Why aren’t they wearing masks? And what are they getting at?

Protests regarding lock-down are a tad unfair because the people who believe in quarantine can’t gather in groups to do their own protests. What can they do to argue their side? I guess they can make humorous photo-manipulations from their homes. If that wasn’t obvious enough, I changed their signs using my PS skills.

The hot topic of the day is whether areas should stay in lock-down or go back to some semblance of normality. People have strong opinions on it, and so do I, but I realize any opinion is based on the shaky ground of not having enough information, the information we have often being contradictory, and not being able to predict the future. You’d probably have to be a solid expert in epidemiology, economics, politics, medicine, and history to be able to weigh all the competing dangers, risks, and consequences. You might have to be a few hundred years old. If we could just get the straight scoop of what our choices really are, we could probably mostly agree.

Right now a lot of people are protesting the lock-downs and insisting on going back to work. This is very easy to empathize with, because most of us are watching our savings vanish, our jobs are either gone or fading fast, and statistically our chances would be better on an individual basis getting the virus than losing a month or two or three or four of work. Though, even young people are dying, and we have cherished family members that are vulnerable because of their age or frail health.

Apparently Sweden has adopted the radical tactic of opening the floodgates and allowing people to mill about as they will. They have much higher incidences of infection than neighboring countries, but they are bargaining on this being temporary and pulling ahead in the long run.

Meanwhile, if China’s nearly flat-lined cases were true, why haven’t they really gone back to work? If the population were back to work and everything were normal-ish, they’d be boasting about it. Instead we are getting no coverage, or leaked news that there’s a second wave, numbers are much higher than reported, and so on.

Leaving lock-down is a risky experiment, and I’d really like to hear the top experts debate this. With the information I currently have, and can make sense of, the risk of leaving quarantine is greater because if the virus spreads like mad than we have to go back into lock-down again for another extended period, which would hurt the economy even worse. But we can’t stay in lock-down forever, so there’s going to be a time when it is smarter to go back to work. We’ve all heard there can be some sort of careful transition in which we minimize contact and the spreading of the virus. We might be able to test for the people who have antibodies and allow them free reign… There are new studies indicating that up to 85% more people may be infected than is presently known, in which case the virus is potentially much less deadly, because most the people don’t have serious symptoms. If that is the case, than there are many who are capable of getting back out in the world. However, what we do know is that over 39,000 Americans have already died from the virus, and most of that is from this month alone. The stakes are very high. Now that we are finally seeing the rate of infection slow down a bit, which is most probably due to wearing masks, social distancing, and quarantine, ceasing to do all that could be the biggest mistake possible.

And this is where the protesters come off as a bit nutty. They aren’t even wearing masks. The likely result is that directly due to their protests they, or their loved ones, will get sick. They’d make a better case if they showed they were being responsible and looking out for themselves and everyone else.

I blurred out people’s faces (and may have made a few other small changes) in order to protect their identities.

I don’t agree with the protesters, but I don’t know 100% or 85% that they aren’t right. We’re in a lose-lose situation, and we can’t know which direction is better since they both suck. I’d feel safer continuing the lock-down a while longer, because it appears to be the only reason the numbers are curbing. We can see how Sweden’s approach works for them, or if real news comes out of China. I’m not an expert in any of the required fields, so can only gamble on the reliability of the information from experts that comes my way.

Hope no one was deeply offended. While I am poking fun at people because they appear to be endangering everyone else, along with themselves, I’m confident a lot of them are doing this out of financial desperation, which amounts to not having much of a choice. So, while there’s room for humor, I recognize that the underlying stories might be more tragic, and some of these people are surely deserving of compassion.

Until next time….


~ Ends

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17 replies on “Lock-down Protest Signs Perplexing

  1. Eric, well stated. I’m definitely not aligned politically with what I believe are the likely views of the main body of these protesters.

    But I think this sentence of yours nicely summarizes the ambivalence felt by many on the other side of the aisle: “I don’t agree with the protesters, but I don’t know 100% or 85% that they aren’t right.” Such are the odd times in which we are living.

    Stay safe and well.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Like you Eric, I’m no pandemic expert. However, if I had to choose from the advice of those with hidden political agendas and no scientific pandemic expertise and the few who are influenced by their “I don’t believe in science” rhetoric — Or the experts who sole education is in this field? — the choice is an easy one don’t you think?

