Bill Peschel traces the history of the phrase “going postal,” which seems to have been first cited in the St. Petersburg Times, circa 1993. Wikipedia has the citation:
“The symposium was sponsored by the U.S. Postal Service, which has seen so many outbursts that in some circles excessive stress is known as ‘going postal.’ Thirty-five people have been killed in 11 post office shootings since 1983.” Some USPS workers do not approve of the term “going postal” and have made attempts to stop people from using the saying. Others feel it has earned its place appropriately.
There were two such outbursts on the same day (Seis de Mayo) in ’93, which prompted the Postal Service to take action:
As a result of these two shootings, in 1993 the Postal Service created 85 Workplace Environment Analysts for domicile at its 85 postal districts. These new positions were created to help with violence prevention and workplace improvement. In February 2009, the Postal Service unilaterally eliminated these positions as part of its downsizing efforts.
Nice to know we don’t have to worry about that anymore.
As a resident of central Oklahoma, I am required here to mention our own, um, contribution to the cause, one Patrick Sherrill, who shot up the Edmond post office in 1986. As is our wont, we eventually got to the point where we could make fun of it: the 2003 film Making Arrangements (reviewed here) describes a period of upheaval at a flower shop as “going floral.”
Addendum: Live from Muskogee, Oklahoma, courtesy of regular reader Mel: