A term which took on a new meaning during the early 90's when a "disgruntled postal worker” took an automatic fire arm to work and mowed down everyone in sight. It was later discovered through poling and other scientific studies, that being a postal worker is the second most depressing job a person can have (next to dentistry). Now when you enter the post office you see a comparatively more cheerful environment as I have noticed. The workers play the radio loud and have pictures and decorations up around their stations.

So basically, when someone is said to have "gone postal" it either figuratively means that they got very angry and most probably yelled or it literally means they opened fire with a gun on a mass of innocent people. Fun fun.

Also, a video game. The game environment was rendered with hand drawn backgrounds a poorly modeled polygonal characters which ran around, some with guns and some without. The premise was bleedingly simple: you are a nameless man who returns home one day to find you've been evicted. Despite being locked out of your home, you are amazingly well armed. You, apparently, snap at that point and let the ideas which you have been writing in your journal (which you read as each level loads) come to reality. Here's the journal entry for the first level: "The earth is hungry. The heart needs cleansing. The earth is also thirsty." This combined with some truly creep atmospheric music tracks and splash screens which are just damn evil (the main menu has a backdrop of a lone figure standing in a sea of skulls, rendered in blurry earth tones). Aside from all the atmosphere, this game is really boring, and the gameplay can't measure up to anything that's currently on the market.

The first instance of someone "going postal" was on August 20, 1986. Patrick Henry Sherrill was a part-time mail man in Edmond, Oklahoma. He had received a number of disciplinary notices from his supervisors for misdirected mail and customer complaints. He began to suspect he was on the verge of being fired. On August 19th he filed a complaint with his union steward, alleging harassment by his bosses. The next day, he decided not to wait for the union to file the customary grievances. He decided to handle his job grievances with hot lead. He walked into his postal station with three guns (two were 7-shot Colt 45 pistols) and methodically executed 14 coworkers and wounded 6 before putting a bullet in his own head.

Sherrill was described by some as the archetypal "quiet, kept to himself" worker/neighbor. Others knew him as "crazy Pete", a guy who thought the neighbor kids were always laughing at him. He did not mix well with his coworkers. Most found the 44-year old distant and even rude. At previous jobs, a number of women coworkers complained about his sexual harassment, which included him rubbing himself up against women. He was an ex-Marine who, before the killing, was working on his marksmanship skills with the Air National Guard. The ammo and two of the guns he used for his butchery were signed out from the local guard armory.

At that time, Sherrill's postal rampage was the third worst mass murder in US history, eclipsed only by the 21 people James Oliver Huberty bagged in a McDonald's and tying Dead Eye Charles Whitman's body count of 14 (although Whitman tagged 14 from a Texas bell tower... most of Sherrill's victims were blown away at point blank range).

Three years later (almost to the day ... August 10, 1989) John Merlin Taylor shot up his Orange Glen, California postal station. He killed 2 and wounded another before taking his own life. Before his postal rampage he shot his wife.

Then two years later on October 11, 1991, Joseph M Harris was fired from his postal job at a Ridgewood, New Jersey station. He went to the home of his former supervisor and shot her to death plus her boyfriend. He then proceeded to his former place of employment and shot dead two mail carriers in the parking lot as they were arriving from work. Harris, in this case, did not take his own life. He received a death sentence but died while on death row.

Post"al (?), a. [Cf. F. postal.]

Belonging to the post office or mail service; as, postal arrangements; postal authorities.

Postal card, ∨ Post card, a card sold by the government for transmission through the mails, at a lower rate of postage than a sealed letter. The message is written on one side of the card, and the direction on the other. -- Postal money order. See Money order, under Money. -- Postal note, an order payable to bearer, for a sum of money (in the United States less than five dollars under existing law), issued from one post office and payable at another specified office. -- Postal Union, a union for postal purposes entered into by the most important powers, or governments, which have agreed to transport mail matter through their several territories at a stipulated rate.


© Webster 1913.

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