On the Anniversary of “Grandma Killer” and Empathy

 

One year ago today, my name trended on Twitter for a full day with the phrase “Grandma killer” because of this thread:

In the thread, I warned about the total destruction of our society if we continued to remain under total lockdown. What we were promised, two weeks to slow the spread (in order to secure enough ventilators and PPE) had turned into an indefinite situation, and nobody was willing to put an endpoint on the crisis. Was it a vaccine? If so, we were in for sure ruin.

Here we are, a year later, and miraculously, we have a vaccine available to any adult who wants it (thank you Operation Warp Speed!). And yet, in my county at least, we are still expected to mask outdoors and indoor dining is still limping along at 25 or 50% (I can’t keep track). What is the end for my county, the home of the hero Dr. Anthony Fauci? We had 14 new cases today and one death, it feels like this is our new status quo.

Of late, I’ve been reading a lot of people talk about having “empathy” for those for whom readjusting to post-pandemic life is proving difficult. Recently in her fabulous Substack, my friend Bari Weiss wrote,

In other words, once we are stuck inside it is very hard to unstick ourselves. I’m trying to remind myself of this truth when I find myself wanting to berate friends who, fully vaccinated, look at me with crazy eyes when I suggest coming over for dinner. PTSD might be too strong a descriptor, but it’s not so far off either.

So try to have empathy for friends like these, who are having a hard time unlocking lockdown. But also: it’s ok to ignore their judgment and not waste a moment second-guessing having dinner with other vaccinated friends.

Respectfully, no, I’m sorry, I cannot feel empathy for most of these folks. The Venn Diagram of people who cannot find themselves able to go into a restaurant and those who have cheered the lockdowns of the last fourteen months are a near-total overlap. It’s these folks who have stayed mostly silent over the last year+ when at least 17% of restaurants closed (that was according to a study released in December), as remote learning and social distancing has destroyed an entire generation of mostly poor kids, our local zoo was irrevocably wrecked, and more. Lives have been destroyed this past year, small businesses brought to ruin, and I’ve yet to see much empathy about the situation from those who have spent the year Zooming into their jobs from their couches with pajama bottoms on.

I’m angry that we’re here a year later, with not one, not two, but three different vaccines on the market, and I’m expected to feel sorry not for the people who lost everything, but for those who at best stayed silent, and at worst loudly cheered the “necessity” of the lockdowns across the country.

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  1. BillJackson Coolidge
    BillJackson
    @BillJackson

    So you’ve hit the nail on the head that the people who we should feel sorry for are those who had their businesses wrecked.

    I’ll go a step further and suggest organizations such as teachers’ unions and government workers who never missed a paycheck and (in the case of many of the government workers) flat-out didn’t have to do their jobs … deserve scorn. Shame. Derision. And don’t even get me started on the governors, mayors, health officials who preached one thing and did the opposite.

    But. 

    I don’t want to go back to my office. This is NOT to say I’m pro-lockdown. I want crowded restaurants, busy sidewalks, noise and all of that back. Not that I take part in those things — I’m a quiet loner — but it’s the way the world should be. 

    But I’ve proven I can do my job for 14 months now, without having to sit in a room with 100 other people. And, frankly, I’m tired of working in an open-floorplan office while the people who make the rules have offices they can retreat into and shut their doors when they need to concentrate. Or have a drink. Or sleep one off. Or whatever it is they do back there. 

    Further one of my greatest failings is I have a temper and my emotions always show. Being able to have quiet, a place to vent and not have it be seen by anyone else has helped my career. I’m not afraid of the germs — as some of my former friends are — I’m afraid of who I am as a person being the problem when we all “go back.”

    So I haven’t cheered the lockdowns, but I know, selfishly … shamefully … that they’ve helped me. And I wouldn’t ask for pity, but there’s a spectrum of people who have different reasons to not be champing at the bit to run back to a loud, crowded world. 

    • #1
  2. Charlotte Member
    Charlotte
    @Charlotte

    BillJackson (View Comment):
    And I wouldn’t ask for pity, but there’s a spectrum of people who have different reasons to not be champing at the bit to run back to a loud, crowded world. 

    I don’t think Bethany’s complaint is about those who don’t run back themselves. She is rightly angry at those who would prevent others from running back. Big difference.

    • #2
  3. OccupantCDN Coolidge
    OccupantCDN
    @OccupantCDN

    Bethany Mandel: It’s these folks who have stayed mostly silent over the last year+ when at least 17% of restaurants closed (that was according to a study released in December), as remote learning and social distancing has destroyed an entire generation of mostly poor kids, our local zoo was irrevocably wrecked, and more. Lives have been destroyed this past year, small businesses brought to ruin, and I’ve yet to see much empathy about the situation from those who have spent the year Zooming into their jobs from their couches with pajama bottoms on.

    Not to mention the 3 to 4 million children (mostly poor, mostly ethnic) who have completely disappeared from any education. These kids have lost more than a year of education that they wont get back.

