A Well Founded Fear of Violence

CN: Discussion of Orlando shooting, the shooter himself, hate speech, and my own fears about violence.

Drunk, loud, and belligerent. That’s what the news is saying those who had run into the shooter at Pulse said about him. He’d previously been thrown out for being drunk, loud, and belligerent. These facts are leaving me even more freaked out. See, I work in the service sector, and I work at night.

I work with drunk people.
I work with loud people.
I work with belligerent people.

This isn’t constant. The overwhelming majority of my customers are pleasant people, a pleasure to work with. But every so often I get a particularly nasty customer or a trespasser. I can imagine all too well exactly what this guy was like at that bar when he was drunk. I know precisely how annoying it is to deal with someone in that state who needs to be kicked out. I did it just last week, and ended up needing the police to remove that particular drunk, loud, belligerent sexual harasser from the property.

Every time I do it I worry about violence. These men (always men) get really angry at me personally, and every time I get scared. I have good reason to be. They call me names when I tell them to leave the property. They scream slurs in my face, throwing tantrums filled with homophobic, misogynistic, and fatphobic language. I never know which ones might decide to throw a punch, or come back later armed. I haven’t gotten hurt yet, but it feels like just a matter of time.

The guy I had the cops take out last week was waiting outside the front door when I finished my shift, though most likely waiting for management, not me. I went out the back door to avoid him, and walked the long way home. That was before the shooting this past weekend. Now I’m scared the next drunk, loud, belligerent guy will come back with a gun.

This fear is well founded. It happens all of the time. Every day millions of people who work in the service sector across the USA go back to work, put on our name tags, smile, and hope it doesn’t happen to us.

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A Well Founded Fear of Violence
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