Stop the Concerts; Close the Bars

Our community stubbornness makes it deadly to continue such gatherings

LENOIR, N.C. — Some of the smartest people I know are musicians. It is extremely complicated to play a musical instrument. The same with people who own bars. Any business is tough; it is among the toughest. So, again, bars are generally owned and operated by smart people.

So, allow me to ask a question. Why in the hell are there so many concerts being held — whether indoor or out? I don’t give a crap what the governor says; he’s up for reelection.

Let me state it clearly. This trend is stupid. Such events are super-spreaders. My bright musician friends and bar owners should know this. They are seeing how people behave. Don’t want to wear a mask? Fine. Make your political statement, but you may kill your grandpa in the process. A small price to pay for your “rights,” huh? Wait now, where in the Constitution does it say, “Congress shall make no law requiring the use of facemasks during a pandemic.” Oh, that’s right, there is no such provision.

So, just shut up about your rights. You DO NOT have the right to kill other people. (As an aside, I find it highly ironic that Republicans call themselves pro-life then walk around risking people’s lives, but I digress. Though, ouch! It hurts to be lumped with Republicans, doesn’t it my apolitical musician and artist friends?). This is why I find apathy about politics disgusting. Many of my musician and artist friends say they hate politics. I don’t like it either. It stinks. It’s nasty. The people are rude and crude. But boy oh boy, let the wrong ones get elected and you can quickly find yourself regretting your apathy. Like now.

I know there’s a lot of talk about “returning to normal.” Here’s a news flash. That isn’t going to happen. This pandemic has done what was inevitable. Exposed our selfishness. We are not the people we claim to be. It is musicians that are often those voices of prophecy and social criticism about such ignorance. That’s great. Keep making the music, but don’t kill off your audience in the process. I know also concerts are being held to help others. That is commendable, but as they saying goes, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

So, until there is a safe way to gather — and with the level of stubbornness in the population, that won’t be until well after a vaccine is developed — stop the concerts! Close bars. If you’re young you just might get through it without even knowing you had it — until you have to bury your grandma you infected just a couple of weeks earlier.

Right now, more than 220,220 Americans have died from the Coronavirus. Big numbers are hard to grasp, so let me help. Since early March, the families and friends of 220,220 (and counting) people have had to withstand the anguish of an unexpected death, with no time to visit at the end, and all of the emotional turmoil that goes with it. And, they are left wondering if they are next. You don’t think that hasn’t impacted the U.S.A.?

As a person that has worked in community preparedness and disaster management I can attest that these numbers are inexcusable. But they are caused not just by a lack of preparedness. These startling statistics are the result of our own behavior. That, we can change. On Nov. 3, we’ll hopefully take care of replacing the Commander-in-Chief, as we obviously are losing this war, so we need a new leader. But, for now, it’s up to us to stop it.

Another thing you learn when working disasters is that they all begin and end locally. Yes, the virus originated in China, but our behavior here, in Caldwell County, impacts Caldwell County. So, this is a local problem that we must work together to mitigate. So, to my musician friends and bar owners I plea: Be responsible. Stop the concerts. Close the bars.

What does a responsible parent do when the toddlers run wild and won’t listen? “Time out” seems like a good strategy to me. So, for God’s sake — and the sake of our families, friends and neighbors — act like adults and accept the facts before us. Take a time out.

© Michael M. Barrick, 2020. Photo by Wes Hicks on Unsplash