By CHRIS DIXON
Remember the good old days when we’d pile into the car and go on a road trip? Cruisin’ the highway, windows down, tunes on the tape deck, and out of nowhere a Porsche or a jacked Mustang would blow by us as though we were parked?
Remember that smug sensation a few miles later, when we saw that same car pulled over and an officer of the law writing up a speeding ticket that would cost a day’s pay?
That speeding car put everyone else on the road in danger, and we have the statistics to prove it. Our response to drivers who put others in danger is to legislate speed limits, and to punish the few who refuse to obey the law.
Fast-forward to six months ago when coronavirus was new news and the term “global pandemic” was not fully understood. Warning cries from the few people who knew how serious our situation was (is), were treated like Elvis sightings.
My point is that while living with COVID-19 is relatively new concept for us – living within the rules is not.
We know absolutely that it is possible to decrease the spread of COVID-19 by following a few simple rules, namely staying home if possible, wearing a mask in public, maintaining a two-metre distance from the nearest person, washing our hands and not handling products we are not purchasing.
We also know absolutely that ignoring these relatively simple rules can lead to outbreaks of infections, and that the coronavirus spreads quickly and easily in a dense crowd of people who aren’t wearing masks. We know this as fact. It is not a matter of opinion. Follow the rules and the incidence of COVID-19 infection goes down. Ignore the rules and the infection rate goes up.
And yet you can’t go anywhere safely on this island. There is always some unmasked idiot in a hurry who will try to blast past you in the grocery lineup. In spite of the best efforts of the organizers, the Tuesday Farmers’ Market is impossible to navigate safely, because 10 per cent of the patrons refuse to wear a mask and some are so stupid that they will actually walk right into you! The Saturday market is worse.
All those signs saying “stay home, shop alone, maintain a safe distance” — they’re there for a reason, you dolts. This isn’t recreation. All that tape on the floor and chalk on the sidewalk — those are “no trespassing” signs so wake up you bloody fool, and back off!
It seems we’ve gone as far as we’re going to get with polite messages and kindness. One option is for most of us to avoid town and commerce as much as possible. We cannot be fugitives in our own community because of the behaviour of a few inconsiderate bullies.
Or we can demand some protection from the agencies who make the rules, namely that they enforce them regardless of the cost, and that they penalize offenders as a means of recovering those costs. An abuser-pay system, like speeding tickets.
I want my island back, safely.