Source: Brian C. Joondeph, MD
Stockholm Syndrome is a psychological phenomenon where “hostages or abuse victims bond with their captors and abusers.” This bonding can occur over days, weeks, or months of captivity and abuse. Rather than being terrorized by their captors, hostages sympathize with them, developing positive feelings, sharing common goals and causes, and essentially falling in love with their captors.
The story behind the Stockholm Syndrome is a 1973 six-day hostage event in a Swedish bank. By the second day, “the hostages were on a first-name basis with their captors, and they started to fear the police more than their abductors.” By the end of the hostage crisis, “the convicts and hostages embraced, kissed and shook hands.”
A modern-day version of the Stockholm Syndrome is playing out after over a year of COVID captivity. Americans have been held hostage by medical czars like Dr Anthony Fauci, totalitarian governors named Cuomo, Newsom, Whitmer, Murphy, and Wolf, and big media, including cable news giants CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News.
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Americans have been held hostage in their homes for months, told not to wear masks, then to wear one, then two, now none. We were assured that a BLM protest of thousands is perfectly safe while a family wedding, funeral, or a Trump rally is a super spreader event. An experimental, non-FDA-approved vaccine is being mandated for everyone, including children at extremely low risk from getting sick from COVID, yet at the government agencies pushing vaccinations, they don’t know how many of their own employees have said no to the vaccine, perhaps as many as half.
Speaking out against your COVID captors leads to punishment and abuse, from social media deplatforming and public harassment, to loss of job or even prison. Americans have been beaten with a stick for over a year, based more on the whims of the ruling class than any sound science that would explain the above contradictory ruling diktats.
Many COVID hostages are fighting back but others may have succumbed to Stockholm Syndrome. After the public has submitted to the gods of lockdowns, distancing, and masks for over a year, and those gods now are showing kindness by releasing their hostages, some unconsciously view them as benevolent gods and now worship them and their ideals.
The media played a dual role, both as captor and hostage, and enjoying both roles. How else to explain one of the main hostage-takers, Dr. Fauci, gracing the covers of numerous magazines? Or being nominated as the sexiest man alive? Or appearing constantly on cable news shows?
As new CDC guidance relaxes mask mandates, some are still in hostage mode, identifying with the none, then one, then two, then one mask captors, now proclaiming long-term submission to whatever big brother or the state says.
Several weeks ago, the New York Times wrote about those clinging to their masks, even after the CDC says they are no longer necessary. The article, “They’re vaccinated and keeping their masks on, maybe forever” illustrates a Stockholm Syndrome phenomenon after more than a year of mask mandates. Here is one example,
Whenever Joe Glickman heads out for groceries, he places an N95 mask over his face and tugs a cloth mask on top of it. He then pulls on a pair of goggles.
He has used this safety protocol for the past 14 months. It did not change after he contracted the coronavirus last November. It didn’t budge when, earlier this month, he became fully vaccinated. And even though President Biden said on Thursday that fully vaccinated people do not have to wear a mask, Mr. Glickman said he planned to stay the course.
In fact, he said, he plans to do his grocery run double-masked and goggled for at least the next five years.
Was this Mr. Glickman’s approach to every season flu season? Or previous viral outbreaks like SARS, MERS, or bird flu? Or is this a new reaction to being held hostage for the past 15 months?
Stockholm Syndrome may represent a form of posttraumatic stress disorder or PTSD. A study published in JAMA Psychiatry found that a third of those recovered from severe COVID suffering from PTSD.
But after over a year of captivity under rapidly changing, often arbitrary and capricious mandates and restrictions, many individuals are now identifying with their ruling class captors.
How else to explain someone who seemingly should know better, MSNBC crank Joe Reid, boasting about jogging outside wearing two masks despite being fully vaccinated. From the network constantly shrieking “follow the science,” what science is she following?
Is she suffering from Stockholm Syndrome after her network spent the past five years keeping their handful of viewers hostage over Trump-Russian collusion, Mueller, the “walls closing in” on Trump, and COVID propaganda? Is she simply virtue signaling? Or is she just an ignoramus?
To each his own. Those who want to mask and goggle up forever despite having COVID and natural immunity or vaccine-induced immunity, are free to do so.
Actor, now public health expert, Matthew McConaughey wants masks forever. Considering running for Texas governor, he “is going to bat for universal mask wearing, expressing his belief that it does not take away an individual’s identity or freedom and asserting that no data exists showing the practice as harmful.”
There is also no data that wearing a helmet constantly or using a seatbelt when sitting in a chair is harmful either, and might actually prevent a few falls or head injuries, but is he advocating for those? Does he suffer from Stockholm Syndrome or simply idiocy?
Disgraced journalist Dan Rather has it partially right when he tweeted, “I’m confused. Why should people care if someone wants to wear a mask outside?” Again, to each his own. Would he be similarly apathetic if someone wanted to carry a firearm outside, as per the 2nd Amendment? Or wear a MAGA hat? Or a “QAnon” shirt? I’d bet he wouldn’t be “confused” that those things are racist, white supremacist, insurrectionist, or some other supposed evil.
Stockholm Syndrome won’t explain all the permanent mask wearing but is certainly a reasonable explanation for a society that has been held hostage and beaten into submission incessantly for the past 15 months.
Add this phenomenon to the existing flood of anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues post-pandemic. Perhaps fired Yale psychiatrist Dr. Bandy Lee, who opined frequently about the “psychotic” mental state of Donald Trump and Alan Dershowitz, can weigh in but don’t expect any thoughtful questions or discussion from a major cause of these issues, the media.
Brian C Joondeph, MD, is a physician and writer. He is on sabbatical from social media.
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