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The events of the past few days have reshuffled the deck on the pandemic response. Social distancing is going out the window in many places even as masks are repurposed to disguise rioters. Lockdown? What lockdown? Law enforcement of social distancing is being disregarded without consequence. In an instant, our fear of disease is being placed in an entirely different context.
The evidence has been showing what the South Beach partiers in March knew instinctively: COVID-19 is a disease of the old and infirm, so let’s party, riot, tailgate, whatever. Where is the Karenwaffe to control the rioters? They are absent. They are gone. Maybe they have donned their masks and joined the crowd.
Somehow the disease was scarier than poverty to the Karenwaffe. That is because the Karenwaffe had financial resources (or promises thereof) not available to the barbers and hairdressers and nail persons and wait staff. But rioting against police brutality for something other than keeping people in house arrest, now that’s a cause that the Karenwaffe can get behind or simply let slide without comment. Those nasty shops and small businesses that should never be operating during a pandemic being burned and looted? Well, that’s just citizen action to enforce good public health policy.
The MSM has a new thing to push clicks and views, so scary pandemic numbers have disappeared. No time for speculation about how resuming businesses will make people ill when there are burning buildings and cars to broadcast. No debate about anything health-related. We’ve got something new to fear and fascinate.
Just as ordering us home to avoid a deadly disease promoted rethinking our priorities when the promised apocalypse was nigh, so now the riots and disorder promote rethinking the last apocalypse within the context of the new apocalypse. As Samuel Johnson is reputed to have said:
Depend upon it, sir, when a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully.
So now that we have had our minds concentrated wonderfully, where are our minds taking us?
[Note: Links to all my COVID-19 posts can be found here.]Published in