Going postal.
~ American Catchphrase [13025]


Scene from the documentary "Going Postal."

Between 1986 and 2006, there have been seven incidents where an employee of the United States Postal Service has gone on a shooting spree. Each of the shooters in these tragic events seemed to have suddenly "snapped" mentally and emotionally. This phenomenon was labeled "going postal" by the St. Petersburg Times and later repeated in The Los Angeles Times.

Today the phrase is used in a variety of situations where someone suddenly loses their temper. It can range from something as minor as "if my husband doesn't learn to pick up his socks, I'm going to 'go postal' on him" to more serious incidents where extreme violence is involved.

Since the Colombine High School killings in 1999, the term "going postal" has been used in connection with other school massacres. More recently it has been used in connection with the James Holmes assault in an Aurora, Colorado movie theater.