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My Thoughts on COVID-19

My title might lead some of you to think that I am going to comment on the virus itself. It isn't beyond the scope of belief that I would write some sort of conspiracy theory themed article about the virus being man made and all of the potential upsides that governments and corporations could reap by releasing a man made bug. This isn't that post though. For one thing, I can allow my brain to skip off down that mentally fantastic road if I really tried, but I am trying to live in the reality I can observe more often these days. There are probably plenty of people out there theory crafting if you are looking for that sort of thing.

Before I get to what I want to talk about I want to address a thing I did. I had a friend make me a meme of Samuel L. Jackson saying," Say Caronavirus again. Say it again. I dare you..." from his Pulp Fiction days. Why would I do something so massively insensitive? Christ, David people are sick and dying. It is such a douchebag move to make light of it.

Yeah. I got chewed out. Someone I care about tore me an absolute new asshole on social media. It pissed me off for a second. I started to defend myself. I started to lash out. I cannot stand to be corrected for making a joke or stating an opinion. Everyone should have the right to say most anything that they want, right? Well, not necessarily. I wanted to be offended.

Then I took a look at the feelings behind her response. I wasn't just mocking a situation that makes me nervous. I mocked something that has in a state of fear and panic. I may be an insensitive asshole, but I don't believe in mocking people's pain or fears. I quickly took the post down and deleted my complaint about not being able to be myself on social media. None of this is really about me or my rights. I would rather be a decent human being than vent my own stress online.

Now, I reserve the right to joke about inappropriate things. I am going to write something or say something that other people aren't going to like. I can be offensive and not even realize it. I refuse to be completely politically correct, but I also do really care about other people. I am not looking to shock anyone nor am I looking to hurt anyone's feelings. There is a line between stating an opinion or making a joke and hurting others with insensitivity. I prefer to stay on the shallow side of that line.

I appreciate when my friends say," Hey man, that might be a little too far." That is a huge function of friendship. We can draw one another away from foolishness. It helps us learn. If you don't trust enough in the people you surround yourself with to respect their feelings either you need better friends or you might need to work one some introspection. No one should run over the top of other people's feelings if it can be helped.

Of course, I haven't reached out to that friend and made any type of apology yet. I'm a little bit embarrassed. I also have had an absolutely insane week just like every other human on this planet. These are excuses. Sad face. I probably should have handled this already since I hold her in a place of high value even though we aren't very close. Anyway, I will beat myself up for being an emotional coward privately and get back on topic.

COVID-19 has hit the U.S. with a vengeance. For the first time in my life (that I remember) people are being asked to stay home. Businesses are being asked to limit hours or closed based on the necessity of their operation. Events and venues are closing. Bullets, Meat, and Toilet Paper are becoming nearly impossible to find. People are scared.

I am not sure that people are as afraid of the virus as they are of how other people are reacting. I put bullets on my set listing first for a good reason. I love to shoot. I think of myself as a responsible gun owner. I keep weapons for home defense, but really they are mostly for killing paper targets. I do fully expect that some day if we don't limit their population through target shooting that paper targets will humiliate and then devour humanity. I do my part. I keep enough ammunition locked up at my house to scare away a home invader, kill him and his accomplices outright if absolutely forced to do so, and still have a few rounds left over for the aforementioned war on paper targets.

I do not feel any need to advertise my gun love with an NRA hat. I don't have a single sticker on any of my vehicles promoting Mossberg, Glock, SIG, Walther, or any of the other Gods of the Gun Pantheon. I don't carry a pistol obviously on my person. This weekend almost made me reconsider that last one. People are being aggressive and bold.

Gun sales are heading for an all time high right now. As I mentioned before ammo is flying off the shelves. I'd love to believe that we were all planning to kill paper targets for the next few weeks while COVID-19 passes us by in a cloud of smoke that smelled strongly of gun powder. God, I love that smell. The stockpiling of guns and ammo doesn't feel like a bunch of enthusiasts passing time doing the whole pew pew thing. It feels like PREP. Maybe even DOOMSDAY PREP. That is unsettling.

