26 year old Cody Pfister was arrested in Missouri this past week after he posted a video of himself licking various items in a Walmart superstore in Warrenton.
According to police, he proclaimed, “Who’s afraid of the coronavirus?!” before licking various items in the store. He posted the video and was quickly taken into custody by local police and has been charged with “making a terror threat in the second degree”.
A local resident who took a video of themselves licking the merchandise after making a "Corona Virus" statement at…
According to the Warren County Prosecuting Attorney’s office, a terrorist threat in the second degree indicates that a person “recklessly disregards the risk of causing the evacuation, quarentine or closure of any portion of a building, infrastructure etc and knowingly… communicates an express or implied threat to cause an incident or condition involving danger to life”. Pfister’s actions horrified the local community, who felt that his video was completely disrespectful and put other community members in danger.
This video garnered a lot of media attention alongside other “viral videos” that have appeared on platforms such as TikTok, Facebook, and Instagram.
This past week, an influencer filmed herself licking a toilet seat on a plane. Another influencer posted a similar video in response. Pfister’s video received harsh criticism not only from worried citizens in the states, but also citizens from the Netherlands, Ireland, and the United Kingdom who expressed discontent for his blatant disregard for the severity of this pandemic.
Pfister perhaps posted the video to try and capitalize on some of the large social media attention that is given to the virus, as many TikTok and Instagram influencers are going viral for their “funny” memes and videos about the virus.
While he was trying to capitalize on the possibility of a moment of fame, he also sent a powerful negative message to young followers and mocked the virus as a whole, which the younger generation is already facing harsh criticism for.
This trend of licking objects is a frustrating yet present phenomenon. According to Newsweek, a woman was also arrested in Wisconsin for licking the door handle of a freezer in a restaurant as an “act of protest”. These actions are both dangerous to the individual and to society as a whole; we each have a part in keeping each other safe and stopping the spread of this virus as quickly as possible.
Pfister’s actions, alongside Gen Z-ers who blatantly disregard official’s warnings to increase sanitation practices and practice social distancing, pose a danger to us all. There is no way to flatten the curve without the cooperation of those who appear to be most resistant. This is not Pfister’s first interaction with the law, however. He has previously been charged with burglary, theft, and driving while intoxicated. He is currently in the Warren County jail without bond. Officials will continue to monitor those who act out against current safety protocols and will discipline offenders appropriately.
Sadly, he is not the only person to do something idiotic during these times. There has also been an outbreak of kids trying to go “Viral” by licking toilet seats. And for this influencer, it did not go well: