Eric Wourinen had one really bad week this summer. Wourinen underwent a very public and disturbing psychological breakdown during which he threatened several random strangers unknown to him. Since Wourinen was a very muscular bodybuilder weighing approximately 280 pounds, he instantly became the police poster boy for “roid rage”.
A spokesperson with the Springfield Police Department (SPD) reported that Wourinen had acted aggressively towards several individuals during the second week in July 2018.
Wourinen frightened several people, including women and children, when he paraded through the Chase Bank parking lot and drive-thru while flexing his muscles, yelling obscenities, making threats and forcibly opening the car doors of bank customers on July 9, 2018.
Wourinen also threatened and accosted several gym members at International Fitness gym on July 13, 2018. Wourinen reportedly acted out against the gym members in what was described as a territorial dispute over the gym equipment.
At one point during this period, Wourinen was taken into custody by police at gunpoint during an incident that temporarily closed the westbound lanes of the Randy Pape Beltline. Wourinen had exited his vehicle and flexed his muscles for the cops while challenging officers to shoot him or taser him. Wourinen eventually surrendered when he saw the officer prepare to fire a “beanbag round” from his shotgun.
Wourinen was taken into custody by Springfield Police and charged with one count of disorderly conduct, three counts of menacing and a single count of unlawful entry into a motor vehicle for his actions at Chase Bank. Police plan on filing additional charges against Wourinen based his actions at International Fitness.
It was easy for the Springfield Police Department to blame steroids and “roid rage” for Wourinen’s actions. It fits nicely into the widely accepted narrative that steroids inevitably cause aggressive behavior. It gives life to the expression “roid rage” with images of big muscular bodybuilders threatening the public safety.
Wourinen clearly has some mental health issues and hopefully he can receive the necessary psychological intervention to help him recover. Unfortunately, Wourinen’s actions make steroid users look bad by reinforcing pervasive negative stereotypes involving bodybuilders and aggressive behavior.
Wourinen may not have been able to control his actions but his case highlights how public perception of steroid users (and bodybuilders in general) are often shaped by the actions of a few. Bodybuilders should take note that their actions can give steroid users a bad name. They should think twice about giving ammunition to anti-steroid crusaders and anyone else who seeks to promote negative stereotypes about bodybuilders.