Look before you leap. This idea has long been sage advice. Taking a little time to assess a situation before you take radical action can stop you from a significant mistake. A thorough exchange of ideas and information just might’ve made us hesitate before rushing off to Vietnam and the 2nd Iraq wars. Yet our modus operand lately has been just the opposite. We close down the country before we looked at what could happen from all angles. Many states never considered a more targeted approach. As I’ve pointed out, many people raised red flags about the models and data being relied on to lock down the world economy. Fear, not deliberative thought, ruled the day. Nobel Laureate Michael Levitt, Dr. Scott Atlas, and Dr. John Ioannidis were just some of the luminaries warning this was the wrong path. An army of online skeptics slicing and dicing the rationale for taking such drastic action joined in.
It’s just you never heard them at the time. Once the ruling politicians and the media hastily committed to the lockdown, they became hostile to any alternatives. The media never gave the skeptics much of a platform to inform the public of their doubts and alternatives. Deviating from the dominant solution found relentless attack. Sweden and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis were the subject of endless mockery. They were comparing Sweden unfavorably to their close smaller neighbors, Norway, and Denmark. Sweden actually falls in the middle of European outcomes with less drastic measures. The media predicted Florida would be a deathtrap for closing down late and opening up early. Early on, the hero of the hour was New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. The Media hailed the N.Y. governor as doing all the right things.
Act in haste, repent at leisure. The ignored skeptics are now looking prescient. Some governments are now admitting acting in haste. Norway’s prime minister Erna Solberg went on Norwegian television to make a startling admission. According to the Daily Telegraph, some, even most, of the stringent measures imposed in Norway’s lockdown now look like steps too far. “Was it necessary to close schools?” she mused. “Perhaps not.” She added, “I probably took many of the decisions out of fear” Even though Norway did well with the virus, it’s success came at too high a price. “Our assessment now that we could have achieved the same effects and avoided some of the adverse impacts by not locking down, but by instead keeping open but with infection control measures,” Camilla Stoltenberg, Norwegian Institute of Public Health Director-General.
No reasonable person would trade Gov. Desantis’s Florida performance for Gov. Cuomo’s New York results. The Emire State has 10x the death toll and mass nursing deaths as a consequence of Cuomo’s orders, The Governor looks like anything but a hero.
After seeing the world’s economy implode with the lockdown, no nation is talking about repeating it. Now Many countries agree with the skeptics; a more targeted approach would be better if there is a second wave. Which only concedes this was the proper policy right from the beginning.
I’m going over the Covid-19 lockdown fiasco again because I feel we just might’ve started another spate of hasty destructive actions. The lockdown might’ve even contributed to them. We all saw the horrific video of the killing of George Floyd. A policeman kept a knee his back until he died. Almost everyone jumped to the conclusion this was a racist act. The policeman, Derek Chauvin, was charged with second-degree murder. Here and abroad, protest marches quickly sprung up Many of them descended into rioting and looting. This result mimics the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. In that instance, the initial story was the unarmed Brown was gunned down by a racist cop. It was only later that it became known that Brown was the author of his demise. He had attacked the policeman, who was only doing his job. Rioting and looting already destroyed Ferguson. The town never recovered.
There are a few items that give me pause in accepting Floyd’s death was a racist deed. Both men had worked in security at the same nightclub. It’s possible, even likely; the two men knew each other. According to Maya Santamaria, the former owner, “We all worked together certain nights, and they would have crossed paths.” The toxicology report showed Floyd had fentanyl and methamphetamine in his system when he died. Floyd was a drug user. Nightclubs often where drugs are present and sold.
Even though all this is known, we haven’t had time to see how it fits into the investigation. We don’t know where the counterfeit bill came from or were more bills passed. We only just found out that two of the four officers present were raw rookies. Derek Chauvin was, in fact, their training officer. Being a fan of the T.V. show “The Rookie,” I couldn’t help but think about how in awe rookies are in awe of their T.O. How does all this info affect the case?
What haunts me is Floyd’s death might have been about something other than race. Could this have been a result of a beef between the two men? Maybe something about illegal dealings? In that case, it was premeditated or murder 1. However, it isn’t a racist police act. Unfortunately, like Ferguson, colossal damage has already been done.
As I have pointed out, we may lose more lives due to the lockdown than from Covid-19. The same may be true of actions taken in light of George Floyd’s death. There may be a more significant Ferguson effect. That’s the lessening of active policing in black neighborhoods because of a lack of backing for the police. More blacks will suffer. Many will die. If the police are “de-funded, those needing the police most will pay the price. Those in the most crime-prone areas will see a rise in lawlessness. That means a lot of black neighborhoods.
We designed the criminal justice system to take the time to gather information to have trials based on the facts. Our media and politicians too often foster a rush to judgment. When I was in high school, we read Walter Van Tilburg Clark’s “The Oxbow Incident.” A story of haste causing good people to hang the wrong men. Had they just waited till all the facts were known, they could’ve averted a terrible mistake? This cautionary tale has always stayed with me. Sometimes, things are not as they first appear.
We look to our media to inform. The founding fathers gave Constitutional protection to our free press. The hope was a variety of viewpoints is essential to seeing things from more then one angle. More information would help us make better decisions. Today we see something different. When our problems more than ever demand broad perspectives, we are getting more uniformity. Much of our Media is marching in lockstep. Any deviation is subject to punishment. One has only to look at what just happened at two of our major newspapers, to know this is true.
The New York Times solicited an article from a U.S. Senator for its OP-Ed page. That page is for presenting opposing points of view. Most papers have some form of these exchanges. This idea can be beneficial in fostering dialogues to better inform the public. While the author’s stance was different from that of the paper, it wasn’t something far out. It was a mindset shared by a majority of people. The Times published the article online. Subscribers immediately and viciously attacked it. While revealing NYT subscribers as close-minded, maybe this was to be expected. The revolt in the Times newsroom among their journalists wasn’t. In mass, they demanded the Times take down the article. It was a remarkable show of the lack of diversity of thought among those charged to inform. At first, the responsible editor and the publisher held firm on their journalistic principles, only to crumble in the end. Even though scheduled be in Sunday’s print edition, the article was scratched. The editor responsible is out of a job.
Something similar took place at the Philadelphia Inquirer. An article by its architectural critic warning against rioters destroying treasured buildings provoked a similar outcry. That’s hardly a revolutionary thought. Just think of the International angst over the fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. Yet the article caused a revolt in the paper’s newsroom. Forty-four journalists signed an open letter to their editors explaining their decision to call out “sick and tired.” Maybe the headline “Buildings Matter, too” however factual, could be seen by some as offensive. That’s a valid subject for discussion. That wasn’t enough for the mob mentality of the Inquirer’s staff. The Inquirer forced out its executive editor. He joins the Times OP-Ed editor on the sidelines. More heads on the pikes of the conformist journalist mob.
Many of those marching demand diversity. What some have forgotten is diversity pertains to more than just race, religion, or gender. It has to accommodate divergent views. Conformity excludes what we need to make the right decisions. Wrong decisions can kill a lot of people.