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Editorial – We are now on the brink of chaos.

People wait in a line to enter a gun store in Culver City, Calif. on March 15, 2020. Coronavirus concerns have led to consumer panic buying of grocery staples, and now gun stores are seeing a similar run on weapons and ammunition as panic intensifies. Ringo H.W. Chiu—AP

PortandTerminal.com, March 18, 2020

NEW YORK – There’s a growing feeling in America that we are on the edge of something more terrifying than a deadly virus. That we’re on the edge of chaos. A complete break-down of our rules, routines and norms.

The feeling has been there for some time. Extreme climate change, growing income inequality, and the bitter polarization in our daily political discourse were like a persistent nagging cough to worry us.

Fauci to congress – “It’s going to get worse. Millions of deaths possible.”

And then suddenly this virus, which our most trusted medical experts say could kill millions of us, has suddenly, and rightfully, terrified us all – pushing us closer to the edge of chaos.

The Creep to Chaos

The current creep to chaos started with the banalest of all things, toilet paper. Stupid f#cking toilet paper. COVID19 on its way? Better have lots of bathroom tissue on-hand in case you go into lockdown. So we all started buying it until there wasn’t any left to buy.

Then the hoarding of basic supplies started in earnest. Hand sanitizer, masks, chicken, pasta, bottled water and on and on the list of sold-out basic items go. Photos of empty shelves fueled the panic.

Empty grocery shelves as lone shopper walks away from camera leaving shopping cart unattended.

The panic created snaking line-ups at grocery stores, fights, and even stabbings. Media coverage of similar scenes of panic buying from around the world only confirmed the belief that hoarding was the right thing to do. Stock up! Get ready!

But the underlying feeling though has always been, get ready for something far worse. Chaos. Fear.


Judy Shape, left, waves to her daughter Laurie Spencer, right, on March 11th at the Life Care Center in Kirkland, WA. In-person visits were not allowed at the center. (AP PHOTO Ted S. Warren)

People have a right to be afraid of this virus. I am. My parents are old and vulnerable. My 7-year-old daughter has a compromised immune system. I fear for her health, and my parents’ were they to catch this virus.

Suddenly, we’ve all learned that this virus is not something to be taken lightly.

As of today, there are almost 215,000 confirmed cases of COVID19 globally and 8,732 deaths. Those numbers will probably seem fantastically out of date and low by the time you read this article. As you read this, how many people are dead now? 10,000? 20,000? More?

So where do we go from here?

We are not descended from fearful men

World War 2, soldiers leave troop carrier on the beach as they wade ashore.

America is a great country, but our greatness has never been a gift. Wars have been fought and cemeteries have been filled with our soldiers and citizen warriors to secure our greatness.

Now it’s our turn to step up and be counted as we face our own enemy. An invisible one, but one no less deadly than others we’ve faced in the past.

As the American journalist Edward R. Murrow said when waging his own war in the 1950s, “We are not descended from fearful men”. Murrow was right. We rise when called upon to, we fight with courage and God willing, we win.

What do we do now?

We help each other. At a grassroots level. Then help some more. Help old people. Help vulnerable people. Do whatever you can for the most vulnerable amongst us. Check-in on your neighbors (safely). Share. Comfort. Call.

Close up of sick man starting into camera. Respirator on has face.
Dr. Li Wenliang was killed in early February by the coronavirus he’d warned China about.

Also, listen to the scientists and doctors. We are all lost without them. Many of them are going to get sick and some will die as they try to wage their own war against this virus, trying to save us. Be humble and listen to what they say. Act upon their advice.

And finally, let’s put a cease-fire to this poisonous vitriol between the Democrats and Republicans that exists in our country right now.

Love our President or Hate our President? Neither matters now. He’s our President. Help him and support him to rise to this great challenge that he faces. That we all face. His success means saved lives.

That’s really all that matters right now.

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