This is Life and Death and We Can’t Be Afraid of Living

by | Apr 30, 2020 |

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As the pandemic and the American lockdown grinds along there are some cracks starting to appear; cracks that can potentially be a real problem for every single one of us. John Tyson of Tyson foods has recently sent an open letter describing his fear of a food chain interruption, he has closed most of his plants on a “temporary” basis due to the effects of the virus and the shutdown. He believes other food processing places may do the same and that’s where the food shortages could start.
The other cracks we are seeing that are concerning are the way people are beginning to react to each other during this crisis. As was expected the lockown began with concern, but a lot of light heartedness, people posting on social media the things they were doing in the quarantine, the funny family skits and videos, and the jokes about hunting for toilet paper, but recently the tone is changing.
My wife and I and many other people we know are tired of being in lockdown, even though we understand the need to prevent the spread of the disease; we have an 87 year old relative we care for and we certainly don’t want him to get sick. But the lockdown must begin to come to an end sooner rather than later for a host of reasons beyond my being tired of it. The economy for one and the mental health of a lot of people in our country for another.   
The tone of the interactions about the lockdown are definitely getting darker and more agitated as we search out a way to climb back before we find ourselves in a great depression with few options. To this point I recently posted on social media, out of frustration to some degree, that our Independence Day here in our home was May 20th.

We have done what our governor has asked, we have done what our president has asked, we have practiced safety as intently as we can, but we see people we know who are struggling and their finances are running out. It is clear this situation cannot go on for another 2 or 3 months.

Well let me tell you, the reaction we received from many people was horrific! We were accused of wanting to kill people, I was called a hater of the elderly, one person went so far as to tell me that if I am pro-life I would stay in until the government said it was OK to go back out, otherwise I should accept the fact that I’m really pro-choice since I want to think for myself!
On the other hand, about 50% of the other comments were supportive of getting back to the real world sooner rather than later as they could see the ultimately negative effects that destroying the economy would have, but the vitriol and venom from those who don’t want to get back to normal was amazing. One guy even attacked me with what I’m sure was what he thought was the worst thing he could say to me – “You’re a capitalist who just wants the economy to survive instead of people”.  
To set the record straight I want people to live – me, my wife and kids, my 87-year-old father in law and everyone else, even the haters. But do we just allow the country to die right before our eyes? At some point all the government largess, you know like that awesome $1200 check that only some got, and efforts to stave off foreclosure and bankruptcy will come to an end. The 30 million people who recently found themselves unemployed, may find that a permanent position, then what? A situation potentially worse than the Coronavirus.
I suppose if we had any faith in the media and the “News” about the virus and its potential we could make more rational decisions based on real information, but the media has weaponized this virus in its attack against President Trump, to deny that is to deny reality. This means people are being used to push one side of the story and not the other and there is a lot of confusion and fear about what is going on. 
The panic and sheer unhinged nature of some people who are discussing this crisis creates its own self-fulfilling scenarios. It is almost a mimic of the pro-Trump anti-Trump breakdown of our society in general; if you hate him and see him as the devil destroying our country then you believe he said you should drink Lysol and inject yourself with disinfectants to stop the spread of COVID-19, if you don’t see him as a tyrant, but rather as a man fighting for traditional America then you understood exactly what he was saying, but there doesn’t seem to be any acceptance in the middle. 
The fact that it depends on the political party of your state governor as to whether you can go back to work to support your family anytime soon is a talisman and the only signpost you need to see to understand the weaponization of this situation, and that does not create a manageable way forward it creates chaos and will lead to bigger problems.
This split demands we look at the reasons for such diametrically opposed points of view and the attendant assumptions that go with them. If you’re liberal you stay closed and look for the government to fairly and justly provide for everyone appropriately so we can all stay locked down indefinitely. Just ask yourself: “How’s the distribution of those $1200 checks and the money for unemployment going?” Not so well is the answer, how can government provide for everything for months on end if they can’t even mail you a check in the course of three weeks?
On the other hand as a conservative, many people see the danger of going out too soon, but they know we cannot stay lock-downed indefinitely, that we must create a path forward, a path back to an economy that provides the opportunity for us to take care of ourselves. 
Based on the reactions from the social media post I put out and described earlier about staring up the economy, I can say we are in trouble. We are not united on this and we will have problems.
The experiment of the few states that are opening up will be an indicator of where we are on the timing of a return. If it goes well then others will see this and begin to call for an opening. If it goes bad there will be a recoiling and panic that could spell doom for our nation. It is not easy to decipher the best course of action, but taking no action is an action all unto itself with its own consequences.
Before I exit this thought pattern let me just predict one possible eventuality.

If the startup begins in the next few weeks, by June 1, and if there is even one person who comes down with COVID-19 and dies in the state where they opened you will hear a chorus of media and politicians screaming about blood on Trump’s hand and demanding his head on a platter, of this there is no doubt.

But if we stay locked down and the next great depression starts, people lose their homes, savings, educational opportunities, businesses, jobs and careers, suicides increase and we are plagued with depression and all the negative effects that can bring to individuals and the society will those same people and the politicians lament that we didn’t at least try to get started? 
I don’t know, most likely scenario here will be an outcry from the polls and the media that Trump waited too long to restart; all the arguments and attempts to restart as soon as possible will be forgotten and history will be rewritten one newscast at a time, portraying this as the worst case of leadership ever seen and the only hope is a change in leadership, to the left of course, so government can save us. Do you see the pattern here? This is a virus we are fighting, but it is also an opportunity for some to advance an agenda, never forget this, we are a political people, split down the middle with no room for meeting in the middle and this can be our undoing.
I am not a hater or a person who wants anyone to die, I am a man looking at a tragedy unfold before my eyes. A tragedy that could destroy our country and our families and I’m trying to divine a way to change this for the good of everyone, I’m asking questions, I’m looking for solutions and I see what I believe is a truth; we must be cautious going forward and reopening the country, but forward we must go. That’s an opinion, I have no power to make this happen just a voice to say my piece, we all have a voice, but if we use that voice to accuse and attack instead of thinking and coming together then we will fail. 
Tomorrow will come, one way or the other, what kind of tomorrow we have is up to us, we can sit and wait and hope for the best or we can go forward with a plan for safety and hope for the best. Whichever we choose should be based on fact, thoughts and considering all the possibilities and consequences, not to win an argument or make political points or win an election, this is life and death and we can’t be afraid of living.   
What will you choose?

Lt. Joseph Pangaro

Joseph Pangaro is a retired Police Lieutenant from the Township of Ocean, Monmouth County, NJ. During his 27 year career, Lieutenant Pangaro served in many capacities. After nine years as a patrol officer, he was transferred to the detective bureau, where he served 12 years. During that time, Lt. Pangaro prepared and executed hundreds of search warrants, testified in numerous high profile criminal court cases, and excelled in the area of criminal investigations, including; homicides, sexual assaults, drug crimes, fraud, burglary, juvenile investigations, economic crimes, vice crimes, quality of life crimes and other crimes of violence. He has acted in undercover capacities and worked with numerous local, county, state, and federal agencies. Joseph Pangaro served as a sergeant in the detective bureau, supervising a group of highly motivated and active officers in the unit and the “Quality of Life” unit.

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