    This is the greatest public policy error since WW i.

    • #3
  4. Henry Racette Contributor
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    Amen, sister!

    I was thinking today that I’d like to find out what the Killing Grandma Index (KGI) is for a quick unmasked trip to an uncrowded gym at 9pm. How does it compare to a drive to the convenience store for a gallon of milk (because every mile you drive creates some finite, if minute, risk to any number of beloved Grandmas; it isn’t only COVID that kills people), or, my G-d!, a family trip to Disneyland, or a classroom full of unmasked six year olds?

    I loved my grandmothers, and they’re both gone — gone long before COVID. Life has to go on.

    • #4
  5. JoelB Member
    JoelB
    @JoelB

    as remote learning and social distancing has destroyed an entire generation of mostly poor kids,

    I think that statement is more than a little over the top. Take a deep breath. This is not a war, famine, or ethnic genocide. This is kids missing  nine months of school. They miss three months out of every year anyway.Human beings are much more resilient than all of that. What has happened is hurtful and incredibly stupid, but these kids were not dragged across the border by coyotes and thrown in a holding cell. If we worry about kids missing school, let’s make sure that they have a school worth going back to. From what I have heard about some of the schools, they might not be missing much. When we say that being out of school for a year is a disaster we buy into the progressive lie that only the government can educate and take care of our kids properly. 

    • #5
  6. OccupantCDN Coolidge
    OccupantCDN
    @OccupantCDN

    Whats really sad about this, is that we’re diminishing the productive lives of the young – who are mostly not at risk of covid – for those who’s productive lives have mostly ended. ((Not that grand parents arent grand people and we shouldn’t do everything possible to protect them))… In Alberta we’re now in our 3rd 3week lock down. If past lock downs work why are we doing it again? If past lock downs didnt work, why are we doing it again?

    It just seems like they’re out of ideas, but have an untold chorus of do something! ringing in their ears… So here… here is something! Enjoy some of this!

    When my grandfather was in his 80s and he lived in a high rise apartment building – he would say, if there is a fire, dont send the firemen up for us. Dont risk a young man to save an old one. I am sure that if he where still alive he’d be horrified at the lives being risked and lost – for no measurable safety to the lives on the other side of the equation.

    • #6
  7. EB Thatcher
    EB
    @EB

    JoelB (View Comment):
    This is kids missing  nine months of school.

    Your kids, maybe, but how about the kids whose parents were never very good about getting their kids to school, but had to because of the law.  Or the kids whose parents lost their subsistence level jobs and just took off (with the kids maybe) but are now lost to the school rolls and may never return. Or the kids who were barely making it in school but hung on and now have lost the little progress they had made.  Or the kids who were not great at school, but were a year away from a high school diploma and will never go back because after a year off – why bother?

    I think the year off from school has been bad for all of the children, but for the children of the poor – very possibly a tragedy.

     

    • #7
  8. JennaStocker Member
    JennaStocker
    @JennaStocker

    There have been so many unintended consequences of these extended lockdowns. The protection of the middle aged, well-off and policy makers at the expense of our most vulnerable: the elderly, disabled, and kids. I’m an ‘essential worker’. I went to my job every single day of this thing (thankfully, considering how many lost their jobs), but I’ve never been more disheartened about my fellow Americans by the craven and self-serving attitudes of people who had the luxury of sitting at home and making demands of the rest of us. I can’t tell you how many teachers in their PJ’s yelled at me for not having the only food their cat eats! Or screaming at me because another shopper wasn’t masked. Learn something about the supply chain – another major disruption that negatively affects hunger around the world. A lot of kids in poor areas of my city were left home alone while parents worked – leading to a increased crime directed at them, and being perpetrated by them. No, it’s time we stop acquiescing to the most safety-extreme because it’s considerate, or to make everyone feel better. It erodes our sense of rationality and reason – and freedom.

    • #8
  9. WI Con Member
    WI Con
    @WICon

    JoelB (View Comment):

    as remote learning and social distancing has destroyed an entire generation of mostly poor kids,

    I think that statement is more than a little over the top. Take a deep breath. This is not a war, famine, or ethnic genocide. This is kids missing nine months of school. They miss three months out of every year anyway.Human beings are much more resilient than all of that. What has happened is hurtful and incredibly stupid, but these kids were not dragged across the border by coyotes and thrown in a holding cell…”

    Well done @bethanymandel! I agree & liked both your point @joelb but also the comment you cited in your response. Yes, kids are resilient. Yes, those schools where poor kids & minority kids are missing 9 months of “education” probably aren’t missing much. Yes, there is definately the progressive lie that only government can educate & take care of kids, but I also agree with Bethany’s point and don’t find it over the top.

    If I recall the statistic correctly, minority kids are reading at 6th grade levels (on average) after graduating from 8th grade. So now they’ll be reading at a 5th grade level (or worse) at 8th grade?

