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In times of crisis a person, or population, has a tendency to tip their hand and show the true nature of their heart. For better or for sinister worse. The Sherlock Holmes short story, A Scandal in Bohemia, explores this concept (although the plot wasn't gravely sinister) quite well.
So what does this have to do with the COVID-19 pandemic the world is now facing?
The other day I was contemplating some recent news articles and I couldn't help but notice the two extremes in human behavior going on right now. There are some distinct examples of dedication to professions by EMTs, social and healthcare workers and, of course doctors. All of them doing the job of their calling and, I would hesitate to guess, feeling a sense of fulfillment because that is the reason they targeted that line of work. Crisis such as pandemics are the motivation to do what they do, and God bless them for doing so. Some look to flee a burning building; others flee towards it.
With the good though, you have the bad, and I couldn't help also notice that some of us have shown us what is true in their hearts as well. For the billionaires amongst us it has been comments that it is important to get back on track as soon as possible for the economy. Well, yes that is true; thank you to the wealthy for stating the obvious. I think every closed business with their income abruptly severed agrees, but I question if that statement is made with business and financial concerns being valued more over human life? Remember the primary function of any business large or small, of any CEO, is to maximize profit over the cost of all else. Anything that goes against profit is an expense, and an expense is the enemy. The Occupational Safety Health Administration (OSHA) exists because left to their own self-management business guidelines have proven they cannot govern themselves -- no matter how much they pontificate otherwise. That's what The Jungle is all about. I'm certainly not a socialist, but I am a believer that when a sizable pot of gold is present it is necessary to have both beneficiary parties sitting at the table watching the other side intently. Beware of companies that say we're like a family. A good P.R. banner until they're not like a family. It's nothing personal. It's just business.
The other negative aspect is the mob mentality. The hoarders. Generally speaking there isn't, best to my knowledge, anything wrong with the supply chain during the COVID-19 crisis. While it is true that many businesses are still closed, and non-essential staff must work from home, the trains are still running. The deliver trucks are still driving. The shelves are being stocked. Why then is there no toilet paper? Why is there no hand sanitizer particularly crucial during this time. What a different world it would be right now if as a population our buying habits didn't change when the crisis broke. There would have been no hoarding. If you had had enough toilet paper at home maybe you wouldn't have bought it? I haven't seen anything in any guidelines stating you cannot shop for necessities. The guidelines say limit your shopping. Limit your trip for essentials. People operate in extremes, however, and seem to only act in a binary setting of 0 and 1. We've gone from standard shopping to barricading up in a house. A friend of mine recently told me that someone he knew had their car window smashed and baby food and necessities stolen. (Note: Never leave open bags in full view!)
Practice social distancing. Limit trips. Stay six feet away from each other. Wash your hands. The World Health Organization doesn't say anything about buying mass quantities so you can sit on a throne of toilet paper while others have none. It's counter productive. Of course that is a reasonable response -- which is unreasonable itself when dealing with a mob mentality. I guess at the end of the day that notion is what disappoints me the most.
COVID-19 is a real test not just as a benchmark for the ability of the healthcare system in the United States to handle a crisis but to the quality of character within ourselves. Once this crisis has receded into the past there will need to be a lot of soul searching. A lot of looking into the mirror about who we are. Unfortunately, I think there's going to be a lot of denial. That's one quality that appears to be in abundance in humanity.