Coughing In Public Leads To Arrests
In the news the last day or so are two articles about people coughing on someone or something else. Both are from the eastern United States, one in New Jersey, the other in Pennsylvania.
The former was about a man who coughed on a store employee after she asked him to back away (he wasn't practicing proper social distancing). He then laughed and told her he had the coronavirus.
The latter detailed the even grosser antics of a woman in another grocery store who went around "intentionally coughing" on all the produce as well as meat, baked goods, etc., before she was finally removed from the store. She too said she had the coronavirus. The food was all thrown away, an estimated loss of well over $35,000.
Both the man and the woman have been arrested for what is being called acts of terrorism. In the case of the woman, she is being charged for "threatening to use weapons of mass destruction" and making "terroristic threats."
Why We Can't Have Nice Things
I'm sure there are some out there who might find both of these incidences to be funny on some level. I'm sure there are some who feel the coronavirus and its subsequent countermeasures taken are blown out of proportion. Some even think it's a hoax, or a media fabrication of some kind. Some take offense at being told to take precautions.
On the other end of the spectrum, we have another group who is prepared to stop at nothing in the name of neutralizing the spread of the coronavirus. Most of these happen to be people in power or who wield great influence, such as celebrities or CEOs. States and entire countries are being shutdown by the former, while the second group primarily publicly shames any who aren't conforming in a way these feel others should.
The vast majority of the rest us are caught in the middle between these two ideologies, most just wanting to do the right thing, whatever that is. They don't want to get sick, or be responsible for someone else getting sick through negligence or carelessness, but they also want to provide for themselves and their families, want to work, and want to live their lives as they see fit.
Rise Up, Silent Majority!
It's that silent majority that always seems to be caught in the middle. Why is that? Are we just too busy, too adverse to conflict, too uncertain of which way to go, too naive or too much like sheep that we need to be told what to do or how to think?
Maybe it's a combination of a lot of things, but I for one am getting rather fed up with one side or another trying to pull or push me in their direction. I'm not a rope in a tug of war. And I'm not a villain if I don't automatically join your cause or shun someone else's.
I think it's time that those of us who are stuck in the middle stood up and demanded that both fringes quit acting like idiots or dispense with the histrionics and do things that are more proportional to whatever the problem is, and handle it accordingly. Not out of fear. Not out of contempt, anger or frustration.
A $2 Trillion Bailout
In the United States, Congress will soon pass a massive stimulus package that will see up to $1,200 USD sent to individuals or up to $2,400 being sent to couples who have filed taxes jointly, along with $500 for each child they might have. It will bolster unemployment benefits in each state, and provide a fund for small businesses to bring their employees back to work. There are plenty of other things included, of course, that are unrelated or barely related to softening the economic downturn, but could you expect otherwise?
Here's the thing, though. As despicable as that might sound, there will be plenty of normal every day citizens who will benefit from all of these provisions, be they related or not. I've not heard nearly as many people questioning whether such a stimulus package should be done, as how much, and how soon can it get here.
This bill passed the Senate unanimously, and President Trump is expected to sign it without hesitation.
And after he does, the American and corporate taxpayer will be on the hook for all of it. Every penny of it will be borrowed and be added to the trillions already owed. There is already no way that every living man, woman and child in the U.S. could possibly pay back their share of the debt and unfunded liabilities before this, and so let's go ahead and dump on some more!
Never Mind How This All Came To Be
The virus may well have originated in the Wuhan District of China, and Chinese officials from all levels of government certainly played a role in trying to cover it up, until it became evident that something was happening and it could no longer be contained, either as a viral illness or as a viral story. In their sterilization efforts, they either inadvertently or purposefully wiped out everything that could have been used to study this new virus from the source, and potentially worked on containment provisions or even a cure so much faster.
All of that, and what they may or may not be doing now to tamp down what's actually going on there with new cases and deaths, is on China.
That Said The Rest Is On Us
However, the woefully unprepared and then what I believe to be out of proportion response to the virus is on the rest of the world.
