Bradley Sluder of Milford, Ohio, has apologized. You may remember Mr. Sluder from his nonchalance and defiance on a Florida beach two weeks ago when, in the face of more and more dire warnings, he said, “If I get corona, I get corona. At the end of the day, I'm not gonna let it stop me from partying.”
Bradley Sluder took a great deal of criticism for his blatant disregard for others. His stupid comment, probably made after a few doses of liquid refreshment, was not so much evil as it was ignorant. I did not defend him then and I won’t defend him now. He became the face of denial—and that he'll have to live with—but he apologized and that’s enough.
If we were to go crucifying Mr. Sluder, we would have to go through many others first. Let’s start with Governor Kay Ivey of Alabama who said yesterday “Folks, at this point, we have no current plans to [shut down],” adding, "We have seen other states in the country doing that, as well as other countries. But however, y’all, we’re not California. We’re not New York. We aren’t even Louisiana.” And on the same conference call Alabama State Health Officer Scott Harris said “I think the disease is new enough that it’s really difficult to say how long it will last.” Difficult to say, unless you listen to EVERY expert and epidemiologist. But those two want to keep Alabama’s economy humming. So there!
In Arizona Governor Doug Ducey has failed to close restaurants, bars, and businesses.
Arkansas governor Asa Hutchinson said at a news conference on March 16 that restaurants can remain open if they wish. (Many have wisely closed on their own.)
Mississippi governor Tate Reeves has yet to order the closure of major businesses, restaurants, or bars. Mississippi has only 320 confirmed cases, but neighboring Louisiana has over 1100. If Reeves thinks the "Mighty Mississippi" can hold back the virus, he's probably wrong. Even worse, imagine how much good he could do by shutting down the state before the numbers increase.
Montana’s Steve Bullock has not issued statewide closures of bars and restaurants, though many counties have issued these orders on their own.
The list goes on, and these individuals, like Mr. Sluder, are culpable; but their actions are not inexplicable when we have a federal government that refuses to take charge—that issues contradictory, illusory, and downright false information daily. While experts maintain that a month of shutting down everything non-essential can flatten the curve and impede the spread of the virus, the president continues to make outlandishly optimistic suggestions about an Easter resurrection.
Aside from the dripping irony of one of our most blatantly immoral leaders going all in on a religious holiday, every scientist and medical expert knows that opening up the country prematurely will mean a year or more of attempted containment and millions more deaths. It took Wuhan two full months to slow things down—we’ve been at it a week or two and already the slow-witted are ready to declare victory.
Let's hope that by Easter we see that some of the earliest hard hit locations are over the hump, and that others who were later to receive it in full force are self-isolating as much as possible. And maybe by May 1, at least half the country would have withstood the worst of it. But even that may be optimistic, and with Trump champing at the bit to get businesses rolling again, we need to hope that most of our governors remain the grown-ups in the room and keep people off the streets.
Yesterday I wrote about the exigency of using the 25th Amendment to oust Trump from the White House. Call his Easter Declaration Part II.