January 27th, 2022


How long?

Greg Crosby

By Greg Crosby

Published March 27, 2020

We are more than half way through with the government's 15 day "stop the spread" campaign initiated by the CDC.

President Trump has said that he "doesn't want the cure to be worse than the problem," and of course the media criticizes him for that, and of course they are wrong again.

The president is absolutely right; we can't allow our country to die, which is exactly what will happen if we continue this life stoppage for months on end.

Maybe we can stop the operation of our country for a few weeks, but to attempt to keep everyone unemployed and sitting at home for months will lead to disaster. No civilized society of millions can endure doing nothing forever. Infrastructure will break down, businesses will dwindle, crime will increase, and American society as we know it will end.

Economic calamity is one thing, but the human consequence will be far greater. You can't shut people down indefinitely, to use a tired old cliche; it would be a ticking time bomb.

For one thing, unless we simply resign ourselves to mass suicide, we need to keep workers on factory lines, farmers in the fields, truckers on the roads, and the suppliers shipping our necessary goods to keep going.

Too many things are too important for sustaining our existence to halt. But beyond life's necessities, people must have a sense of normalcy, purpose and self-respect.

Human beings cannot and will not accept a caged animal existence, shut in and away from others, waiting to be fed by a benevolent keeper. It won't work for any length of time. We are social animals by nature, we need to work, create, and communicate with others, and not just through social media.

We need to touch, to interact. If that is taken away from us then we become no different than prisoners in solitary confinement.

What we could lose mentally and spiritually we might never get back.

The horrible consequences to society are worse than anything Rod Serling might have dreamt up for The Twilight Zone.

Personal depression so deep and profound might lead to a suicide rate beyond anything one can imagine.

Old people who live alone, without friends or family to check on them, will stop venturing out of their homes for fear of contracting the virus and could literally die of starvation. And what is the breaking point for couples and families living in close quarters for long periods of time?

Another timeworn cliche is the rubber band analogy. You can only stretch a rubber band so far until it snaps.

Children who are confined for long durations could become cranky, out of sorts and sad.

Kids need to play physically with other kids.

And what about the teenagers and twenty-somethings with their raging hormones and natural aggression? Participating in sports activities offered youth a safe outlet for pent up energy, and attending sporting events gave them mental exercise.

All the other things young people engaged in like music concerts, getting together with friends, and even shopping have been stopped.

How long before the tensions and stress of doing nothing boil to the surface in these young people? How long before they decide to rebel and gather in the streets, not because they are necessarily bad, but out of boredom and utter frustration? If they begin to think that the end of the world is close at hand we'll see panic like never before.

We have so many closed stores now. Closed stores loaded with merchandise, in some cases really valuable merchandise. At what point will looting begin?

Nobody wants to say this, or even think it, but I've lived in Los Angeles all my life and I've seen what mobs can do.

Looting, destroying, and killing is part and parcel of panicked angry people, especially people in despair.

I've also seen police stand by helplessly and simply watch as these rioting mobs took over whole blocks of neighborhoods.

President Trump is well aware of all this and has even said that perhaps by Easter we may see areas of the country going back to somewhat normal living.

I'm sure that he and his administration are working on ways to combat the coronavirus while at the same time attempting to keep the American structure solid and able to rebound from this pandemic.

Our people need to stay healthy and a large part of staying healthy is having a healthy world to come back to once the virus is under control.

Sorry that the column this week is so gloomy but it needed to be said. We all hope that the worst doesn't happen, but we need to be aware of the negative realities.

Meantime we keep washing our hands and avoid touching anything that could possibly be contaminated, including other people.

Try to keep your sanity and your composure. And help your loved ones.

Until our leaders can come up with a better way of handling this, that's the best we can do.

Passover and Easter is the season of miracles. Let's hope for one.

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JWR contributor Greg Crosby, former creative head for Walt Disney publications, has written thousands of comics, hundreds of children's books, dozens of essays, and a letter to his congressman. He's been a JWR contributor since 1999.