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Public SafetyThe Guardian

What is causing outbursts of rage on planes and grocery checkout lines?

Last week, a stranger threatened to beat up me and my husband in the checkout area of a grocery store. What set him off was that my husband, en route to return an unwanted item, had brushed past him. The man announced that he was going outside to wait for us and – screaming, snarling, raising his fists – stared at us through the window. Was I surprised that a muscular guy in his 30s was threatening to punch out two grandparents? The woman behind the checkout counter wasn’t. She said, “Stuff like this happens every few days.” In fact, not long before, in another supermarket, another city, an elderly man raged and shouted at me, claiming that I was standing too close, and the cashier said, “He comes in here and does this all the time.”
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