The red states’ coronavirus death wish probably won’t end very well

Long Beach Post news photos

These fucktards (pictured in Huntington Beach, California, on Friday) aren’t helping. Quite the opposite. (And it’s Gov. Gavin Newsom, not “Newsome.” The future, if we have one, belongs to those who can spell.) And someone please explain to me why in so many images of anti-coronavirus-shutdown protesters you see face masks and face coverings. If the virus is a hoax (or at least grossly overblown), then why would you protect yourself from it?

There’s a great scene in the movie “The Last King of Scotland” in which James McAvoy, who plays a Scottish medical doctor named Nicholas Garrigan who involuntarily becomes the adviser to Ugandan dictator Idi Amin, is witnessing Amin’s meltdown due to Amin’s own shitty decision-making.

“You should have told me not to throw the Asians out in the first place!” Amin (played by Forest Whitaker), whose continued tyrannical rule is teetering on the brink, screams at the Scottish doctor, who then replies, “I did!”

Whitaker’s Idi Amin chillingly replies: “But you did not persuade me, Nicholas! You did not persuade me!” He then says to the doctor, whom he has just blamed because he did not take the doctor’s previous advice, “Tell me what to do here.”

This is, I surmise, how it’s going to go down after the right-wing nutjobs get their death wish as portions of the nation are reopened prematurely in the midst of the current coronavirus pandemic: As is entirely predictable, more people will die unnecessarily, and then the gubmint will be to blame for that, too — even though just recently these same right-wing assholes pressured the gubmint to reopen everything against medical advice.

It sucks for the nation to be shut down. It does. I’m an introvert, not at all a social butterfly, so personally I’m doing OK, and financially I am doing OK (I am fortunate [and comparatively frugal]), but I have enough empathy to realize that this has been harder on many, many others than it has been on me.

But above our individual problems, the current crisis shows all of us Americans, graphically, how we have allowed toxic capitalism and its accompanying right-wing ideology to erode our society.

Our for-profit wealth-care — er, health-care — system of course has been utterly unable to meet the moment, since its focus for at least decades now has been on profiteering, not on public health and public welfare. (Thanks, baby boomers!)

We are at the point where most jobs are low-paying service-sector jobs that of course don’t pay a living wage and have shitty benefits, perhaps especially shitty “health-care” “benefits.” (Thanks again, boomers!)

If you want a college degree and aren’t already rich, good luck with that — not that you could find a decent-paying job with your college degree anyway. Good luck repaying those student loans. (Thank you for student-loan debt too, boomers!)

We in the U.S. are too interested in helping out the already rich than we are in helping out the working class and the poor, which is why we didn’t already have a reasonable safety net in place before the novel coronavirus hit.

(Many other nations do a much better job than does the U.S. It is possible to have a reasonable safety net in place. It’s that our corporate overlords and the corporate whores and traitors who are our elected officials won’t allow us to.)

Ironically, the very same wingnuts who fight against a safety net — yes, they love to do our corporate overlords’ dirty work for them, just like chickens helping out Colonel Sanders — are the first ones to fall when crises caused by our corporate overlords hit us.

How fucking stupid you have to be to shit and piss in your own nest, to not even be able to recognize what’s in your own best interests and then pursue that (and to work against what is not in your own best interests).

I could go on, but the bottom line right now is that we can’t listen to the experts only when we’re desperate, Idi Amin-style, and ignore the experts when what they are telling us is unpleasant or inconvenient, when they’re telling us to do something that we don’t want to do or telling us not to do something that we want to do.

The Washington Post reports today: “States rushing to reopen are likely making a deadly error, coronavirus models and experts warn.”

I concur.

Yes, as I have noted, thus far, we have had deadlier flu seasons in the U.S. than the number of people in the U.S. who have died thus far from the novel coronavirus.

But we’ve never had a deadly coronavirus pandemic like this in the U.S. before. We just can’t know how bad it could get, because this is our first rodeo with this deadlier strain of the virus, and this rodeo is not over yet, as much as we wish it were.

It’s far too early for anyone to know how bad it might get if we opened up the entire nation right now. You can make your best guess, even a quite-educated guess, and you still may or may not guess correctly.

I might be tempted to state that if the red-staters really want to be the guinea pigs, more power to them, but, of course, it won’t be only the MAGA-cap-wearing, mouth-breathing knuckle-draggers who die of the coronavirus in the red states that open up prematurely. It will be decent (dare I also say innocent) people, too.

That said, it’s incredibly difficult to stop people who have a death wish.

The coronavirus pandemic is a great opportunity for Americans to analyze the entire American system, top to bottom, and work to fix what’s wrong so that the next time that a national crisis hits — which is a matter of when, not of if — we are much better prepared.

Sadly, history, and perhaps also human nature itself, suggest that this won’t happen.

P.S. I’m guessing that the person in the news photos above with the “Profit over people” sign is a counter-protester. If not, it’s an incredibly stupid wingnut, because although in the U.S. it long has been profit over people, no one is supposed to say that…

P.P.S. If you want to know the caliber of the so-called people who are showing up at these death-wish demonstrations, there is this from The Sacramento Bee:

A 36-year-old man pulled a knife Friday on a television news team covering an anti-lockdown protest in Huntington Beach, California, the Los Angeles Times reported. [I presume that this was at the same protest as captured in the news photos above, but I am not certain.]

Christien Francis Petersen of Costa Mesa has been jailed on suspicion of exhibiting a deadly weapon other than a firearm and kidnapping, The Orange County Register reported.

Petersen approached a KTTV cameraman and reporter, produced a pocket knife and forced them into a news van to delete any footage in which he may have appeared, the station reported. …

Wow. That’s just incredible.

Memo to the fucktards: If you are in public, anyone legally may take a still photo or a video of you and/or record your voice (and no, no one has to obtain your prior permission in order to lawfully do so).

You don’t have the right to privacy in public. (Fucking duh.)

And, of course, here in California it’s illegal for you to gather closely together like this (as pictured above) in the first place.

P.P.P.S. To be fair, the loser in the aforementioned news article claims (via his attorney) that he wasn’t participating in the protest and didn’t want to appear in any video of it because he’s looking for a job.

OK, it’s understandable not to want to be in a video, but even if we give him the benefit of the doubt that he wasn’t there for the protest, you still don’t get to use a knife to force a TV news crew to eliminate any video of you.

Oh, and this knife-wielding guy’s profession? Reportedly, he’s a lawyer. (Um, his understanding of privacy law might explain why he’s unemployed right now…)

And, of course, pulling a knife on a news crew is a great way to ensure that you don’t have any problems getting employment…

You couldn’t make this shit up.

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