This is going to go down in history as one very strange period of time. A fairly large portion of the population has, apparently, decided that the COVID pandemic is over.
When these people came to this conclusion varies anywhere from two weeks ago to two years ago. I honestly do not know how some of the more recent “the pandemic is over” converts will react if/when there is another variant. Perhaps they will accept going back to mask-wearing, or perhaps they will click their heels three times and pretend that will be protection.
Where we go from here is a big question that I do not know the answer to (few if any do). However, one concern that I have stems from a previous job, and my one rather unusual hobby.
Weather is one of my hobbies. This may seem like a strange hobby to some, but ever since I was a child, weather has fascinated me. Then between 2002 and 2005, I worked for a private weather company in communications.
Given my interest, it was a pretty cool job that I gave up when another opportunity presented itself. But I never lost my interest in weather, and part of the hobby includes being involved in online weather forums and getting to know meteorologists. I noticed that some of them were fairly nervous going into the pandemic, mainly because they have a lot of experience with this public and how a portion of society handles risk. Here is an example:
So, nearly two-thirds of all deaths in floods occur in cars. Not good! The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the parent organization of the National Weather Service, has a campaign to lower this number, to try to get people to stop driving into floodwaters. The results of this are less than encouraging. Here are 2020’s numbers:
The point here is meteorologists know that too many people just will not take obvious risks seriously, and will engage in some sort of magical thinking that they believe will protect them (“can’t happen to me!”). Pretty much the worries about how the public will respond to COVID were the same about their worries about how the public responds to impending severe weather: belief in absolute myths, general ignorance, mistrust of science, etc.
So, now that we have had two years of cries that taking precautions and giving a damn about others are violations of personal freedom, we are starting to see this attitude applied to other types of risk. And it is not just in the United States. Great Britain was hit by a pretty ferocious and deadly storm last week, but apparently, nature ain’t gonna tell them what to do:
It rules that there are people who are now just responding to not just COVID but literally anything that might be dangerous with "you're not the boss of me" pic.twitter.com/A8V5uEc7uq
— Zack Budryk (@BudrykZack) February 18, 2022
Let’s take a step back and look at what that is saying, but first, a bit about Galloway. He is one of those figures on the far left that often sounds like a right-winger (see Glenn Greenwald). He has lost his mind over COVID mandates. But never mind that, the comment about “our parents faced the Blitz” is something else because, you know, PEOPLE WEREN’T OUT AND ABOUT DURING GERMAN BOMBINGS. I am sure George would give them all a stiff lecture about cowering in basements, that is if he wasn’t killed by shrapnel while on a chippie run.
I’ve noticed similar sentiments about taking weather risks seriously on social media from Americans, more than in the past. There has always been this “anti-nanny state” aspect to the right-wing, but I wonder how bad this is going to get.
God help us when the next major hurricane is bearing down on an American coastline. I can easily imagine Failed Human Being Tucker Carlson telling his minions to ignore evacuation orders, as they are only trying to control you. We basically have a nation of obstinant 12-year-old boys declaring that they won’t mow the lawn.