Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Journal of the Plague Months: Vol. 1 No 3 -- Guns, toilet paper and dystopian fears

So I read this sentence in The Los Angeles Times:

"Gun sales are surging in many U.S. states, especially in those hit hardest by the coronavirus — California, New York, and Washington. But there’s also been an uptick in less-affected areas, with some first-time gun buyers fearing an unraveling of the social order and some gun owners worried that the government might use its emergency powers to restrict gun purchases."

Now, I don't want to get into arguments about the Second Amendment and there are (or should be) more pressing issues right now than gun ownership. I know many responsible gun owners. I'm not anti-gun but I am anti-crazy.

When I read the LA Times article, I wondered how bad things could get. Should we anticipate roving bands of armed desperados hijacking people on their way home from their already fraught shopping expeditions.

I hope never to read this headline: "Man shot in toilet paper hijacking."

OK, so some folks think shortages caused by pandemic panic buying will bring out the worst in people. I hope they're wrong, and I've seen evidence to the contrary.

One of my neighbors left notes for folks in the neighborhood saying he'd be happy to help bring supplies to the elderly. No one asked him. No one pressed him into duty. He took the initiative on his own, and I'm sure his offer reassured those who are worried that they might not be able to leave home to obtain food or prescriptions.

I hope that that's a more typical story than any involving those who anticipate wholesale corruption of the moral order.

Still, movies should have prepared me for the worst. When's the last time you saw a dystopian movie about how well everyone behaved during a devastating shortage of water, food or other essentials?

The apocalypse according to Mr. Rogers? Don't hold your breath.

Maybe this is a time to hope that staying at least six feet away from others will worsen the aim of any potential deviants or, better yet, to prove that we're better than some of our movies.

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