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The Inmates Are Getting Restless

As the Coronavirus lockdown drags on, discontent is bubbling to the surface.  Already a dozen or so states have seen protests against the orders of their Governors to stay home.  These protests have often seen a disregard for the social distancing guidelines that the government has handed down.

States such as California, Florida, Texas, Arizona, Colorado, Montana, Washington, Tennessee, Illinois, and Michigan have all seen such protests.  With so much unrest and anger toward these orders out there, I’m forced to ask the question: was this treatment the right prescription to begin with?

Even as I type this, I can hear some of you screaming at your computer screen, “Yes!  Of course it was!  Why are you asking such a stupid question!” 

And that’s fair.  But, before you crucify me, let me explain.  I am not a medical expert and I’m happy to defer to the medical experts when it comes to medical issues.  But there are more than medical issues to consider in this situation. 

There are economic considerations.   When people can’t work, they can’t pay their bills.  Even as you read this there are millions of folks wondering how they’re going to pay their mortgage, or their car payment, or their credit card.  When this started, the joke was that staying at home and watching Netflix shouldn’t be a big sacrifice for anyone to make.  After all, previous generations have sacrificed much more for the good of the country. 

But this isn’t fair.  People are not just being asked to veg out on the couch and watch Netflix.  Many are being asked to give up their income and worry about how they’re going to feed their kids.  They’re worrying about keeping a roof over their head and keeping their necessary transportation going. Besides, if this keeps up much longer and their money continues to dwindle, even Netflix may be on the chopping block as people can’t afford to pay their internet and cable bills.

There are social considerations as well.  People don’t like being shut in their home, or told they can’t have guests over.  Many people want to get back to church on Sundays.  I haven’t seen the statistics yet, but it will be interesting to see what kind of increase in cases of anxiety, depression, and suicide result from this.

People rightfully have educational considerations.   How many millions of kids are now off school for the duration of the school year?  These kids will fall behind in many cases.  In other cases, parents are adding to their stress as they try to rearrange their lives even further to implement learning at home. 

Like I said, these stay at home orders may very well be the right way to combat the spread of this virus.  I’m not disputing that.  But these treatments have to be tolerable to the patients.  We all know or have heard of cancer patients who chose to stop chemo-therapy that was otherwise working because they just couldn’t take it anymore.  Like these patients, our society is coming more and more to say we can’t take it anymore. 

Recently, President Trump has said some governors are being unreasonable in their stay at home orders.  In response, Governor Inslee of Washington took to ABC’s “This Week” to take issue with the President’s choice of words saying that the President was encouraging people to violate the law.  Now, certainly the President’s words could be misinterpreted in that way because he’s Trump and saying stupid stuff is what he’s all about.  But the bigger encouragement for law violation is coming from the Governors themselves who have imposed many of these draconian orders and have maintained them far longer than they should have and, as a result, are making this treatment unbearable for the patient.

In these states where we’ve seen protests, it’s clear that the inmates are getting restless.  This will only get worse the longer it goes on.  The only way to end it is to end the stay at home orders and let people live their lives.

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