The truth of consequences
You can’t legislate morality. Or common sense. Or good behavior. You can only devise a system of punishment for the inevitable failures. Which does nothing to prevent them, so we all must live with the consequences. This of course applies to the COVID-19 coronavirus impact, effects, and response from citizens and governments. Do you really need leaders and officials to convince you to stay home and wash your hands? No you don’t. You need them to convince the “others”. The people you believe do not have enough sense to do it on their own. You need the force of law and its power to punish to make people behave better and stop threatening you with their indifference. But consequences, the only thing the law can provide, come only after the bad behavior, which will come without regard to your needs or fears, or the rules and regulations imposed to prevent it. On the spectrum from “business as usual” to martial law, there are a seemingly endless set of precarious choices that must inform our own lives and the actions of our elected and appointed government officials. Something short of full quarantine, armed guards, and sniper nests ought to allow for safe activities like walking the dog and getting some fresh air and exercise. Parks open? Parks closed? What does it matter? All of the space in our city that does not fall within a park is just as safe and dangerous as any other. Insisting that people not go out at all is not viable. Encouraging them to know and follow sensible guidelines while they take advantage of the city’s beautiful public spaces to find some comfort and solace is more likely to reduce their stress and yield better mental health and attitudes. This would be a good consequence. We are all stuck with all of us. While you may be able to prevent your own bad behavior - and we sincerely hope you will - you have no hope of preventing anyone else’s. Stay home. Wash your hands. Keep your distance.