See you in court
“Death belongs to life as birth does. The walk is in the raising of the foot as in the laying of it down.” – Rabindranath Tagore
A less poetic of saying the same thing as quoted above is that the only certainty of life is death. And it seems that thousands, or even hundreds of thousands, of people in North America, have adopted that fatalistic viewpoint in their handling of COVID-19. A few weeks ago, I wrote a column decrying American stupidity in that nation’s approach to the pandemic and listed several examples of crowds flocking to beaches and parks, taking part in mass protests, attending church services, etc. But it now appears the U.S. does not have exclusive rights to stupidity: we have our very own idiots right here on our doorstep.
In case you missed it, hundreds of people crammed into Toronto’s Trinity Bellwoods Park last Saturday to enjoy the warm, sunny weather and to disregard the constant reminders that we need to continue to practice social distancing for some period of time if this virus is ever going to be defeated.
Even someone who doesn’t avidly follow the news must know the following facts: a person can be infected with COVID-19 and go a week before showing any symptoms (if they ever show any symptoms); said person can transmit the disease to others during this time; the easiest way to infect someone – or become infected – is to be in close contact. For many, as in those we call our front-line and essential workers, they have little choice but to come into close contact with others, but they at least take precautions by wearing protective gear. But as for those who just couldn’t wait to plonk their bums down on some grass with hundreds of others in a public park, what’s with them? Do they all have a death wish?
How many of those who went to Trinity Bellwoods became infected while enjoying the sun? Perhaps we’ll never know, but it would be a safe bet than some of them contracted the virus. And if that’s the case, it proves that some who attended the park were already infected. And those who were infected and those who became infected are all a danger to anyone they come into contact with. And that includes their own families.
What kind of stupidity does it take to expose one’s loved ones to a deadly virus simply because one became tired of isolation? That’s akin to going into shark-infested waters because you haven’t had a swim in a while. Even worse, it’s the same as pushing your kid into those same shark-infested waters.
Looking at it from a local angle, did any of those Trinity Bellwoods party-goers later find their way to Uxbridge and perhaps shop at Zehrs or Canadian Tire? If they did, they likely endangered people who have been following the guidelines set out by our health experts.
So that brings us to a most difficult question: should those who knowingly break the guidelines, and in so doing expose others to possible infection, be charged with a criminal offence? I most certainly do not want to contract this disease. At my age, it likely would be a death sentence. So if I come down with COVID-19 because of someone else’s blatant disregard of health guidelines, shouldn’t I expect that person to be held responsible by the courts? And before you jump all over me with cries of civil rights and freedom, ask yourself if your response would be the same if some buffoon infected your child or parent because they didn’t want to follow the rules.
I, for one, will continue wearing my mask every time I come into contact with other people or enter a store and I am willing to do so for however many weeks or months it will take. Actually, I have found myself going even further: when going through the drive-through for a cup of coffee, for example, I keep a “social distance” between my vehicle and the one ahead of me. And I wear my mask going through the drive-through.
I could say I’m doing it to protect you and your family, but my reason is far more selfish: I want to protect myself. It seems to me we need more of that kind of selfishness, rather than the selfishness of people who demand to be allowed to congregate, consequences be damned. For those people, I’d like to hear: “See you in court.”
Tell me, am I wrong?
Want to tell Roger Varley if he’s wrong or right?
Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org