Who’s to blame for our Lubbock COVID disaster? The president and others who can’t handle the truth

Remember when coronavirus cases reached a few dozen a day in the spring? Then it dropped back down and at that point, almost all the Lubbock deaths were confined to nursing homes.

We heard it could get worse, but hoping the worst was behind us.

Those were the good old days … not to say any of the Days of COVID are good.

In the past few months we’ve seen hundreds and hundreds of cases a day in Lubbock, deaths are now tenfold of those early numbers and Lubbock County was one of the nation’s COVID hotspots.

Who’s to blame?

President Trump and a lot of Americans who didn’t do the right thing, including people in West Texas.

We seem to have devolved into two kinds of Americans:

  • Ones who believe the virus is real, are wearing masks, socially distancing and staying away from large groups.
  • Ones who either believe the whole thing is a fraud, an attack on their freedom or feel we ain’t in New York City so we won’t get it.

The second group’s ignorance  has cost lives.

As the death count nears 500 in Lubbock we’ve lost a  beloved judge in Ruben Reyes, a beloved doctor in Juan Fitz and many more.

Did they have to die? Could more responsibility have saved them?

Yes.

Shame on those who’ve waltzed around the past few months thinking you know more than infectious disease experts.

But back to the president.

Congratulations for fast-tracking the vaccine and prayers things turn around quickly as it starts going into American arms.

But shame on you for not masking up when in public, mixed messages about how serious this threat was and holding huge rallies that served to spread the virus.

Meanwhile,  elsewhere on the planet saw better leadership and results.

I did a little research. As of Sunday, of the top 25 U.S. counties with the worst virus outbreaks, 22 of the 25 voted for President Trump in the November election. Their numbers are high because their leader was not a good role model on this and, to some degree, they are more rural counties where, I believe, people feel they’re already socially distancing.

That’s great  when you’re out on your 40 acres with no one around. Maybe it gives a false sense of security when y’all go into town.

On Thanksgiving, I went looking for sandhill cranes at the Muleshoe Wildlife Refuge.

It seemed like we struck out when … right around sundown … the sky started filling up with hundreds and hundreds of cranes getting ready to land on the dry lake beds for the night. It was a stunning sight and worth the  chilly temperatures. On the way home, I drove north to Muleshoe to get a hot beverage for the drive back to Lubbock. It was a longer route, but I felt safer driving at night on a divided two-lane highway on a holiday than the other routes.

While we were in the convenience store with masks on, people came and went and not one of them more a mask, including a mother and her kids.

Don’t tell me this is about your freedom.  Your freedom ends when it can harm me.

What happened to the America that won World War II through sacrifice?

It ended when the Internet and social media turned us into left and right echo chambers. I get both sides on my Facebook feed. People who are assured the science is a crock, masks don’t work and once they’re forced to wear a mask, their guns will be taken next.

We really no longer have what we used to call media … we have echo chambers.  As long as people believe what’s in their echo chamber they stop thinking for themselves and parrot the group think. For example, people on the political left who live on the coasts and think everyone who lives between L.A. and New York is a toothless cracker. I take great offense at that … I have my teeth.

And it’s becoming more fractured. Some conservatives are now turning away from FoxNews and Facebook for Newsmax and Parler. Even a tighter echo chamber. No matter if you’re in an echo chamber on the left or right, not everything you see or hear is true. It makes it harder to deal with truth if you don’t recognize it or even ponder it. Reminds me of the Jack Nicholson line in  “A Few Good Men,” when he yells, “You can’t handle the truth!”

As I wrote months ago, freedom comes with responsibility and if we’re not responsible, government comes in and takes freedom. We have another chance to fix this by taking the vaccine.

If you won’t take the vaccine because  you still think this is some conspiracy, I have no idea what to tell you because I cannot fathom how you’d get to that decision. The Mayo Clinic debunks vaccine myths here.

(The funniest thing about an unfunny issue are the posts on social media saying “you won’t take the vaccine because you’re not sure what’s in it, but you’ll eat a McRib.”)

And there’s one other reason I blame the president.

He’s in charge.

When I was the editor of the local newspaper and there was a mistake, people would call me. Sometimes they were not very nice. But I was in charge of what went in the paper and if we messed up, I’d apologize. I may not have made the mistake, but I took responsibility for it.

We should have done better as a country since this hit. And that falls at his feet.