    This post and thread is one of the best in a while and captures the disgust, anger & bitterness I’ve been feeling since we (the Ricochet community) were fighting about The Lockdowns after “Two Weeks to Stop the Spread” and there were those of us that felt the lockdowns were reasonable and those of us (myself included) who wanted to open up this time last year were accused of “killing grandma!”… This ruinous policy that has destroyed millions of jobs, costs trillions of borrowed/printed dollars that may finally sink us, set back & psychologically damaged hundreds of  thousands (?) of kids, bankrupted Lord knows how many businesses, actually killed thousands(?)/tens of thousands (?) of elderly & immunocompromized people because cheap, effective (if given early after diagnosis) “antimalarials” (AKA – the all but “Fauccian banned Trump endorsed Hydroxychloroquine!”) didn’t add to the Big Pharma’s bottom line for a virus that: yes, is a killer, yes is contagious, yes – does real damage to lung tissue of those susceptable BUT still, after all this time, after all we’ve learned is still only marginally more deadly than the common flu.

    I am trying to be gracious toward those who had genuine reason to be worried about themselves and their loved ones & people they don’t even know but we were right. We are pissed! Open back up already!

     

    • #9
  10. WI Con Member
    WI Con
    @WICon

    JennaStocker (View Comment):

    There have been so many unintended consequences of these extended lockdowns. The protection of the middle aged, well-off and policy makers at the expense of our most vulnerable: the elderly, disabled, and kids. I’m an ‘essential worker’. I went to my job every single day of this thing (thankfully, considering how many lost their jobs), but I’ve never been more disheartened about my fellow Americans by the craven and self-serving attitudes of people who had the luxury of sitting at home and making demands of the rest of us. I can’t tell you how many teachers in their PJ’s yelled at me for not having the only food their cat eats! Or screaming at me because another shopper wasn’t masked. Learn something about the supply chain – another major disruption that negatively affects hunger around the world. A lot of kids in poor areas of my city were left home alone while parents worked – leading to a increased crime directed at them, and being perpetrated by them. No, it’s time we stop acquiescing to the most safety-extreme because it’s considerate, or to make everyone feel better. It erodes our sense of rationality and reason – and freedom.

    Oh @jennastocker – you are awsome! I had to go to Minneapolis (Eagan) on short notice for work the day the Officer Chauvin verdict was in. Met a dear old friend after work was done for a drinks and dinner. He got there before me, I go in – fumbling to put on my face diaper, we hug each other (obvious two old buddies that haven’t seen each other for a long time) and the bartender (nice enough guy) says I have to put a mask on. I’m still fumbling, looking at what’s on tap and the waitress like 20 seconds later asks (nicely) to put on a mask and what will I have. I lose it! The whole country is holding its breath over that damned verdict and the “Sainted George Floyd – Peace be Upon Him”. I rip the mask of – tell her “nothing!” My buddy backs me 100% and we go somewhere else and have a great visit.

    Enough of this stuff! It is just a farce now – a pathetic (delusional?) lie we’re being suppresed into complying with.

    I highly reccommend Steave Deace’s “A Faucian Bargain – The Most Powerful and Dangerous Bureaucrat in American History”.

    Faucci should be in jail or worse. America’s Dr. Mengele.

    • #10
  11. BillJackson Coolidge
    BillJackson
    @BillJackson

    Charlotte (View Comment):

    BillJackson (View Comment):
    And I wouldn’t ask for pity, but there’s a spectrum of people who have different reasons to not be champing at the bit to run back to a loud, crowded world.

    I don’t think Bethany’s complaint is about those who don’t run back themselves. She is rightly angry at those who would prevent others from running back. Big difference.

    Interesting. I didn’t see any such indication in her post at all, obviously. I’m probably wrong/misreading. I agree with everything she’s written so far, so it’s probably the end of a long day.

    • #11
  12. Buckpasser Member
    Buckpasser
    @Buckpasser

    You of course were right about the STATE gleefully bankrupting small business and ,yes, making sure that a generation of kids will be left behind.  I will make sure when I talk to my mother (86) this Sunday I will apologize for killing her at our Thanksgiving reunion last year when all 30 of us (no masks and hugs and kisses all around) had a great and normal time.

    • #12
  13. D.A. Venters Member
    D.A. Venters
    @DAVenters

    I thoroughly agree that with the vaccines available to whoever wants one, and the numbers coming down, that remaining restrictions should be lifted.  I also agree that schools should have been open all year.  My kids went to school full time all year and it does not seem to have caused any problems (as far as we know).  In a lot of places, the restrictions really haven’t been too onerous since last summer.