    If you have cancer? You listen to the options your cancer specialist gives you. If your car is acting up? You see a certified Mechanic. So if your in the middle of a world wide highly contagious virus pandemic? Why would you even consider listening to a minority of sign carrying misinformed protesters or their likewise political influencers?

    Yes I understand the strain being borne emotionally and financially effecting most of us, but — we’re talking human lives here! You may think hey, let’s all just get the virus and be done with this? But its not just your life your putting on the line — it could be mine as well. Or many others! I can’t see how putting your own personal situation above others, in a time like this, will benefit anybody. Its glaringly self-centered. And if left to spread publicly on a wide scale, could “potentially” kill many more of us who would otherwise have survived.

    It’s not the risk of the few, its the well-being of a whole Nation.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s my position as well. If I didn’t make that clear it’s because I was trying hard to not be an A-hole after already butchering these people’s sings.

      I would definitely defer to the real scientific experts as regards the heath issues. However, Sweden isn’t insane, so their policy gives me some pause. I think it’s too early for people to go out, especially without taking the right precautions, but eventually, as people’s savings run out, they can’t pay rent, they can’t buy food, and there might be some sort of pandemonium, the tables will flip and the majority will be sacrificing their lives to protect the minority who are acutely vulnerable to the virus. So, I rather think we need to stay in as long as possible while the experts work on the best solutions. With the notable exception of China, the whole world is working on this together. And if Sweden wants to try the “herd immunity” route, than they can be the Guinea pigs. Norway has half their cases, and Finland, on the other side, less than a third.

      I suspect how individuals feel on the issue might reflect on how vulnerable they are to the virus, or to being financially destitute, or both.

      As for now, I’m on your side of the fence. Also, these wingnuts — because they don’t even bother to wear mask or observe social distancing — are compromising the viability of the lock-down measures that are in place, in which case they are increasing the odds of it failing and our needed to prolong it. So, in effect, their own actions are likely to function to increase the time before they can go back to work.

      Thanks for reading and commenting.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m old, so I experienced the hippies in the sixties behavior and my own. These people fancy themselves being revolutionaries. If you pointed out to them their behavior is the same as the people in the sixties they would balk and say something like “I’ll kick your ass for saying that thang.” My sixties response would be ” Peace out my brother.” Hopefully, they will stay healthy to protest another day.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s generous of you. I’d guess for some of them these protests are going to be a reality check, and a rude awakening. But, I’m wish you in hoping they are spared.

      Like

  4. I find it interesting that the Fed is chomping at the bit to get the states open and reopen the economy, while at the same time dragging its feet and passing the buck when it comes to PPE, testing, etc. I think it’ll be a gradual end to the stay at home orders, and even the businesses that do reopen soon will have restrictions, either self-imposed or from their respective state governments.
    As far as the Chinese government goes I don’t believe a word they say about the status of the virus.
    As an ‘essential’ worker (essential to the fat cats industrialists’ pocket books) I’m enjoying the lack of traffic and low gas prices. I think ya’ll who at are home now should do my job, and I’ll take a month plus off when this mess is (hopefully) over.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That all sounds reasonable to me. I’m getting pretty dark on China, and I used to live there. Not only do I not trust anything coming out of the CCP, I’m starting to slip into suspecting them of capitalizing on what’s going on for ulterior purposes, and that’s putting it nicely.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Eric, you had me going with the protest signs for a minute there. “These signs have to be fake, right?” “Eric doesn’t think they are real, does he?” “Wait, they’re not real, are they?” LOL

    The anti-shutdown protest is coming to my city tomorrow, and I’m looking forward to it.

    It seems that the people who need to really worry about the virus have one foot in the grave already. I always wondered why not sequester the minority of vulnerable people instead of crushing an entire economy? But you can’t even ask that question in polite company.

    Then there is the question of civil rights, which we supposedly have in the USA. Where does a governor get the power to shut down an economy and wreck lives by fiat, without even consulting a legislature? Banning travel? Banning gatherings? Sentencing an entire state to house arrest without even having a legislature vote? What kind of authoritarian dictator shit is that?

    As for the people at the protests not wearing masks, I can’t speak for them, but I consider it an act of civil disobedience in the service of their protest. Maybe they are willing to get sick to make their point. Or maybe they won’t get sick and the rest of society is working itself up into a panic attack over a virus that’s not a big deal to the majority of people who get it. Maybe the protesters are right not to worry so much, and you are the wrong one by giving yourself anxiety attacks.

