One of the closing remarks in Anne Frank’s diary, which chronicled her stay in an attic, hiding from Nazis, was that she maintained people were “really good at heart.”
In today’s mass panic over a virus, most of us are finding out there are still a lot of people out there who belie Frank’s belief. With many of our neighbors it’s become a case of “the hell with you, I’m going to get mine,” when it comes to darn near everything in any grocery or drug store.
We’re isolated here in regard to routine catastrophes. We haven’t had forest fires affect us the way California cratered. We’re too far inland and west for hurricane warnings and landings. Any floods are minor and localized. These phenomena are experienced almost regularly now in certain areas of the country and it does bring out the worst in many people.
Who knows how many rolls of toilet paper one family needs to survive a pandemic with dignity. The run on hand sanitizer, soap, paper products and now almost any sort of food, is indicative of a society set on maintaining the hedonism we’ve created over the past decades. Me, me, me.
There are different sets of panicking people. Those hoarding toilet paper, hand sanitizer and food for themselves is one class. Others have taken it a step further.
Witness brothers Matt and Noah Colvin, who drove around Tennessee buying all the hand sanitizer they could, wiping out stores’ supplies all around Chattanooga. Then they started selling it on Amazon and Ebay for up to $70 a bottle. The brothers didn’t see this behavior as hurting their fellow citizens. It was a way to make money for their families. How altruistic.
They got their just desserts when Amazon and Ebay cut them off from gouging customers. In a case of perfect karma, they got stuck with 17,700 bottles they couldn’t sell and had to donate.
Another class with questionable mental health are the people standing in lines to buy guns and emptying shelves of local gun stores. One gun shop owner said gun-buyers want to be sure to be ready to defend “against the ravaging hoards.”
Again, how many guns do you need and are you going to shoot your neighbor when he asks for a roll of toilet paper or if she comes up short on a cookie recipe and needs some flour?
The federal government has done a great job of scaring everyone and we’re all doing the best we can in protecting ourselves from a virus that at this writing, is not present in our community. Almost all those infected in the state came off of planes returning from foreign countries.
Our hospital has limited beds, personnel and Covid-19 test kits. Small communities won’t fare well in a real epidemic. The restrictions on international travel, our social distancing, hand-cleaning and limited self-quarantines should be adequate to protect us.
Right now it’s a matter of common sense and taking proper precautions. We could sure use some of our lost humanity right now too.