    It’s worth pointing out, however, that a couple hundred thousand grandmas did get killed by this virus (or some huge number).  It’s not often that a brand new contagious disease lands out of nowhere and starts killing thousands of people.  There are a lot of people out there who unwittingly did kill a relative, and many of them know that. (Look at the post-holiday spike).  That’s the kind of thing that’s going to freak people out and traumatize them.  My point is not to advocate for any particular economy destroying response or defend any particular policy, I’m only explaining why I do have some sympathy for those who are still concerned, as much as I might disagree with them on what should be done.  Just as an example, my son, who is in 5th grade, just this past week had a classmate whose father died from Covid – under 40.  It’s horrifying.  So, you never know what people are dealing with out there.  By all means, stick to your guns on your opinions, but let empathy, sympathy, etc… be your default position when dealing with those who disagree with them.

    • #13
  14. Franco Member
    Franco
    @Franco

    D.A. Venters (View Comment):
    It’s worth pointing out, however, that a couple hundred thousand grandmas did get killed by this virus (or some huge number).  It’s not often that a brand new contagious disease lands out of nowhere and starts killing thousands of people.  There are a lot of people out there who unwittingly did kill a relative, and many of them know that.

    This is an absolutely disgusting way to look at the world. I feel sorry for you – sorta.

    We really don’t know the real numbers and what the actual cause of these deaths were. In almost every case, there was never just one cause of death. So who killed Granda by not addressing the comorbidtities to the point where a virus that doesn’t affect healthy people is the straw that broke the camel’s back?? Did you not keep Grandma from overeating her whole life? 

    No one “killed” anyone. Grandmas and Pa’s all died of natural causes – or if it’s unnatural, blame the Chinese Communist Party and/or the funding of the Wuhan Labs by Fauci himself.

    It’s natural to gather for Thanksgiving and hug people. It’s natural to drive 70 mph on a highway. If you have a fatal accident going that speed, the liberal speed limit was not the cause of your death, and those who voted for and supported such speed limits were not responsible for anyone’s death either.

     

    • #14
  15. Franco Member
    Franco
    @Franco

    I also have no empathy for people who get their news from sources like CNN, MSNBC,  Fox, or any mainstream outlet and don’t did deeper. These people are causing a boatload of harm in every dimension. They are worked-up, angry, alarmed, paranoid, and hold a near-complete false consciousness about what’ going on in the world. And they act on that false ‘knowledge”.

    I say, Put a Mask on Your Television

    That will be one way to employ one of these pathetic things usefully.

    • #15
  16. Henry Racette Contributor
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    D.A. Venters (View Comment):

    I thoroughly agree that with the vaccines available to whoever wants one, and the numbers coming down, that remaining restrictions should be lifted. I also agree that schools should have been open all year. My kids went to school full time all year and it does not seem to have caused any problems (as far as we know). In a lot of places, the restrictions really haven’t been too onerous since last summer.

    It’s worth pointing out, however, that a couple hundred thousand grandmas did get killed by this virus (or some huge number). It’s not often that a brand new contagious disease lands out of nowhere and starts killing thousands of people. There are a lot of people out there who unwittingly did kill a relative, and many of them know that. (Look at the post-holiday spike). That’s the kind of thing that’s going to freak people out and traumatize them. My point is not to advocate for any particular economy destroying response or defend any particular policy, I’m only explaining why I do have some sympathy for those who are still concerned, as much as I might disagree with them on what should be done. Just as an example, my son, who is in 5th grade, just this past week had a classmate whose father died from Covid – under 40. It’s horrifying. So, you never know what people are dealing with out there. By all means, stick to your guns on your opinions, but let empathy, sympathy, etc… be your default position when dealing with those who disagree with them.

    Yes, the grief is real for those who have lost loved ones. And the fear is real, particularly for those — far too many — who have an unrealistic sense of the danger this bug represents. But the damage done and being done unnecessarily is also real, and grief and the fear of grief can’t be allowed to drive policy and silence dissent.

    The fact that there is a “Fauci” — that is, that there is anyone in a position that straddles science and policy, who can admit being deceitful and justify it as a prudent compromise, and who is accountable only to political cowards desperate for someone to absolve them of their responsibility — is grotesque. Similarly, the silencing of dissent is grotesque. The villains in this piece aren’t the grieving relatives, nor are they the irrational and ignorant terror-struck citizens, nor even the people who innocently pursued bad policy in the earliest days, but rather those who architected and defend politicized science and the suppression of a robust discussion about policy.

    Unfortunately, that leaves those who would counsel a responsible path forward in a tough spot. As long as fear and shame are weaponized to justify bad policy, as they are right now in the “you’ll kill grandma” mantra (which I’ve personally had thrown at me), any response is going to sound like selfish disinterest in the welfare of the elderly and at risk. And as long as dissenting views are actively suppressed, those willing to dissent are going to sound like radicals, rather than merely another perspective on a complex problem.

    The deaths are sad. The loss of free speech and civil liberties is tragic. More need to speak out.

    • #16
  17. D.A. Venters Member
    D.A. Venters
    @DAVenters

    Franco (View Comment):

    D.A. Venters (View Comment):
    It’s worth pointing out, however, that a couple hundred thousand grandmas did get killed by this virus (or some huge number). It’s not often that a brand new contagious disease lands out of nowhere and starts killing thousands of people. There are a lot of people out there who unwittingly did kill a relative, and many of them know that.

