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OPINION: Coping with brain injury in a crazy world

Don't make excuses for anti-masker's bad behaviour, columnist says
Anti-maskers in Kelowna
Anti-mask protesters near Kelowna's Orchard Park Mall on Nov. 21, 2020. (via Diane Cabral)

When you have a brain injury, maintaining healthy, appropriate coping skills can be overwhelming.
Overwhelming to the point where I just want to stay home and shut myself away from this crazy world.
Then I think there are other people who should be staying home more than me.
This past week I was out shopping at one of my go-to essential stores. 
There is one staff person at this particular store who has been an employee there for many years. 
Although I don’t know her personally, she is always smiling, always says “hi” and always boosts my spirits with her positive energy. I absolutely adore this woman.
When I was speaking to her on this day, she mentioned to me she had recently been assaulted on the job by a customer who refused to wear a mask into the store.
On my way home, I had to pull over on the side of the road because I was crying so much I could barely see. I can’t remember the last time I broke down like this. 
Since brain injury, my emotions have been flat so this was a very unusual occurrence for me.
When I pieced my thoughts together, I realized I was beyond angry. This brought up my own post traumatic syndrome response to being assaulted myself three years ago. But my emotional reaction was much more than a personal trigger.
So what makes it okay for someone to commit violence towards another person who was just doing her job?
Making excuses for people committing crimes like inflicting violence onto others is not okay either. I’ve heard excuses like “this person must have mental health issues” or “this person must have been drunk or high on drugs” or “the pandemic has caused people to deteriorate”
Give me a break!
I have a brain injury. People with conditions like mine have the ability to control their impulses if they choose to. 
I have to work hard every day to keep myself in check. If I were to “lose it” in public I would expect no special treatment because of my condition. 
What has deteriorated is society’s expectations of people assuming personal responsibility.
Like I mentioned earlier, instead of people like me staying home, perhaps people need to be shielded from jerks who act like loose cannons.
I think there needs to be a registry developed to track offenders who target people who are merely upholding the provincial mandate of requiring patrons to wear masks and produce vaccine passports when accessing public establishments. 
Something needs to be done before these industries crumble because they have no people who are willing to risk their safety being at work. The incidents of violence towards retail and hospitality industry staff are rapidly rising, particularly in North America.
It would be interesting to create a demographic profile of who these culprits are. 
They are likely not marginalized, homeless folks who don’t have the financial means to attend these public venues. I would take a guess that popular assumptions would be crushed if the truth be told about who these people are.
The Nut Bar Registry, for the lack of a better or more appropriate name would serve the public’s safety well. It kind of has a ring to it doesn’t it?