    I do understand your point of view, and that of your commentators, because it’s the dominant point of view and the only one you hear about here in America.

    Right now everyone is terrified of this virus, and this is certainly not the first time that our government has used or even instigated fear to spend a bunch of money and seize our civil liberties.

    So yes I understand why you and your commenters disagree with the protesters. Hopefully you can understand the protesters’ point of view a little bit also.

    For the record, I do think your photoshopped protest signs were pretty damn funny.

    Like

    1. Hey Damon:

      Hey Damon:

      Well, it’s good to hear a civil, intelligent argument from the other side of the spectrum on this. At least then a conversation is possible.

      “I always wondered why not sequester the minority of vulnerable people instead of crushing an entire economy?”

      I think the issue is that the virus itself would crush the economy if serious measures weren’t implemented to constrain it. Imagine that, as in the case with the Spanish flu, a more lethal mutation occurs, and it takes down the young and strong, and roughly a quarter of the population. Would we then still argue the right to break quarantine, even if it would mean absolutely destroying not only the economy but sacrificing a quarter of the world’s population? A lot of the question depends on just how dangerous the virus is, and we still haven’t been able to determine that.

      It does appear that wherever there’s been an outbreak, the virus has spread rapidly and the hospitals were very quickly overwhelmed. This virus has only been around for 4 months, and has already killed over 165,000 people (with China radically under-reporting their numbers). For every person killed, several more are hospitalized, and that’s going to be extremely expensive. Nurses and doctors are getting sick in record numbers. Left unchecked, the virus could wipe out our hospitals.

      It’s not just America that’s locking down cities. It’s the whole world. And while there may be ulterior motives in some places, the overriding reason is public safety.

      “Then there is the question of civil rights, which we supposedly have in the USA. Where does a governor get the power to shut down an economy and wreck lives by fiat, without even consulting a legislature?”

      People would say the same thing about “sequestering” a minority of people based solely on their profiles.

      “Banning travel? Banning gatherings? Sentencing an entire state to house arrest without even having a legislature vote? What kind of authoritarian dictator shit is that?”

      Sadly, if the CCP – which are among the the hot shit authoritarian dictators of the planet, – had actually done that in the beginning, we wouldn’t be having this discussion because the virus would never have left Wuhan.

      If America had taken much more serious measures in the beginning, including banning more flights, everyone would be able to go to work.

      So, there are a lot of questions regarding public safety. You mention that people who might die from this have one foot in the door already, but you might change your mind if you get the virus yourself, particularly a more virulent strain of it [and the more people have it, the greater chances of it mutating into a stronger strain] and have to go to the hospital. Related to that, I had to go to the hospital recently for an emergency appendicitis. Well, even with insurance, that cost me a few month’s salary, and I was only there for 2 days. So, in my case, the last thing I want is to get some viral infection that sends me to the hospital for a week. I’d be better off financially being in lock down for 6 months. That, and if one does get sick, there can be long-term deleterious effects on the body.

      So, it’s all a question of balance and tipping points, how to protect people without causing other kinds of harm. We need the best experts weighing in on this, and as with so many things, not listening to science is a recipe for massive failure.

      Closely related to this issue, though on a much smaller scale, is the vaccine controversy, in which some people believe it is their right to not vaccinate their children. As a consequence, measles and other diseases we’d basically eradicated are back in force.

      Anyway, glad you thought the pics were funny. We’ll find out in coming days, weeks, and months what were the biggest mistakes in the present. I maintain that there’s something to the argument some of the protesters are making, and Sweden is now operating on the assumption that “herd immunity” is the way to go, but going out without masks is irresponsible and puts other people’s lives at risk.

      Thanks for reading and commenting.

      Like

      1. Eric, thanks for your thoughts. Just one more thing that I did not put in my first rant, and I was reminded of it when reading your response:

        “So, in my case, the last thing I want is to get some viral infection that sends me to the hospital for a week. I’d be better off financially being in lock down for 6 months.”

