Looking for Silver Linings (6/1/20)

Events this weekend have made calm thought difficult.  I had some time to jot down a few thoughts last Thursday about our gradual re-opening from the virus, but now those seem less important.  However, they do tie in with a theme I’ve been thinking about during this protest/riot/lootfest over the weekend, so I decided to share them anyway…

The daily sturm und drang of all the virus news has gotten old long ago, and like most people, I’ve got virus fatigue.

Actually, it would be more accurate to say I’ve got virus coverage fatigue.  The airwaves have been full of speculation and information (the ratio: 15,000 parts of the former to 1 part of the latter), and even people who are trying to honestly understand the virus have worn us out with their contradictory pronouncements.  Never has the old cliché that someone is “often wrong but never in doubt” been more true.

First masks were unnecessary.  Then they were crucial, and you should expect them to drop from the ceiling of the church you are forbidden to go to, as if First Lutheran were a 747 that had just experienced a catastrophic loss of cabin pressure.

First the virus thrives on hard surfaces, and can live there for the life spans of three Bernie Sanderses.  Then last week it couldn’t, and it was safe to go back to licking doorknobs again.  Then this week it loves hard surfaces again, so you better get that tongue-ectomy if you took my door-licking advice from one sentence ago.

First it was going to kill at least 1.1 million Americans, and maybe twice that many.  Then it was only going to kill 60,000.  Now it looks like around 120,000.  Except that a second wave is absolutely 100% going to happen, starting exactly at 1:13 Eastern Standard Time on September 5th.  (The first victim will be Richard Ferguson, a retired plumber from Sioux City (#wemustneverstopmockingher), in case you are interested.)

Wait, this just in.  It turns out that the reported cases in the 13 states that started opening up 3 weeks ago are down, which means that the second wave might be as mythical as Blasey-Ford’s encounter with Kavanaugh, or AOC’s knowledge of basic economics, or the existence of the dread gangbanger Corn Pop.

 

So that was last week, and in the meantime I’ve been outraged, then dispirited, and then angry at what I’ve watched spreading across our country.

The actions of those cops were terrible.  As a conservative – and therefore supporter of law and order – I am generally a supporter of the police as I am of the military.

But I’m also very much aware of how serious it is when any officers abuse their power.  It was horrifying and maddening to watch the cop with his foot on that man’s neck for so long, made worse by the other police standing around and doing nothing to stop it.  That is outrageous behavior, and it fully merits anger and protests and demands for accountability.

What’s been happening since then is sickening, too.  I can’t tell from the footage I’ve seen what portion of the crowds have been righteously angry protesters who are peacefully demanding appropriate action; I know that “if it bleeds, it leads,” has always dominated media coverage, and violent rioters looting and burning will always get the lion’s share of the coverage.

That being said, after three or four nights of this, it sure looks now like a dark version of the old joke about lawyers: the rotten 99% are giving the other 1% a bad name.

As CO and many others have noted, there is no need for this: the officers were immediately fired, the main bad actor has been charged with murder, and a high-profile investigation is already underway, with charges and likely convictions to follow.  This isn’t the old Jim Crow South (Democrat-controlled, I can’t help but remind the racial arsonists who still seem to be running that party, if the last three days are any indication), where corrupt white cops and local governments routinely victimized black people and got away with it.  Justice is already in the process of being done, and NO ONE is defending those cops’ actions.

Again, this isn’t the old days of protestors fighting on one side and racist Dems trying to enforce segregated lunch counters and water fountains and movie theaters on the other.   Or Rosa Parks or MLK on one side and racist Dem laws about segregated buses or schools on the other.  Or Emmett Till on one side and racist Dem klansmen on the other. All politicians on both sides, from Trump on down, have condemned the killing of George Floyd.

So who’s on the other side, for the rioters to attack?  Target stores.  Hundreds of small businesses (including black-owned businesses, not that that should matter, unless you’re a racist, Sharpton-style bad faith—oh, wait.)  St. Patrick’s cathedral, the WWII memorial, public housing units, and various government buildings in cities that are almost entirely Democrat-governed (and largely black-governed, not that that should matter, unless…).  That’s who you’re attacking, you vicious morons.

Ugh.

The theme I was thinking about last week was “optimism vs. pessimism.”  I’m going to write more about that later this week, because I think it is intertwined with our reactions to both the virus and the George Floyd killing, and I think it’s worth contemplating.  I want to make the case for optimism – even in days like these – while also considering the merits, such as they are, of pessimism.

Since I’m trying to stay pro-optimism, I’ll close by mentioning three potential silver linings on this darkest of clouds:

1.There have been heartening incidents of karmic comeuppance, with some thugs attacking cars and then getting run over by them (thank you, 1909 Wisconsin inventors of four-wheel drive!), one Mensa-member in NC trying to throw a Molotov cocktail and managing to set himself on fire instead (here’s hoping the burns are in an area that will preclude his fathering any future looters), and several groups of armed citizens banding together to protect lives and property against mobs of rioters, who showed their micro-phallic courage by running away to victimize softer targets.

2. If the NRA and GOP aren’t already cutting that footage into ads, they’re committing political malpractice. (Here’s some voice-over to get you started: “The next time a concerned leftist asks you why ANY law-abiding American should EVER have a gun, show him this footage…”)

3. The rioters and looters can serve at least a couple of useful public services, first by reminding voters where the political lines are drawn right now (with various local and national Dems and leftist celebrities urging on the rioters and explicitly excusing, and in some cases applauding, their vandalism and violence). And second by helping advance medical science.  It now appears that a combo of hydroxy-chloroquine and zinc may not help against the Wu-flu, but with any luck, we’ll soon learn more about the combined effects of pepper spray and rubber bullets fired into the abdomens or backsides of those not socially distancing during this terrible pandemic.

I’ve always been ethically troubled by endangering innocent lab animals in experiments.  But if we can learn from some enthusiastic SJWs who are attempted to destroy property and murder innocent people?

You do you, human guinea pigs!

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