Confused what to do during this crisis? It’s not a hoax, listen to experts and be inspired by our wide-open spaces to keep spreading out

Those of us who lean right of center generally want less federal government and more local control … education is an example brought up often.

The coronavirus crisis is a perfect example playing out.

There’s so much information out there and a lot is conflicting.

Liberal friends on Facebook are more than beside themselves (which is not physically possible) after President Trump  said we could all be back to normal by Easter. At the same time I’m seeing reports of the great things the president is doing and his approval ratings are at their highest point in his presidency.

I see conservative friends on Facebook complimenting New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on how he’s handling the crisis, which is acute in New York.

Governors are leading the charge in many states with large populations. Mayors are trying to do their best. The Mississippi governor said he wants the state to be more open than what most communities are doing. But if a mayor of a Mississippi town wants tighter control, he or she should have that right.

I understand President Trump’s trying to give people hope, but the trends and medical experts make me believe Easter is too soon.

Since saying that he’s said the timeline is fluid.

More than anything else, I believe in the concept of Flattening the Curve … in other words, keeping the virus from spreading so fast that our hospitals can’t handle patients who gets seriously ill and then we’re facing what’s happening in Italy.

Florida officials should be flogged for allowing Spring Break crowds at beaches … which has led to lots of people getting the virus.

When cases stop growing, then we can discuss getting back to normal.

And just today, Wednesday, March 25, cases in Lubbock County have jumped from 14 to 19.

Every day, I pray God wipes out this disease and we can get back to normal.

But if there’s anything I’ve learned about God, it’s that He acts on His timeline … not ours.

I already do a lot of work from my home office, so staying home on The Acre south of Woodrow Road, is pretty easy to do, communicating with clients by email or phone.

Social distancing is easy right now.

What happens when it gets worse? Because so far it is.

The feds should give us guidelines and let state and local governments make the call.

And those calls should protect lives first, the economy second.

When Lubbock Mayor Dan Pope recently said we should keep groups to less than 200, a friend of mine on Facebook was very angry, saying that’s too much.

As more information came in, Dan lowered that number  and then lowered it again.

It’s easy for people to criticize leaders … especially if they’ve never led.

Leading in an unprecedented situation  is not easy.

I was editor of the Thousand Oaks News Chronicle in the early 1990s when the Rodney King trial took place in Ventura County, just west of Los Angeles County.

If you don’t remember, Rodney King was beaten by Los Angeles police officers, caught on video by someone nearby.

The trial was moved to Ventura County.

Three officers were acquitted and the jury failed to reach a verdict on the third.

That sparked the terrifying Los Angeles riots.

Thousand Oaks was in Ventura County and as part of our coverage, we ran the names of the jurors at the end of the verdict story on an inside page.

It was public information … anyone could have found it.

My phone didn’t stop ringing for a few days … people ripping our decision to publish the names.

They feared angry mobs  almost 50 miles away would come to Thousand Oaks and kill people in retaliation while trying to track down the jurors.

If I remember right, I got more than 100 calls.

I was discussing this with our corporate vice president of news back then, who was based in Cincinnati.

“But it’s a public record, don’t they understand that?” she said.

I agreed … but told her people were so scared from what they were seeing on TV that the concepts of public records did not matter.

After a few dozen of those calls, I realized I was right about it being public information, but wrong about publishing it.

And the epiphany … all my training and experience up to that point was we publish public information.

But I’d never been in a situation like that before. There was no playbook, no best practices, no lessons over the years.

I ended up writing a piece for the magazine of the American Society of Newspaper Editors under the headline:

“It was a mistake to name jurors in L.A.’s King trial.”

The mobs never came close to Ventura County. But the fear was real.

And … I never faced a similar situation.

So back to our leaders.

All their experience vs. no playbook for how to handle this.

Not every decision will be right.

But I’d rather trust local leaders talking to local experts on what to do … taking all the info from other leaders into consideration.

I hope county commissioners paid serious attention to the county medical examiner when he shared his concerns earlier  in the week.

Meanwhile, be happy we live in the wide-open spaces where spreading out is easier (the photo above is looking west from The Acre).

According to this story on KCBD, Lubbock County gets a B on social distancing, according to a company that can see how much people are spaced out through technology.

So we can still do better. Be happy to do your part by staying at home as much as possible. Get carryout from local restaurants to help them. There are ideas all over social media on other ways you can help. And pray.

But if you think this whole thing is a hoax and you don’t want to pay attention to what experts are telling you … you’re a fool … the numbers don’t lie.