Paranoia in the U.S.A.

'The Scream,' by Edvard Munch. (Wikipedia)

Midnight, I’m stuck to my chair in front of my TV, watching a story about the annual 2nd Amendment rally set for this Monday in Richmond.

I picture a bunch of so-called gun-rights advocates, ‘lock and loaded’ marching down the streets of Virginia’s capital city.

I hear of one radical anti-Semitic group that has posted the names of Jewish, Virginia lawmakers, who are in favor of stronger gun regulations.

I hear of online racists calling for a “boogaloo”(an event that accelerates the race war).

I hear of the FBI arresting three neo-Nazis, members of the Base, (a group that wants a white ethno state) who were planning to attend the rally with weapons in hand.

Déjà vu, Charlottesville—except this time the neo-Nazis  march down Virginia streets carrying semi-automatic weapons instead of torches.

In disgust, I turn off the TV and head to my front door.

I’m making sure the locks are secured, while I picture a torch lit march, chants, fisticuffs, a car and blood on the streets of Charlottesville.

As my hand touches the cold-metal-bolt lock, I recall the Tree-of-Life massacre in Pittsburgh.

Twisting  tightly, I flashback to the Chabad shooting in Poway.

Now I grasp and try to turn the smooth bronze doorknob. It’s locked and I ponder the shooting at the Kosher supermarket in Jersey City.

Turning toward my bedroom, I see Hanukkah blood in Monsey.

What a montage!

A flashing, red, white and blue digital map of U.S.A.

Virginia, Pennsylvania, California, New Jersey, and New York.

A state of emergency roll call.

I wonder:

“Before Charlottesville, was I so aggressive when I locked my doors?”

“Before Charlottesville, what did I think about as I locked my doors?”

I know it wasn’t flashing-digital maps of  the U.S.A.

In my bedroom, my head sinks deep into my red, white and blue pillow and

I recall sitting at a table in a Philly cheese steak shop.

At the next table, two 30-something white males talk.

My ears perk up.

Did I hear one of these patrons saying the word, “Jews?”

I glance in their direction.

They lower their voices to whispers.

Now, I hear no words.

My persecution complex senses a conspiracy of whispers.

I stress and wonder:

“Before Charlottesville, were my ears so sensitized to the word, “Jews?”

Since Charlottesville, “Have I become paranoid?”

My anxiety yells, “Of course you have, these f—ers are really out to harm you, to kill you, and to drive you nuts?”

My fear chants, “Poway, Monsey, Charlottesville, Jersey City and Pittsburgh.”

My knowledge of past history screams, “You fool, this is real! This is not your biased perception of reality! Remember the thirties in Germany.

Real cities, real victims, real blood, real hospital beds and real gravesites.”

About the Author
South Florida's Jewish short-story writer, speaker, film producer and retired attorney. He has authored, "A Hebraic Obsession", "The Hanukkah Bunny" and "The Greatest Gift." He produced an award-winning short film entitled, "The Stairs". Movie can be viewed on my TOI blog. Mort is a correspondent for the Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel Jewish Journal.
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