    This is an absolutely disgusting way to look at the world. I feel sorry for you – sorta.

    We really don’t know the real numbers and what the actual cause of these deaths were. In almost every case, there was never just one cause of death. So who killed Granda by not addressing the comorbidtities to the point where a virus that doesn’t affect healthy people is the straw that broke the camel’s back?? Did you not keep Grandma from overeating her whole life?

    No one “killed” anyone. Grandmas and Pa’s all died of natural causes – or if it’s unnatural, blame the Chinese Communist Party and/or the funding of the Wuhan Labs by Fauci himself.

    It’s natural to gather for Thanksgiving and hug people. It’s natural to drive 70 mph on a highway. If you have a fatal accident going that speed, the liberal speed limit was not the cause of your death, and those who voted for and supported such speed limits were not responsible for anyone’s death either.

    Yes, it’s all natural and all accidental.  No doubt about it.  People inadvertently, through a lack of caution but with no ill will, hurt or kill other people all the time.  But just because it happens all the time, and is just a part of life in this universe, doesn’t mean people don’t feel guilty for it.  And that’s because they often could have prevented it if they had made a different decision.  For some people, that different decision might have been just pausing an extra second at a stop sign, for others, that might have been just skipping Thanksgiving this year when they weren’t feeling very good.  I’m only describing an actual phenomenon.  Maybe it is a “disgusting way to look at the world,” but I think it is just acknowledging a fact.  A fact I only bring up to help explain why people may have what appears to be an extreme reaction to the virus, and why some sympathy for them might be warranted.

     

     

    • #17
  18. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Bethany Mandel: Of late, I’ve been reading a lot of people talk about having “empathy” for those for whom readjusting to post-pandemic life is proving difficult.

    Okay.

    .

    .

    .

    There. Done. Anything anyone can’t deal with at this point is their own problem.

    • #18
  19. Franco Member
    Franco
    @Franco

    D.A. Venters (View Comment):
    But just because it happens all the time, and is just a part of life in this universe, doesn’t mean people don’t feel guilty for it.  And that’s because they often could have prevented it if they had made a different decision.  For some people, that different decision might have been just pausing an extra second at a stop sign, for others, that might have been just skipping Thanksgiving this year when they weren’t feeling very good.  I’m only describing an actual phenomenon. 

    This whole concept is fallacious. Know why? Because we don’t know what would’ve happened had we paused an extra second at the stop sign. Something worse could have followed. We are not in such control. Certainly we can be cautious. But over-caution has inherent risks as well. We are talking here about the massive unintended (possibly intended) consequences on millions due to an unscientific over-reaction. It’s the illusion of control we have, or want to have that brings us people like Fauci.

    And you are helping perpetuate this fallacy by implying  that people might have some justification to feel guilty. Where does it begin? And where does it end?

    If your nephew came to you and said, “I feel really bad my Grandma died. It turned out I had covid at Thanksgiving and if only I hadn’t gone, or hadn’t hugged her, she’s be alive today.” What would you say?

    I know what I’d say. I’d say, first you don’t know that she got it from you, or if she stayed in her care facility she wouldn’t have gotten it. Your Grandmother was 88 years old and had a lot of things wrong with her. She probably would have died in the next 6 months anyway, at least she got to see her family one last time, which I imagine would have been her preference anyway. Now act like a man and stop this silly speculation, like you have so much control over events that are way beyond your abilities! 

     

    • #19
  20. D.A. Venters Member
    D.A. Venters
    @DAVenters

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    D.A. Venters (View Comment):

    It’s worth pointing out, however, that a couple hundred thousand grandmas did get killed by this virus (or some huge number). It’s not often that a brand new contagious disease lands out of nowhere and starts killing thousands of people. There are a lot of people out there who unwittingly did kill a relative, and many of them know that. (Look at the post-holiday spike). That’s the kind of thing that’s going to freak people out and traumatize them. My point is not to advocate for any particular economy destroying response or defend any particular policy, I’m only explaining why I do have some sympathy for those who are still concerned, as much as I might disagree with them on what should be done. Just as an example, my son, who is in 5th grade, just this past week had a classmate whose father died from Covid – under 40. It’s horrifying. So, you never know what people are dealing with out there. By all means, stick to your guns on your opinions, but let empathy, sympathy, etc… be your default position when dealing with those who disagree with them.

    Yes, the grief is real for those who have lost loved ones. And the fear is real, particularly for those — far too many — who have an unrealistic sense of the danger this bug represents. But the damage done and being done unnecessarily is also real, and grief and the fear of grief can’t be allowed to drive policy and silence dissent.

