That truth should be silent I had almost forgot.
Antony and Cleopatra, Act 1, Scene 2
June 24, 2020
Cops, docs, and grocery stocks
By RONALD N. NEFF
NURSES AND DOCTORS, WE ARE TOLD, are heroes who have been "on the front lines" in the "battle" against COVID-19 (the Wuhan flu). Consider: We have also been told that any number of people can be infected without presenting symptoms. And we have been told that there is an incubation period for Wuhan that may be as long as two weeks.
If we assemble these facts, they imply that for some indeterminate period from January to March, there were people going into hospitals for scheduled surgeries and emergency treatment who were carrying the flu. In hospitals that have walk-in departments for out-patient radiology testing, or testing of blood or other bodily fluids, the patients could easily have been carrying the virus undetected.
And those patients were exposing all the doctors, nurses, and support staff with whom they came in contact. The gift-shop workers were similarly exposed, as were the parking-lot attendants. And they, in turn, could pass it on to their co-workers and uninfected patients, especially elderly uninfected patients with the underlying vulnerabilities we have heard so much about.
In other words, it would appear that all these "heroes" were not only on the front lines "battling" the virus, but also on the front lines spreading it.
It would be as though we were conferring hero status on soldiers who were responsible for the injuries and deaths of their brothers in arms by friendly fire.
Speaking of heroes, efforts are being made in Virginia (and I assume elsewhere) to have "first responder" status conferred upon grocery clerks for their fine work in sanitizing the stores and for their courage in not "sheltering in place" so that others might continue to stock their pantries and refrigerators with groceries. I was as glad for their showing up to perform honest labor as the next man (just as I was for those who worked in gas stations, drug stores, carry-outs, and other places to say nothing of the guys who continued servicing automobiles and plumbers who entered homes to fix leaking toilets and malfunctioning showers).
At a local Aldi there is even a sign outside that reads, "Heroes work here." As glad as I am that the local Aldi was open, I have a hard time entertaining special regard for people who are privileged by the state to work when others are forcibly kept from working. I don't begrudge grocery workers their good luck. But good luck does not make them heroes. Or first responders.
And how can we talk about heroes without talking about the police?
As often happens, I find myself excluded from the two standard sides of the debate. On the one hand, I have utter and unalterable contempt for rioters who burn buildings and cars, and smash the windows belonging to people who are trying to mind their own business, and worse than contempt for people who beat up and threaten to kill anyone for disagreeing with them under the risible assertion that dissenters are committing "violence" against some supposedly downtrodden group.
On the other hand, there are those (usually conservatives) who say that they think most cops are sincere and industrious, to say nothing of honest. Have those people never seen Serpico?
A confession of possible bias: the only time in my life anyone ever threatened me with a gun, it was five or six cops running towards me with their guns drawn during a traffic stop. Later when I was on the ground and handcuffed, one of them held a gun to my head and told me to stop struggling. (I was unaware that I was struggling.) My offense: reckless driving (mmm, probably guilty), failure to heed a red light and siren (I contend that I slowed down and pulled over at once), and resisting arrest (?). That's right. I was arrested for resisting arrest. Until that time, I had no idea that traffic violations were capital offenses. As a friend wrote to a local paper, you can praise cops all you want for the work they do at the Boys Clubs. But anyone can do that. Only cops can get away with putting a gun to the head of a handcuffed miscreant who is facedown on the grass. That was long ago and far away.
Anyway, the usual claim is that most cops are okay, but there are a few "bad apples," as they say. "Bad apples." Isn't there an adage about what bad apples do to an entire barrel? I wouldn't count on the pristine quality of the rest of those apples, and I'd never want my life to depend on it.
Virtually every day, and often more than once, Norma Jean Almodovar reprints on her website and Facebook page news stories, court findings, and crime statistics concerning cops and domestic abuse (including murder), cops and child sexual abuse, cops who rape prostitutes they're arresting, cops who beat up on women they are arresting, cops and extortion, cops and perjury and fake evidence, cops and inmate abuse, cop hierarchs who make excuses for them, and more. Every single day. Take a look some time. "Friend" her on Facebook and watch the incidents and figures mount up.
Bad apples indeed. It ain't exactly "Blue Bloods" out there.
Heroine: In this time of arbitrary and illegal directives issued by men drunk with malice and power, we need to honor someone of true heroic spirit and courage. I nominate Charlotte Corday. Ω
June 24, 2020
© 2020 Ronald N. Neff
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