All governments at least on the federal level must have known about the virus and were advised of its potential threat as early as January. And yet, its threat was either ignored or downplayed long enough for it to get out of Wuhan and spread.
And even if they were slow to realize this, there are still the predecessors of this virus, MERS and SARS. This isn't the first time a coronavirus has caused some level of concern. This new strain might be the most pernicious yet, but that doesn't excuse a lack of preparation for it.
Getting Lost In All Of This
I don't need to be a conspiracy theorist to say what follows. Governments were not prepared for this virus, their countermeasures were slow and within too short a period of time have become disproportional to what the threat might actually be, and certainly could have been were their proper procedures in place and they were deployed properly and in a timely manner.
Coronavirus isn't a hoax, but that doesn't mean that there aren't those, individuals and organizations, that are taking advantage of the situation. A lot of it is cover your backside, definitely. They might not be responsible for creating the virus, but they did not respond quickly enough to stop its spread, which includes being ready to test for it and therefore adequately assess its contagiousness. Ignoring or downplaying did not help. Panicking and providing an outsized response afterwards by shutting down businesses, and thus entire economies and effectively shutting in people in their homes may stop the spread of the virus, but the economic ramifications of it may just make things worse than they would have been otherwise.
The response to that, at least in the US (and surely more governments will follow), is to throw money at it. Use the current crisis, which they are very much culpable for, to spend a boatload of money that can't possibly be paid for. Not for generations, anyway, and that's if not another dime were spent, which simply isn't going to happen.
We Get What We Deserve
The vocal minorities on either end of the spectrum have been driving the narrative too long, and the growing debacle of the coronavirus is no different. By sitting back and letting those who would call it a hoax or downplay its potential excuse their egregious actions in any situation (coughing intentionally on anything or anyone at any time is idiotic even if it isn't somehow a matter of public safety), only gives the other side who don't need much of an excuse to exercise their authority and clamp down on all of us.
Allowing shutdowns, even for the greater good, at the expense of everything else, including the financial well-being and livelihood of everyone concerned, is just as bad. Oh, how so easily we have been led by the nose like cattle or sheep. Too few of us have voiced any loud opinion on this. Few of us have said enough is enough. We've allowed these officials to take over and enact extreme measures even though they were slow to act in the first place and therefore greatly to blame for its spread.
We've been quicker to turn our fellow citizen, who should no better, than we have on the public official who now controls our every move. And, worse yet, we will probably end up praising them for sending us ransom money, all the while cancelling our futures, and that of children and grandchildren and probably grandchildren and beyond because we are now condemned to even more economic servitude.
Not A Conspiracy Theory If It's True
If anyone ever wanted to take control of us through martial law, they now know they can. If they ever wanted to put us so far into debt that we couldn't possibly dig our way out of it, and to save us, nationalize all industries, they're one step closer to doing that. If they ever wanted to use the common safety and welfare of all to control everything we do—from bearing arms, to what we eat, if we can drive, and more—they now know it's entirely possible. And they even know how to do it, because they're doing it now.
And they can also see just how docile we can be, and how they can use useful idiots from any side of the conversation to keep us in check.
And we've got no one to blame this on but ourselves. From not demanding better preparation, to knowing the facts for ourselves, for the people on all levels of government we elect, and for keeping them accountable for what they do and who they employ to do it.
Our own oversights, lack of vigilance, blind trust in public officials, trivial pursuits or constant running to provide for ourselves and our families, no matter how justified they may be, will ultimately be our downfall. We may not lose our lives this time, but we are much closer to losing all our freedoms than ever before.
And we will have no one else to blame but ourselves.
Decentralization And Crypto
There's a reason why cryptocurrencies exist, and why so many are coming to understand the need for decentralization in every sense of it. It is because of these kinds of situations and the responses to them. Crypto doesn't just exist as a means to make a quick buck. It has a far loftier mission.
We just have to recognize it, foster it, then get out of its way.
Images source—Pixabay, STEEM brand page