People scare me. Scared people absolutely terrify me. In the best of times People are Stupid (Terry Goodkind explains this philosophy in great detail in his masterwork novel Wizard's First Rule) and they get into bad situations. I sat back amazed watching toilet paper vanish from store shelves. At first I laughed and joked. Then I noticed the home supply was getting to about half its normal level. Panic did not set it. Stress did. I hold Toilet Paper in very high regard. It is much more important than bullets. Though, I would not want to be without either one in a situation of great need.

I can be pretty comfortable with gun happy rednecks. Have a whole barn or bunker full of guns and ammo? No problem. We can totally be friends. What scares the life out of me right now are the people who normally wouldn't allow a gun in their home stocking up on a brand new 9mm with a high capacity magazine and a few hundred rounds of ammo. Karen and her new Smith and Wesson that she doesn't know how to use are still scared, but there is a difference between scared and scared with a gun.

There are three best case scenarios. Karen buys a gun safe and puts it beside the bed. The gun is needed. She pulls it out. She defends herself by fatally shooting a person trying to hurt Karen herself or Karen's family. It is important to note here that there is absolutely no scenario where Karen pulls the gun and does not use it with fatal intent. Guns are not meant for that and if you are not willing to kill someone with the gun you shouldn't own the gun, Karen.

The second best case scenario is that Karen puts the gun up. She doesn't need the gun during this time. She decides she is uncomfortable with guns again and sells the gun to someone who will own it and use it responsibly. Karen, do us all a favor and sell the gun cheap even though you never shot the thing.

Finally, Karen tries the gun out under the supervision of someone who can teach her how to use it properly. She finds out that shooting is fun. She becomes a responsible gun owner. Karen and her Smith live happily ever after and send many paper targets to their rightful graves.

What are the bad scenarios? Karen has the gun, she pulls it, she doesn't have the strength to actually use it and arms her attackers.

Karen doesn't store the gun safely. Little Karen finds it and blows away the neighbor, the neighbor's kid, or Fluffy the cat. More than likely the neighbors are safe. Little Karen probably shoots herself or Mommy Karen.

Karen forgets about the gun. Someone steals it. That person uses the gun to hurt other people.

Karen gets depressed. Karen uses the gun on her self. Guns talk to you when you are depressed. They can be seductively dangerous.

Wow. This is the first time I have really thought about how scary guns can be. Perspective is a bitch.

Here is the truth as I see it. COVID-19 itself is scary. Folks are dying. It is a viral pneumonia and nothing to play with. Even if I am not at risk I could give it to someone who is and accidentally kill them. That is nothing to be played with. We all need to be smart. We all need to be respectful.

I think it is great to have everything that you need, but lets avoid stockpiling to extreme levels. If we all only take what we need then there would be plenty for everyone. It also is a good time to make sure that we don't waste anything that we have.

The biggest danger beyond insane overreaction and the deadliness of the virus itself is people not knowing what to do with themselves. I think it is time to blog. It is time to vlog. It is time to start a podcast. It is time to make another play through of Skyrim and max out all of your skills. I have been perfecting my play through order for YEARS now.

Get caught up on your reading. Learn some new skills. Clean the house really, really well. Move the furniture. When you are done move it back. Or don't. It is your furniture after all. Clean out your closets. Write letters to your loved ones. Draw.

Do something to take your mind off of all of this. That will help you to make smart decisions.

The truth is this panic is just phase one. Isolation may last for a while. People are losing their jobs or having their hours cut. That leads to a lot of trouble and dissatisfaction in the world. The long lasting implications of this temporary problem are bigger than anyone can predict.

If you take the time to act rationally it is possible to thrive and survive. Remember what The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy said right on the cover: Don't Panic.

I am going to follow my own advice. Garin and I are going to record as much as we are able. I am going to get a lot of writing done. It would be cool to come out of this season of silliness with a novel written. I am going to get myself back in practice drawing again. I am going to post to social media, but I am going to be more thoughtful about what I put there.

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