Widespread Panic – Not Just a Pandemic Problem


Students may have noticed new doors and windows on various community areas around campus. The new doors are impact resistant in the interest of student and staff safety. This update to our campus can remind us to make appropriate decisions based on facts, safety, and our own best interest; not on social media hysteria.

Julie Shkraba

With just a hint, a tiny whisper, or a rumor mass panic can start. In a blink of an eye, toilet paper? Gone. Gas? Gone. In a time when decisions should be made with much thought and preciseness. People do the exact opposite. This can happen anywhere, but we are going to explore this problem in the great state of Florida. Florida is prone to having mass breakouts of panic. Anytime there is a hint of any natural disaster or any sort of emergency, trust Floridians to buy out the store. 

Are Floridians to blame for acting like this? Is it social media? Is it news outlets? Let’s take a look. 

Recently in Florida there was a panic about a gas line shutting down. So, what did everyone do? They went and got the largest amount of gas possible. Videos containing people filling up Tupperware containers with gas surfaced on social media. This may be a big laugh to the rest of the world, but behind the jokes and the memes this is actually a big issue. It is not okay to laugh at people’s panic, no matter how dumb they may look. Issues like this need to be corrected. People should not be lied to; they should be encouraged to check the information they get from anywhere. Twitter, Instagram, snapchat, and even the news can be unreliable sources.  

Hurricane season. Those two words bring back wild memories to any Floridian. Memories of empty shelfs at Walmart and a limit on the amount of water gallons per family. Memories of schools being used as shelters and mandatory evacuation. Wood boards plastered on the windows of homes, giving a shutter to your spine because your home looks like a ghost town. If not already clear, Florida is not shy from mass panic. Almost anytime there is a hurricane headed towards Florida mass hysteria starts. People think they are getting prepared by buying out the toilet paper. When they should get educationally prepared. 

The corona virus was no exception. Mass hysteria was one of the most negative side effects of the virus. People all over the US, arguably the whole world, cleared out every grocery store in sight. Fear spread quicker than the virus. People stockpiled rolls of toilet paper, which still probably remain in their house to this day. This type of over buying is the most dangerous one. Because certain families were buying all the paper a lot of others were left without it. Some may argue that panic buying is selfish. But taking a closer look and putting yourself in their shoes, you can tell that they were just in survival mode. It is not just to judge them by what they did impulsively.   

In my opinion, media fuels the mass panics. Whether it is the news channel or Instagram it gets people to rashly buy out the store. When really the threat is blown out of proportion. To fix this issue, the media needs to work on reporting straight facts instead of spreading fear they should spread information. Mass panic cannot be only blamed on the media, people should know by now that the media is not always correct. Social medias like snapchat and Instagram should not be a place to go for reliable information. Also, people should not always believe what they are told and should question things…  

Information should be given, not threats blown out of proportion. People turn to the news as a main and true source of information so that is what they should give. Also, people should strive to make sure they get all the correct information. Double check, heck, even triple check that your sources are correct before going into a mass panic. Situations would be way better without the panicking population. Next time there are any rumors about any grave situations, make sure you check the facts.