Arlo Kinsey Kansas employee has MAGA hat customer flash gun when asked to wear mask at J’s Bob-Be-Que Shack restaurant he was working at.
Disconcert has come to the fore following revelations of a Kansas man wearing a Make America Great Again (MAGA) hat showing his gun to a an employee at a restaurant in Mission, Kan., after being asked why he wasn’t wearing a mask in accordance with coronavirus restrictions, staff told local media this week.
Arlo Kinsey, 18, told The Kansas City Star that the encounter occurred shortly after the customer, who has not yet been identified, entered the eatery without a face mask during Kinsey’s shift at RJ’s Bob-Be-Que Shack a week ago.
Kinsey, who the media outlet noted is now a ‘former’ employee of the restaurant, said he asked the man when he first came in if he ‘could go get his mask or if he had a mask, and he said he had an exemption.’
‘I asked him if I could see the exemption just to make sure, and then he showed me his gun, saying that that was his exemption,’ he said.
Moments later, Kinsey said he called for the restaurant’s owner to speak to the man. Words were exchanged, and the man eventually left, Kinsey added.
‘I was looking at the gun thinking he was going to shoot me?’
‘I just graduated high school. I’m working in a minimum-wage job just to save up for college, and then I’ve got to tell this dude to wear a mask because, that’s, you know, what I’m required to do by law,’ he said, referring to Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly’s (D) recent order requiring all residents to wear masks in public to help slow the spread of COVID-19.
‘And he’s going to shoot me because of that? It just doesn’t make sense to me. The cost-benefit analysis is just not, you know, just doesn’t work,’ Kinsey said.
The former employee added that he thinks the customer’s main intention was ‘to make a statement’ but that his behavior was ‘definitely a threat.’
‘I was looking at the gun thinking he was going to shoot me. … My first thought was, I work in customer service, and this is really what’s going to happen? All we’re asking is that you wear a mask for a couple of minutes,’ Kinsey reiterated.
‘We could have taken your order outside if you didn’t want to. But you go into an air conditioned area without a mask on, and if I tell you to wear one, you’re going to shoot me? Wow. I make $8.50 an hour, plus tips — for this?’ he continued.
The whole incident according to Kinsey lasted less than five minutes. ‘We didn’t have any time to call the cops and have them get here,’ he added.
Bob Palmgren, who owns the restaurant, says he was in the kitchen when the man arrived before Kinsey came to him about the customer.
Politicizing choice during a health pandemic
‘I run over there, and I’m like, ‘Hey, what’s going on?’ And he shows me his Trump hat. And I like Trump. Everybody’s got problems. But it doesn’t make a difference. You don’t have a mask on. And I’m like, ‘Your gun’s not going to kill coronavirus. Now get the hell out of here,’ Palmgren told the Kansas City Star.
While Palmgren says he has ‘a lot’ of people come into the restaurant that are concealed carrying, he said he’s not used to incidents like the one involving the customer last week.
‘Especially these days, it’s scary when people have any kind of gun, even if it’s a fake gun. You don’t know what he’s going to do,’ he said.
‘I have a lot of guys who I know come in here and are concealed carrying. But they aren’t showing their gun to anybody,’ he added.
The episode is the latest of a slew of incidents across the United States in recent weeks as individuals have come to politicize the ‘health mandate’, demanding that there ‘constitutional free rights,’ be respected.
Commentators on the web have also pointed to President Trump influencing supporters in choosing not to wear the mask, with Trump (until only recently) avoiding at all costs to be seen wearing a mask, whether cause it undermined his masculinity, his leadership or narrative that the public health pandemic was ‘exaggerated.’ A notion that has been questioned as infections have re-ignited in the U.S.