COVID-19 now rules the world

By Barbara Simpson

Are you adjusting to the sweeping changes the coronavirus is making on your life?

Likely not, as it seems every day there’s a new governmental decree of what we can and can’t do.

It’s bad enough that the bottom-line danger is catching the damn thing and possibly dying from it, but we also have to face the myriad legal threats from our own government – federal, state and local.

Each is flexing its muscle and leaving us to feel like criminals simply because we want to live our lives in freedom.

Forget that! We are in the midst of losing our freedoms, and it’s not likely we’ll get them back any time soon. Once government gets power over us, it’s more than reluctant to give it up.

A lot of this depends on where you live, but many of the demands on us stem from the feds. Regardless, the new “rules” are often infringements on our individual liberty and constitutional rights. The bottom line is that there is less and less we can do, and often, if we don’t comply, the iron hand of the law slams us down.

I live in California, and this state has issued “rules” for our behaviour that cover just about everything. We have an across-the-board shutdown order – stay in your home or residence except for a few allowed trips: to grocery stores, to get health care, caring for a family member, for personal financial needs, or to go to an “essential” job.

We are not allowed to visit family or friends, and encountering anyone away from our home requires us to maintain 6 feet of distance.

We are allowed to go out for exercise or to walk the dog, but we can’t go to dog parks. They’re closed – and remember, that separation of 6 feet from other people.

Other than that – shelter in place at home.

What about going to parks or to trails? Well – only if you can walk to them – all parking lots have been closed, and all 280 State Parks are also closed. Also tennis courts, sports fields and playgrounds are closed, as are public restrooms and drinking fountains.

How about the beach? The Pacific Ocean is right there for Californians. Well, no. It seems that over the last weekend, law enforcement gave citations to surfers when they returned to shore.

All this takes the fun out of life.

These regulations as to the use of parks and other recreation areas vary slightly by county jurisdictions, but they’re all more than restrictive, and we face legal ramifications if we violate the rules. The strongest penalty would be a misdemeanor and for business violations, license and health code sanctions.

Many businesses are essentially closed. The ones that legally remain open and are considered “essential” are grocery stores, drug stores, gas stations and health care facilities.

Then again, if you’re as lucky as I am, you will have a doctor who abruptly closes and leaves a message with his answering service: “closed until further notice.”

Where are the cops when I need them?!

How about plumbing or electrical work you might need? You can get it ONLY if it is deemed necessary for a “livable, sanitary and functional household.”

California ran into trouble when it tried to close gun stores, claiming they are not “essential.” The state allowed county sheriffs to close those establishments. That didn’t sit well with Second Amendment rights groups and the state was sued. As the arguments ensued, it wasn’t long before Homeland Security added gun stores to the list of essential businesses.

Despite that, depending on the jurisdiction across the state, gun stores were opened and closed, and the lawsuits continue, involving counties and sheriff departments.

The argument is based on the Second Amendment, but also the fact that leaving law-abiding citizens at the mercy of criminals is just plain stupid – and in my view, should be illegal.

Yet you have elected officials like John Gioia, a Contra Costa County supervisor, who was quoted in the East Bay Times as saying, “Law enforcement is well prepared to handle any issues. People don’t need to stock up on guns.”

Keep in mind, this is at the same time criminals in that county and others are being released from jail early because there is concern they could contract the virus behind bars!

Has the world gone mad? Yes.

The virus is worldwide, and the use of the law against citizens is almost everywhere. In London, 55-year-old Adam Lewis was arrested and jailed for six months because he deliberately coughed at a police officer, threatening to infect him with the virus.

So why are we living through all this? Look to China. The virus started, there and now it’s devastating the world. But, oh me, what a racist thing to say. We can’t call a spade a spade – or is that racist too?

And by the way, humans aren’t the only creatures at risk. Gorillas are susceptible to COVID-19 – and there is great concern in Africa about keeping them safe from the virus.

Rwanda has confirmed more than 40 cases of the disease, the highest in the region. There are more than 2,000 cases across that continent.

Rwanda had ordered a two-week lockdown of all non-essential businesses, but as happens, one man violated the lockdown. He wanted to go fishing, and did, in the nearby river. Unfortunately for him, he encountered a crocodile, which killed and ate him.

The BBC reported the incident; the man wasn’t identified.

The fisherman was the first virus-related death in that country.

I’m sorry – but as a journalist, I have one major question I want answered: What happened to the Croc? Did it get the virus?

Thinking people want to know!

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