There has been no shortage of bizarre stories to come out of the ongoing global coronavirus pandemic.
Colombian drug cartels killing people who ignore coronavirus safety measures? Check.
A truck carrying “highly infectious covid19 samples” getting hijacked in South Africa? Check.
Someone burning down their business in order to keep his customers safe from the coronavirus? Checkaroo!
Edward Guy Mason, an Australian grocery store owner, became so stressed and obsessed with the coronavirus that he loaded up three shopping carts full of flammable materials and lit them on fire inside his shop. He then tried to kill himself, failed, went outside, locked up the store, and walked home.
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation reports…
Passers-by saw the fire and alerted authorities, but the supermarket and an adjoining hardware store, owned by Mason’s brother, were destroyed, causing more than $1 million damage.
Mason pleaded guilty to a charge of wilfully and unlawfully damaging a building by fire, with the District Court hearing that before he set fire to the supermarket he had smoked eight cannabis bongs.
The Devil’s Lettuce… it’ll get you every time.
Mason’s lawyer said he was convinced he had the virus and set the fire to protect his customers from also getting infected.
“I set fire to business to kill the germs,” Mason reportedly told witnesses.
西澳大利亚州的一处小镇，当地唯一一间超市的57岁老闆梅森（Edward Guy Mason），因为觉得来自中国来的货物纸箱有毒，竟然纵火烧掉了自己家族经营数十年的超市，还波及旁边业者，损失超过100万澳币。梅森遭到判刑16个月，但获得缓刑。 pic.twitter.com/P6Z1ymruZ9
— XIJIN LI (@XijinLi) August 3, 2020
The judge in Mason’s case gave him a a 16-month suspended sentence, noting, “At the time, you had an obsession with COVID-19. It impacted on your grocery business. You believed you were infected. You wanted to keep people safe.”
Mason was also ordered to pay his brother, the co-owener of the store, $479,000 for damages incurred in the fire.
“I was running a business and just seeing my shelves stripped bare. It was very hard to deal with,” he said.
“People were driving 30 minutes from another town and they’d just come in and strip my shelves bare if their town was empty. That’s where all the conflict began, because my customers couldn’t understand why they couldn’t get their regular items.”
Mason said he was convinced he had coronavirus.
“Seeing different news reports and seeing how it could be transmitted and I thought, ‘we’re getting boxes coming out of the warehouses, boxes coming from China’, and that’s how I felt,” he said. “I felt surely there could be germs on these cartons.”
If ever there was a story tailor-made for this classic GIF it’s this one.
Ariel Winter’s upcoming coronavirus movie should really incorporate this story into the plot.