    I agree with this for the most part.  Again, my point is only in defense of having sympathy for, or empathizing with, people who do have that fear.  We all have our irrational fears and attachments and loves and hates, and we all expect empathy from our fellow men for having them.  In most situations, it costs nothing to empathize with people, and empathy helps prevent the hardening of hearts and cruelty.  Nothing about empathy means you have to agree with their demands or decline to respond if their irrational fears lead to harm. 

    • #20
  21. D.A. Venters Member
    D.A. Venters
    @DAVenters

    Franco (View Comment):

    D.A. Venters (View Comment):
    But just because it happens all the time, and is just a part of life in this universe, doesn’t mean people don’t feel guilty for it. And that’s because they often could have prevented it if they had made a different decision. For some people, that different decision might have been just pausing an extra second at a stop sign, for others, that might have been just skipping Thanksgiving this year when they weren’t feeling very good. I’m only describing an actual phenomenon.

    This whole concept is fallacious. Know why? Because we don’t know what would’ve happened had we paused an extra second at the stop sign. Something worse could have followed.We are not in such control. Certainly we can be cautious. But over-caution has inherent risks as well.

    Okay, but don’t expect that argument to go over very well with the jury in the personal injury case. 

    And you are helping perpetuate this fallacy by implying that people might have some justification to feel guilty. Where does it begin? And where does it end?

    It’s not a fallacy.  It’s just a description of what happens.  I have no answer for when it begins and ends.  It just begins and ends with each individual’s feelings about it.

    If your nephew came to you and said, “I feel really bad my Grandma died. It turned out I had covid at Thanksgiving and if only I hadn’t gone, or hadn’t hugged her, she’s be alive today.” What would you say?

    I know what I’d say. I’d say, first you don’t know that she got it from you, or if she stayed in her care facility she wouldn’t have gotten it. Your Grandmother was 88 years old and had a lot of things wrong with her. She probably would have died in the next 6 months anyway, at least she got to see her family one last time, which I imagine would have been her preference anyway. Now act like a man and stop this silly speculation, like you have so much control over events that are way beyond your abilities!

    I think that’s a very good response.

     

    • #21
  22. Henry Racette Contributor
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    D.A. Venters (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    D.A. Venters (View Comment):

    It’s worth pointing out, however, that a couple hundred thousand grandmas did get killed by this virus (or some huge number). It’s not often that a brand new contagious disease lands out of nowhere and starts killing thousands of people. There are a lot of people out there who unwittingly did kill a relative, and many of them know that. (Look at the post-holiday spike). That’s the kind of thing that’s going to freak people out and traumatize them. My point is not to advocate for any particular economy destroying response or defend any particular policy, I’m only explaining why I do have some sympathy for those who are still concerned, as much as I might disagree with them on what should be done. Just as an example, my son, who is in 5th grade, just this past week had a classmate whose father died from Covid – under 40. It’s horrifying. So, you never know what people are dealing with out there. By all means, stick to your guns on your opinions, but let empathy, sympathy, etc… be your default position when dealing with those who disagree with them.

    Yes, the grief is real for those who have lost loved ones. And the fear is real, particularly for those — far too many — who have an unrealistic sense of the danger this bug represents. But the damage done and being done unnecessarily is also real, and grief and the fear of grief can’t be allowed to drive policy and silence dissent.

    I agree with this for the most part. Again, my point is only in defense of having sympathy for, or empathizing with, people who do have that fear. We all have our irrational fears and attachments and loves and hates, and we all expect empathy from our fellow men for having them. In most situations, it costs nothing to empathize with people, and empathy helps prevent the hardening of hearts and cruelty. Nothing about empathy means you have to agree with their demands or decline to respond if their irrational fears lead to harm.

    I agree. The challenge comes when the basis for that sympathy and empathy has been weaponized and turned into a moral argument. It takes an awful lot of self control to respond to “you think your inconvenience is more important than my grandmother’s life?” with something thoughtful and temperate about the larger costs of the current policy. I’ve had the grandma card played on me, and I understand the frustration of those who are tired of hearing it.

    • #22
  23. Franco Member
    Franco
    @Franco

    D.A. Venters (View Comment):
    Again, my point is only in defense of having sympathy for, or empathizing with, people who do have that fear.

    Sorry to be so on your case, D. A., but I think we’ve played that game long enough and some of us have very possibly enabled this mindset to harden. Do you feel guilty for enabling them to feel such fear and debilitation?

    Bethany’s point is that the ’empathy’ isn’t really flowing in the other direction. It’s been a one-way street for a year, including being continually insulted by these paranoiacs. Now they can’t quite bring themselves out of their fears and require empathy from us. We haven’t seen these people give out any empathy, sympathy or even goodwill. 

    • #23
  24. D.A. Venters Member
    D.A. Venters
    @DAVenters

    Franco (View Comment):

    D.A. Venters (View Comment):
    Again, my point is only in defense of having sympathy for, or empathizing with, people who do have that fear.

    Sorry to be so on your case, D. A., but I think we’ve played that game long enough and some of us have very possibly enabled this mindset to harden. Do you feel guilty for enabling them to feel such fear and debilitation?

