As most loyal readers of Barker’s View know, these screeds are simply one mans warped views of the news and newsmakers of the day – neither always right, nor always wrong – opinions often explained with a dose of humor and sarcasm.
Your thoughts on the issues may vary – and that’s okay.
But, By God, no one should tell you how to think.
I don’t report the news – I grumble about it – and hold those we have elected and appointed to ostensibly look out for our interests accountable with scathing criticism when, in my jaded view, they fall short.
Unfortunately, in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, the news media and government mouthpieces are no longer reporting the news either.
Despite News-Journal editor Pat Rice’s “Why’s everybody pickin’ on me? Don’t shoot the messenger” dodge in today’s paper – perhaps its time Mr. Rice take a step back and actually read what his newspaper has been putting out, ad nauseum, for the past week.
For instance, the editorial board’s opinion piece on Friday, “Shut down Bike Week,” isn’t responsible editorial writing – its gross speculation, hype and hysteria – shackled to a liberal dose of transmission shaming that was simply over-the-top.
A hodgepodge of presumptuous “what if’s” that demanded local officials use the power of government to “shut down” the last 24-hours of a special event as some weird symbolic gesture of lock-step conformity – the “everybody’s doing it” mentality that says it’s important to do something – anything – even if its wrong.
Now, after a week of “All Coronavirus/All the time,” and demands for radical action by local government, Mr. Rice cloaks himself and his newspaper as merely the messenger – rather than admit he, and many other local and national media outlets, failed us when we needed them most – succumbing to his industry’s basic need for sensationalism in the face of a building crisis.
I think most will agree that this incessant fear-mongering by media outlets, and the predictable overreaction by some local governments, is both disappointing – and alarming.
For years we have sat idle while government – at all levels – stopped respecting or representing the will of the people in favor of doing the bidding of their political benefactors and creating public policy that controls various aspects of our lives in a “we know what’s best for the masses” arrogance that, I believe, is a very real threat to our freedom.
You don’t have to be a conspiracy nut to see the frightening overreaction caused by a lack of substantive information from official sources and gross speculation by others which has resulted in many ignoring our national virtues, making us all feel weak and vulnerable to a microbial monster we can’t see – which has resulted in the panicked evisceration of our strong national economy.
Don’t take my word for it. Have you tried to buy a roll of toilet paper lately?
To make matters worse, once respected sources in science, academics and the government are now saying, “We have the ability to put your constitutional rights on hold if we feel it is in your best interest” – to control your movements, lock your loved ones away in nursing homes in total isolation, flexing muscles by activating the National Guard and using an iron fist in a velvet glove to force the complete shut down of sports, entertainment and education.
Then, when they deem the threat is over, with the permission of our media and government, We, The Little People, can resume the now hollow promise of our constitutionally protected rights to peaceably assemble, speak freely, question the official narrative and move about at will, but only once the “crisis” has passed. . .
And doom on anyone who questions the motivations of these “do-gooders” with our best interests at heart.
I recently read a local reporter use the term “virus-denier” to describe anyone who dares challenge the All Knowing/All Seeing Great and Powerful elected officials and entrenched bureaucrats of our local and state governments who clearly know far more about how we should live our lives and manage our health than we do.
Because establishing community-wide panic, then marginalizing those who “think” differently from what we are told by the media and our clearly uninformed elected officials – essentially the butcher, the baker and the candlestick maker that we elect every two to four years to steward our tax dollars and set effective public policy – is the first step to legitimizing government overreach.
For instance, late Friday, Daytona Beach Mayor Derrick Henry came out of hiding and took the extraordinary step of “revoking” all permits related to Bike Week, effectively using the full might of the municipal government to obstruct lawful commerce and disrupt the remaining 24-hours of a special event vital to our local economy and languishing hospitality industry.
I don’t think we’ve seen anything yet. . .
Look, I’m no soothsayer – but I do know the mindset of local elected officials whenever billions in federal emergency response dollars are on the table.
So, here’s my short-term prediction:
Early next week, I suspect we will see virtually every municipality in Volusia County – if not the State of Florida – enact something they will call a “State of Emergency” – a prerequisite to bellying up to the federal teat to gorge greedily on the $50 billion earmarked for a local and state “response” to the coronavirus outbreak – just like their big sisters at the State of Florida and County of Volusia have already done.
We’ll also see something called “partial activation” of various local Emergency Operations Centers – which means low-level, non-essential staffers will be sitting around a large room twiddling their thumbs – with absolutely nothing to do except ensure the “partial activation.”
Believe me, nothing of substance will happen – other than our elected officials can say the Emergency Operations Center has been “partially activated.”
Feel safer now?
Because, while fanning the flames of panic may be irresponsible – losing out on “free money” from something Washington is calling the “Families First Coronavirus Response Act” is unthinkable.
And no one want’s to be left behind.
I want to commend Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood for his commonsense approach to providing area residents with the practical information they need to make decisions for themselves and their families – despite this weird need for secrecy and obfuscation that some local and state public health agencies have displayed from the onset.
Make no mistake, our Sheriff will take some heat from his “colleagues” in government for bucking the “system” and actually helping to protect his constituents by liberating them from this shameful information black hole that allows media to spin frightening “what if” scenarios and government agencies to hide their gross ineptitude.
Thank you Sheriff Chitwood. Giving people substantive information is important to the decision-making process for those who still have the ability to think and reason for themselves.
Look, the number of COVID-19 infections will rise – just like the seasonal flu or any other community acquired respiratory virus. So, it is incumbent on all of us to take reasonable precautions until this outbreak naturally subsides.
And make no mistake, this will end.
It’s also time we start acting like Americans, dammit – not helpless lemmings.
Once the hysteria of the moment begins to wane, my hope is that citizens will realize the unbridled power of the media to control our behavior and blunt our natural instincts through around-the-clock hype (a very effective marketing tool) and how quickly our rights and freedoms are ignored by those we have elected and appointed when they feel it is in our best interest to trample them.