials all over the country were harassed and threatened out of their jobs, simply for suggesting or enforcing mask mandates in their municipalities. Women administrators in particular were stalked and sent death threats; many resigned for fear of their own safety.
In cities and small towns all over the country, anti-maskers harass their neighbors — even their children — for wearing masks. In Arlington, Virginia, a man filmed children wearing masks at a local playground, yelling, “Look at these kids — child abuse, child abuse, suffocation, suffocation.”