    No, because I have not done that.

    Bethany’s point is that the ’empathy’ isn’t really flowing in the other direction. It’s been a one-way street for a year, including being continually insulted by these paranoiacs. Now they can’t quite bring themselves out of their fears and require empathy from us. We haven’t seen these people give out any empathy, sympathy or even goodwill.

    Empathy absolutely should flow in the other direction, I agree. And it has, as evidenced by the massive spending done to mitigate the economic harm.  Extra unemployment benefits, PPP loans, mortgage forbearance, foreclosure and eviction moratoriums, free grocery pickups, etc…and millions of tiny accommodations and compromises that people have made in every day life to keep things going.

    So, I don’t know who these people are that haven’t given out any empathy, sympathy, or goodwill, to those struggling on the economic side of this, but I’m happy to agree that they should have been.

    • #24
  25. Franco Member
    Franco
    @Franco

    D.A. Venters (View Comment):
    It’s not a fallacy.  It’s just a description of what happens.  I have no answer for when it begins and ends.  It just begins and ends with each individual’s feelings about it.

    It’s not a “description of what happens”. It’s your narrow view of cause and effect without taking any other consideration into account.

    If you are going to promote this “description”, you must then answer more questions, because I and others do not ascribe to your beliefs of when the chain of events begins and ends. That’s your snapshot and focus, but it is a much longer video. You are retroactively taking something out of context and claiming there is no need to look at other factors and contributors.

    In other words, you can’t just take the last thing that happened and call it the “cause’ of the event, which is commonly done, and it is indeed a fallacy. 

    The nephew hugging his grandma did not cause her death. 

     

     

    • #25
  26. WI Con Member
    WI Con
    @WICon

    D.A. Venters (View Comment):

    I thoroughly agree that with the vaccines available to whoever wants one, and the numbers coming down, that remaining restrictions should be lifted. I also agree that schools should have been open all year. My kids went to school full time all year and it does not seem to have caused any problems (as far as we know). In a lot of places, the restrictions really haven’t been too onerous since last summer.

    It’s worth pointing out, however, that a couple hundred thousand grandmas did get killed by this virus (or some huge number). It’s not often that a brand new contagious disease lands out of nowhere and starts killing thousands of people. There are a lot of people out there who unwittingly did kill a relative, and many of them know that. (Look at the post-holiday spike). That’s the kind of thing that’s going to freak people out and traumatize them. My point is not to advocate for any particular economy destroying response or defend any particular policy, I’m only explaining why I do have some sympathy for those who are still concerned, as much as I might disagree with them on what should be done. Just as an example, my son, who is in 5th grade, just this past week had a classmate whose father died from Covid – under 40. It’s horrifying. So, you never know what people are dealing with out there. By all means, stick to your guns on your opinions, but let empathy, sympathy, etc… be your default position when dealing with those who disagree with them.

    Sure, I get that and agree with much of what you stated. My counter argument to that is for those families with elderly members, co-morbidity risks, stay the hell away from them till this thing ‘passed over’. One of my dear cousins died two weeks ago from heart failure- we were lucky to have him as he’d had a heart transplant 7 years ago, his family quarantined him as best we could. Texts, phone calls, he didn’t die of Covid-19, he told his wife he was feeling a little tired and went to bed early. That’s was it, peaceful, 63 years old.

    My kids did not see their grandparents (in person) for 9 months. They finally said “the hell with it! Come on down! This isolation is just as bad’! We’re seeing them again this weekend for Mother’s Day. Looking forward to us all being together (or we may die in a fiery car crash on the way down?). You’ve got to live life.

    • #26
  27. Marythefifth Member
    Marythefifth
    @Marythefifth

    When I first heard about the work stopping for 2 weeks last year, my mind immediately went to the millions of people who live from paycheck to paycheck and for whom a mere 2 weeks without pay can mean months of struggling to catch up, a credit card debt that is hard to shake. And a few seconds later, I thought about the ripple effect of our stoppage and eventually the same around the world on folks who have no safety net and no credit card. What about international aid organizations? Manufacturing and transport of humanitarian or even everyday goods to folks on the margins anywhere in the world? I have to suspect they were all seriously affected and so believe that the lockdowns the US imposed on ourselves may have killed a frightening number of people in the third world even more than it may be possible to “kill grandma” by going maskless in public. I think I’ve seen exactly one article talking about that.

    The mask/distancing/closure in my church is a struggle for me. It is an extension of my family. We’ve been open a year but the fearful rule on perpetual masks even after they’ve been vaccinated. Although they don’t know any better, they are expecting me to participate in the lie that those actions are effective. I chafe too much. There has to be an end to the restrictions (please God), but it’s hard to be kept waiting indefinitely.