        Another problem I have with the “cancel civil liberties” argument is that exercising authoritarian control over our lives will not stop people from getting the virus. It will just change WHEN you get the virus. Do you get the virus this week and feel better in a couple more weeks (most people), or do you get the virus in 6 months from now, feel better 2 weeks later and oh yeah, forfeit the notion of having civil rights and wreck your economy as a bonus?

        But another thing we agree on: “Well, it’s good to hear a civil, intelligent argument from the other side of the spectrum on this. At least then a conversation is possible.”

        Cheers!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Hi Damon:

          You wrote, “Another problem I have with the ‘cancel civil liberties’ argument is that exercising authoritarian control over our lives will not stop people from getting the virus.”

          The argument for canceling civil liberties in the name of authoritarian control does not exist. The argument is for protecting the health and safety of the general population, and that’s why virtually every country (with the exception of Sweden) is doing the same thing regardless of their political and economic models. Your exaggerated characterization of the argument is about the same as me saying you are putting forth the “freedom to infect people with a deadly disease” argument. Nobody is wanting to infect other people, they want to be able to get out of lock down. When you change an argument into something ridiculous, it’s the logical fallacy of the “straw-man argument”.

          If you were the Chinese government, would you have exacted “authoritarian” control in Wuhan to nip the virus in the bud, which most everyone agrees was possible? Or would you have thought that closing the seafood market, or preventing a 10,000 family banquet was infringing on people’s civil liberties? You can’t have ANY quarantine for any disease without, at any point, placing restrictions on peoples’ freedom. So, by your argument, we always have to allow any disease that comes up to spread to all corners of the Earth. How could we stop it, even if we had patient zero, if we couldn’t tell patient zero to stay at home?

          Your former argument about “sequestering” the vulnerable robs them of their civil liberties, and thus is also, by your logic, authoritarianism.

          Part of the problem now is that it may be too late to stop the virus. Quarantine won’t work if David Icke’s followers go out without masks because they believe the real thread is nanotechnology micro chips they will put in the vaccine to control our minds. If 1 in 6 people don’t obey the quarantine, it’s useless because the virus will still spread.

          However, if you look at South Korea now, they kicked covid’s ass, and they had a huge outbreak. Last I heard they aren’t even under lock-down. But the way they defeated it was through very aggressive testing, quarantine, social distancing, and contact tracing – what you would call authoritarian measures. Taiwan and Hong Kong have also had similarly very positive outcomes so far.

          You wrote, “It will just change WHEN you get the virus.”

          Did you get SARS? SARS was easier to contain because people were only contagious when they already had symptoms, but the reason you never got SARS was the wearing of masks, social distancing, and quarantine in the effected countries. If it weren’t for those measures, you would have gotten SARS. So why assume everyone will get SARS 2 when that didn’t happen with SARS 01?

          So, part of the problem is NOT that we have been too “authoritarian” but rather, very specifically, that unlike South Korea, Taiwan, and Hong Kong, we did not take serious enough action to stop the virus. We got our fist case on the same day South Korea got theirs. We now have over 750,000 cases, as compared to their 10,000. They have 236 dead compared to our over 40,000.

          Are South Korea, Taiwan, and Hong Kong more “authoritarian” than they were before covid-19? They are the ones fast-tracking to getting back to normal, and it’s because they did the intelligent thing right away.

          We’re so busy having protests, that we can’t put a lid on the spread of the virus. The protests alone make that impossible. The resulting devastation from either the virus, the economic downturn, or most likely both will cause more turmoil and very possibly result in greater actual authoritarian control than will occur in the countries that acted early, intelligently, and with very strong measures.

          Are the citizens of those countries sure to get the virus? It doesn’t look like it. Looks like they got it under control. But who knows.

          In America, it’s already spread everywhere, and the people have it in their heads that it is somehow tyrannical to ask them to cooperate in measures which are designed for one purpose and one only, which is to NOT spread a deadly virus.

          However, it may already be too late. But I’ve also heard that only about 1% of Americans have been infected. So, maybe it’s not too late to contain it. I leave that to the real experts in epidemiology, virology… to determine.

          On the bright side, it looks like the whole world – with the very notable exception of China – is working together to fight the virus. And while some, like China, will find a way to exploit this in order to gain more authoritarian control over their citizens, that certainly does not need to be the case.

