Going Postal

In American slang, the phrase “going postal” means flying into an uncontrollable rage at work. It’s likely many of us have had moments where we’ve felt like this, but the origins of this saying are a lot darker than you’d expect.

In 1986, a post office worker by the name of Patrick Sherrill shot 20 of his post office co-workers, killing 14 of them and drastically injuring the rest. He then ended the rampage by fatally shooting himself in the forehead. 

As is the norm with most rampages, the perpetrator’s motives are unclear and shrouded in rumour. Sherrill said he felt ridiculed and berated by the post office management. He was constantly being messed around and given less hours than his co-workers, which made him angry. Other sources claim that he was an irritable worker who was under performing due to his poor attitude. Records show that he was reprimanded by his supervisors on the day before the shooting, so it’s likely that the bitterness he felt over this caused him to ultimately snap and take so many lives with him.

So next time you’re mad at work and feel like “going postal”, just remember Sherrill’s massacre at the Edmond Post Office on the morning of August 20th, 1986, and take some relief in knowing that you won’t go that postal.

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