    • #27
  28. Henry Racette Contributor
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    Marythefifth (View Comment):

    When I first heard about the work stopping for 2 weeks last year, my mind immediately went to the millions of people who live from paycheck to paycheck and for whom a mere 2 weeks without pay can mean months of struggling to catch up, a credit card debt that is hard to shake. And a few seconds later, I thought about the ripple effect of our stoppage and eventually the same around the world on folks who have no safety net and no credit card. What about international aid organizations? Manufacturing and transport of humanitarian or even everyday goods to folks on the margins anywhere in the world? I have to suspect they were all seriously affected and so believe that the lockdowns the US imposed on ourselves may have killed a frightening number of people in the third world even more than it may be possible to “kill grandma” by going maskless in public. I think I’ve seen exactly one article talking about that.

    The mask/distancing/closure in my church is a struggle for me. It is an extension of my family. We’ve been open a year but the fearful rule on perpetual masks even after they’ve been vaccinated. Although they don’t know any better, they are expecting me to participate in the lie that those actions are effective. I chafe too much. There has to be an end to the restrictions (please God), but it’s hard to be kept waiting indefinitely.

    Mary V, what I’ve read about the impact on the underdeveloped world is alarming. I don’t trust the UN not to inflate its poverty data, but even if they’re significantly exaggerating it’s still bad, with millions pushed deeper into poverty. I have friends in the medical community in Ghana who tell me that the interruption in foreign medical supplies and support is going to have lasting and tragic implications.

    I was being darkly sarcastic about the Killing Grandma Index in my earlier comment, but the point of it was that we don’t have any sense of relative risks, costs, and benefits.

    The failure to discuss costs versus benefits is absurd. I have never seen even a cursory attempt by a policy maker to quantify the costs of these sweeping policies and to compare them to the benefits.

    • #28
  29. Tex929rr Coolidge
    Tex929rr
    @Tex929rr

    EB (View Comment):

    JoelB (View Comment):
    This is kids missing nine months of school.

    Your kids, maybe, but how about the kids whose parents were never very good about getting their kids to school, but had to because of the law. Or the kids whose parents lost their subsistence level jobs and just took off (with the kids maybe) but are now lost to the school rolls and may never return. Or the kids who were barely making it in school but hung on and now have lost the little progress they had made. Or the kids who were not great at school, but were a year away from a high school diploma and will never go back because after a year off – why bother?

    I think the year off from school has been bad for all of the children, but for the children of the poor – very possibly a tragedy.

     

    In the rural district where I am on the board (and where I taught) there are a handful of kids who disappeared after last spring.  Principals went to homes of kids we hadn’t heard from and managed to get all but these few back in school.  But imagine a big urban district – there are (conservatively) tens of thousands of kids around the country who are no longer in school at all.  Why are we shocked that high school ages kids are committing violent crimes around the country?

    • #29
  30. WI Con Member
    WI Con
    @WICon

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Marythefifth (View Comment):

    When I first heard about the work stopping for 2 weeks last year, my mind immediately went to the millions of people who live from paycheck to paycheck and for whom a mere 2 weeks without pay can mean months of struggling to catch up, a credit card debt that is hard to shake. And a few seconds later, I thought about the ripple effect of our stoppage and eventually the same around the world on folks who have no safety net and no credit card. What about international aid organizations? Manufacturing and transport of humanitarian or even everyday goods to folks on the margins anywhere in the world? I have to suspect they were all seriously affected and so believe that the lockdowns the US imposed on ourselves may have killed a frightening number of people in the third world even more than it may be possible to “kill grandma” by going maskless in public. I think I’ve seen exactly one article talking about that.

    The mask/distancing/closure in my church is a struggle for me. It is an extension of my family. We’ve been open a year but the fearful rule on perpetual masks even after they’ve been vaccinated. Although they don’t know any better, they are expecting me to participate in the lie that those actions are effective. I chafe too much. There has to be an end to the restrictions (please God), but it’s hard to be kept waiting indefinitely.

    Mary V, what I’ve read about the impact on the underdeveloped world is alarming. I don’t trust the UN not to inflate its poverty data, but even if they’re significantly exaggerating it’s still bad, with millions pushed deeper into poverty. I have friends in the medical community in Ghana who tell me that the interruption in foreign medical supplies and support is going to have lasting and tragic implications.

    I was being darkly sarcastic about the Killing Grandma Index in my earlier comment, but the point of it was that…..

    Amen to both of you and the points you’ve made!

    @henryracette it is just that same kind of politicized “science!”, censorship/ostraczation of dissenting voices that these truly dangerous fools are promoting with Global Warming/Climate Change!/Climate Emergency. 

    I’ve come to grudgingly accept that a fraction (a small fraction) of the reported temperatures (“WARMING!”), is due to the burning of fossil fuels as opposed to urban heat island effect, plain old data/model manipulation, solar radiation/sunspot activity cycles, volcanic activity…and a host of things we don’t even know that may be affecting the land-based temperature “increase”. Had this arguement with two of my college age daughter’s this week. Made one of them cry, apologized next day after I cooled off but she and her sister are still angry with me.

    • #30