          We will see in coming weeks what methods work. So far the only ones that have worked, and extremely well, are the ones you call “authoritarian”, and the one you call “freedom” hasn’t shown any benefit so far, but rather has cost tens of thousands of lives. The people breaking quarentine and risking needing a whole second round, while also very likely infecting others, are the vigilante authoritarians to be feared. If they were really smart, and just wanted to get things back to normal, they’d wear a fucking mask so as not to needlessly infect other people. We need the smarter option, not the most radical or libertarian or wingnut-fodder.

          What we do know is what worked early on. What works when a country has already fumbled the ball a few times is another story. Perhaps face-planting in the dirt is the next best route, but it is projected to insure millions of deaths.

          Well, I can’t predict the future, but this isn’t about civil liberties, it’s about how best to handle a pandemic. We’ll have to wait a while to see what works better.

          And as for authoritarianism, what greater infringement of ones freedom and liberty is there than to takes years of their life or take their life? Your argument, it seems, is to infect everyone now and get it over with, because everyone will get it anyways. But it does not appear to be the case that everyone will get it, thus you are demanding hundreds of thousands of people are sacrificed, and isn’t asking them to sacrifice their lives to what you think is the greater good a bit chilling and tyrannical? I don’t see the protestors on the side of democracy necessarily. They can also be on the side of anarchy, chaos, and self-destruction. All depends on how one frames it.

          And it’s always so much esier to sacrifice tens or hundreds of thousands of lives if ours isn’t one of them. Are you willing to lose your life to covid in order to expedite getting out of lockdown, or just that of others? Would you be willing to get a covid shot that would insure you got a full dose of the virus?

          I would instead urge caution and listening very carefully to the actual experts. In my opinion, science and technology are about the only thing holding us together. Of course, they aren’t the ones to assess the economic situation.

          I should add that I’m not sure about any of this, and I respect your opinion.

          Like

  6. Hey Eric, this is Sal. I’ve been thinking the protests are an indication of impatience, though I understand why they’re desperate. But in the long run it’s best to keep complying with the lockdowns because they’ll only be prolonged if they’re ignored, and that will mean more sickness and more economic suffering. Of course it’s bad to let the economy suffer now but it would suffer anyway if the virus spreads to widely to be contained, so rushing back to reopen could be like trading one bad thing for two bad things. It’s better to make a small sacrifice now than a big one later. At least that’s what seems to be the case. I think the protesters are wasting time because it’s not like the governors who placed these orders are going to say “okay fine, I’ll forget about public safety in the state I’m trying to run and lift the orders just to satisfy this crowd”. One guy said he was protesting because he’s upset over not even being able to buy gardening tools right now, but that’s just impatience. Best thing is to hang in there until it’s contained.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Sal:

      That’s exactly how it seems to me as well. The biggest risk of people violating the lock-down is that it will necessitate a longer, or second lock-down. There’s a lot of news leaking out of China that despite their flat-lined reporting of new cases, they are getting a second wave of the virus.

      The protesters also happen to be opposing the only thing that has been shown globally to combat the virus.

      Thanks for stopping by to comment.

      Like

  7. I don’t care so much about what people put on their signs (I kind of like the “live free or die” ones–it seems like they’ve already made their choice) but I do care that these tiny dick guys feel it necessary to prove how big and powerful they are by showing up at the Michigan state capitol with an assault rifle in one hand and a just-in-case-that-isn’t-enough handgun strapped to their hip. What the hell does that have to do with fighting a deadly disease? Are they going to shoot the virus?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think people are becoming really confused on the issue. One of the dominant arguments is that the lock-down takes away peoples’ civil liberties. They then see themselves as fighting authoritarian rule, and in some people’s heads this might get connected with the freedom to bear arms. The conspiracy theorists and some of the right wing blow-hards, like Rush Limbaugh, are filling peoples’ minds with false information, and the result is individuals who don’t have the best grasp on reality rise up to nobly and fearlessly fight the evil overlords and reptile aliens with bullets.

      What all of these people are missing is that the intent of the lock-down is not to take away peoples’ freedom, but to protect the public safety and save lives.

      Here’s an analogy I’ll use in part 2, which I’m about to write. Let’s say a beach closes because of great white sharks. True, it’s curtailing peoples’ right to go swimming. But, false, it’s not doing it in order to restrict public assembly and the right to petition the government. It’s doing it so you don’t get eaten alive.

      OK, on to part 2. Just made a few more images and have a few more arguments to make.

      Like

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