Opinion: Protests Do little to help Return to Normalcy

Scott Reckers | Staff Writer

When a global event like a pandemic occurs, it affects everybody — hence “global.” COVID-19 is the most wide-spread, hard-hitting pandemic in recent memory. The virus spreads quickly and either takes a victim or moves on to the next. Governments all over the world put restrictions on what we can do, where we can go, and who we can see. All of this is for good reason — there are 3.62 million confirmed cases of the coronavirus and 253,000 deaths worldwide as of this publication. Those numbers will continue to rise, and they will rise faster if we try to go back to normalcy early. 

In the United States some people have met their breaking point. Across the country people are protesting the lockdown suggestions issued by their respective governors. Many of these protesters are openly carrying firearms, American flags, signs, and Trump flags. Protesting is legal and all, but the open carrying of firearms is unsettling to say the least, especially when people who are going out of their way to disobey public safety guidelines and yelling outside government buildings.

Although I understand why some people have a reason to protest, the lockdown is affecting many citizens very negatively. Millions of Americans that were living paycheck to paycheck or just making ends-meet are now jobless. Many citizens’ mental health is also taking a hit as social activities are strongly discouraged. But these protesters are not only putting themselves at risk but everybody else as well. By blocking roads with their cars they are preventing essential workers from getting to work. They are blocking entrances to hospitals and ambulances, so those who are in need of medical care are also at risk because of these careless actions. Peaceful protest is legal in the United States, but these are no longer peaceful. One man has lost his life to these protesters, an essential worker. He was shot and killed for telling a customer to wear a mask. A park ranger was pushed into water after telling park attendants to distance themselves. A protest organizer told those coming to the protest to bring firearms, and later two pipe bombs were found in his house. 

Careless people putting countless lives at risk, preventing medical staff from providing possibly life saving care, and spreading the virus. Why? I know people need their jobs back, I know the whole global economy is suffering but this will only slow the return to normalcy in the long run. All they are doing is making the virus worse in their area, slowing down the lifting of lockdown. Sounds pretty counterintuitive. It’s essentially a risk without reward. This behavior is unacceptable and uncalled for. What if one of the protesters contracted COVID? Even if they don’t need to go to the hospital, they will spread it to someone, like a loved one, who may need medical attention. Where will they go, not if, but when this happens? The same hospitals that they were blocking the entrances to, the same hospitals they were protesting in front of with guns. That is, if they even care about someone besides themself. 

Everybody, please stay home. If you must go out do it right with a mask, hand sanitizer and stay away from other people. If we can’t even follow those simple instructions this virus will get even worse even faster. You will get your haircut in time, you will see your friends again, you will be able to go to restaurants again, you will be able to return to work again. All of this in time. Protesting this will only escalate the situation and make the return to normalcy take longer. If your state does lift restrictions prematurely due to restrictions, countless lives will be lost, and more than likely the state will go back to lockdown. Just wait it out. Stay home.