Sunday, April 24, 2011


by J.S. Holland

When you're living in a fundamentally uncivilized society, sometimes you find yourself putting up with more crap than you should - simply because you become used to it. After awhile, the crap becomes the status quo for you and for others, and it passes on into common use.

Take McDonald's, for instance. Please.

Chrissy Lee Polis, a transgender woman, was brutally beaten by a pair of women (one of them only 14) at a Baltimore McDonald's recently. According to the New York Daily News, an employee did nothing to break up the fight, but just watched and took video of the fight with his phone - not for evidentiary purposes, but for his own jollies. He can be heard laughing on the video as the woman is beaten and nearly killed.

Of course, maybe breaking up fights isn't such a good idea - Raymond Mitchell tried to break up two men fighting in a London, England McDonald's and ended up getting shot to death. According to the U.K. Mirror:

One neighbour, who saw the shooting but was too terrified to be named, said: “He was begging, literally begging for his life. I didn’t dare look out my window in case they saw me. I heard them laughing and swearing at him, calling him a ‘bitch’. I heard them laughing afterwards as well.”

Raymond’s partner, who asked not to be named, said: “I’m terrified. They’re still out there and they’ve not been caught. I’ve been told how they were laughing, actually laughing after they beat him and shot him. How could anybody do something like that?"

Two days ago, in Conroe, TX, Troy Bishop was shot multiple times by an assailant in a McDonald's parking lot.

Last week in Cleveland, OH, a fight broke in a McDonald's parking lot between four women. When the manager and the owner came out to break it up, Stacey Mathews got in her car and proceeded to run over everyone with it, and then fled the scene.

And yesterday, at a McDonald's in Sacramento, CA, a 60-year-old man exposed his genitalia to a 10-year-old boy in a restroom stall. According to KXTV, "the police who used surveillance video to identify the man, who they described as a transient."

Everyone - regardless of age, gender, race, or social status - pretty much openly acknowledges that a trip to Mickey D's can sometimes be quite an experience with the worst elements of our fellow man. In theory, it should be true that the same could be said for any other fast food joint, but in reality, it's just not so. Similar Google News searches for other places could only find one incident of violence at a Hardee's and two at Waffle House. But the McDonald's horror stories never end. I bet you have a few yourself from your own personal experience, I know I sure do.

Nevertheless, all fast food places could equally benefit from my advice to McDonald's: they need to clean house from the top down and completely restructure the way they do business. It's time for these places to stop being overrun by stupid teenagers congregating en masse, and homeless people taking up full-time residence. Restaurants are not babysitters. Restaurants are not homeless shelters. It also doesn't help that often the people running the place are themselves the same bunch of dumb kids and marginal characters, thrown together into an unhealthy and dysfunctional mix, usually half-assedly overseen by a slightly older manager who has become numb to it all and doesn't dare speak up because it's probably the best job they've ever had, sad to say.

Having been, shall we say, marginally housed myself more than once in the many lives I've lived, in no way do I mean to sound insensitive to the plight of the homeless. Far from it. But different people are homeless for different reasons. Some were sociopaths before they became homeless, and this contributed to their downward spiral. Others, driven into apathy at the seeming hopelessness of their situation, became sociopaths after hitting rock bottom. The distinction doesn't really matter, because unless you're mentally ill or have given up on your own humanity, no one should really be able to tell that you're homeless anyway. (You may disagree with me on that, and I'll explain it in greater detail in a post to come.) Then again, I also agree with Jerry Seinfeld when he notes that people who go out in public wearing sweatpants have essentially "given up" on life as well.

McDonald's has come to represent all that is dreary, depressing and dullardly about America. Anton LaVey said much the same when, years ago, he made a rather sarcastically Swiftian defense of James Huberty, who shot and killed 21 people in a McDonald's in 1984.

And hey, I love the food, don't get me wrong. I'm not of those knee-jerk liberals who protest McDogfood's strictly on an ethical or health basis, like the dope in the photo above. After all, my concern here is with incivility, and I consider obnoxious protests to be the apex of incivility.

I'll still eat there occasionally, albeit via the drive-thru. There's nothing more satisfying as a guilty pleasure than an occasional McDonald's cheeseburger, and I swear they must have some sort of a sweetheart deal with Coca-Cola to get superior-tasting Coke formula. Do a side by side taste test and you will find that a McD's fountain Coke kicks butt against a Wendy's fountain Coke every time. But as for the ambience and clientele, it's pretty embarrassing on a global scale that the restaurant most successful in the USA and most identified worldwide with the USA is well known as a haven for some of the most dysfunctional people on the planet, on both sides of the cash register. Until something major is implemented at McDonald's from the top down and bottom up, that "Safe Place" logo with that disgusting clown of theirs smiling on it is nothing but a very sick joke that has no place in the 21st century.

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