Wednesday, March 24, 2021

The ongoing plague of stupid

My friend Nancy shared this cartoon late yesterday, a commentary on Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's claim that undocumented immigrants are responsible for that state's continuing struggle with COVID-19 (Abbott recently lifted mask mandates and business restrictions across the Lonestar State, in effect declaring victory).

There's little here for Iowans to crow about, it should be noted. Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, a Trumpian disciple, lifted her limited mask mandate (just imposed in November) and relaxed other restrictions during late February, 

So I checked out the unmasked more carefully yesterday afternoon during a quick shopping trip to Hy-Vee. All the staff and a majority of the customers were masked and I suppose undocumented immigrants might have been among them, but there were still plenty of folks moving around bare-faced. None looked the part. I resisted the urge to strike up conversations, hoping some sign of an accent other than redneck drawl might give them away.

But as nearly as I could tell, those spreading the virus here most likely are native Iowans, if not native to Lucas County. So that's one less thing to worry about.


Elsewhere, out in Washington, D.C., the usual post-massacre push for responsible gun control legislation --- doomed most likely to failure --- is under way. You may recall the slaughter last week in Atlanta and then again on Monday in Boulder, Colorado.

As you might expect, the Republicans in charge of the Iowa Legislature hope this week that the governor will sign legislation loosening those restrictions on handgun ownership still in place here.

So I was interested in this piece, headlined "Americans are stubbornly unmoved by death," by Robin Givhan in this morning's Washington Post. Americans are not numb to death --- either from a rogue virus or a rogue shooter --- Givhan argues. Instead, "We stubbornly, selfishly dismiss it."


There are obvious ways to ease the effects of both plagues --- for COVID-19, get your shots as soon as you can, social distance, sanitize and wear masks until some semblance of "herd immunity" is achieved and perhaps even after that; and for guns, ban assault-style weapons and demand comprehensive background checks before handguns are sold.

"Stubbornly, selfishly dismissing" death certainly is one reason why these precautions are not universally adopted. 

But the overriding factor is stupidity. There's a heck of a lot of that going around. Influenza may make us sick and gunshots may wound us, but it's stupid that will prove fatal.

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