I got into a car accident when I was 18. Driving home one night in my ‘83 Toyota Pickup at about 11 p.m., just blocks from my home, I saw the oncoming headlights of a car that had hit a puddle from that night’s rainfall. The lights swerved hard to the left. I braced myself for the inevitable over-correction where the driver would swerve right. He did. I turned my wheel, narrowly avoiding a head-on collision while still getting hit along the front right side of my vehicle, then coming to an abrupt stop when my truck bed slammed against an electric pole.
Long story short, I was OK — unlike my totaled pickup — and so was the other driver. The things that protected us were the seat belts and the metal which surrounded our bodies, absorbing most of the impact.
These safety measures help each of us mitigate the dangers of driving, an activity that brings a high probability of one of us ending up in some sort of car accident during our lifetimes. I liken this to what our approach should be and should have been when it has come to our response to COVID-19; a thoughtful measure of safety in lieu of a completely unsustainable approach of 100% avoidance despite the inherent dangers.
Like the measures one takes to protect oneself in a car accident the same could be applied to dealing with this virus. As more information has come out we can identify more readily who can withstand the virus, who needs to take extra measures to self isolate, and just how important it is to be mindful of keeping our hands and surfaces clean. These practices are our seat belts that allow for us to return to normalcy while minimizing risk.
It is often stated in Libertarian circles that “good ideas do not require force.” I think many of us, even the most rebellious and skeptical among us, were resigned yet willingly compliant with the initial two week lockdown when enacted in California. However, we were very vocal about the unintended consequences we’ll see if we carry on with overreaching draconian measures as well as the potential for power grabs among government officials. We were also outspoken about the FDA and CDC interfering with doctors and labs being able to start testing immediately all because the FDA hadn’t given its blessing. What we got was a slow reaction time and a faulty test launched by the CDC that were in fact tainted with COVID-19.
Over a month later here we are:
Farmers are plowing over fields, dumping milk and euthanizing thousands of chickens as demand drops.
A massive shortage of CO2 means not only a hit on beer production, but more importantly the ability for towns to purify their drinking water.
Famine of “Biblical Proportions” are to hit underdeveloped countries and will likely not leave western countries unscathed as food supplies drop and poverty levels rise.
The shutting down of medical facilities means people are going without proper screening of life threatening illnesses as well as treatments.
And yes, massive government overreach throughout the country that clearly has more to do about control than it does about keeping people safe like arresting paddleboarders; banning car parades celebrating people’s birthdays; deeming clothes, books, toys, even seeds as non-essential items to be bought, to name just a few.
In Kings County we’ve been fortunate enough that those in leadership positions have avoided a heavy-handed approach in comparison to other areas. While Libertarians very much disagree with the decision to enforce Gov. Newsom’s orders — thus shuttering most businesses and causing permanent damage to some — it seems there is discussion afoot to begin the return to some semblance of normalcy here in rural Kings County.
After a car accident there can be some hesitation about getting back in a vehicle. The mental trauma from such an event can be heavy and what we’ve experienced with these lockdowns in conjunction with the media and politicians weaponizing our fears has wreaked havoc on our psyche. However, together we will heal. Just as we worked together to get food and supplies to one another, sew and donate masks for our community, and promoted local restaurants to give them a fighting chance, we will find ways to keep each other safe while recovering from the damage.
There will be a lot of work to do, but let’s get back behind the wheel, buckle up, and start moving forward.