"Pandemic Amnesty?" I Don't Think So - TribPapers

“Pandemic Amnesty?” I Don’t Think So

Asheville – Did you happen to catch Emily Oster’s “We Need to Declare a Pandemic Amnesty” article in “The Atlantic” magazine? The 42-year-old is an economist at Brown University. Her article was subtitled, “We need to forgive one another for what we did and said when we were in the dark about COVID.” Oster argues that we need to forgive one another and forget the crazy things that happened in the name of “stopping the spread.”

She starts the article off by saying, “In April 2020, with nothing else to do, my family took an enormous number of hikes.” We all wore cloth masks that I had made myself. We had a family hand signal, which the person in front would use if someone was approaching on the trail and we needed to put on our masks. Once, when another child got too close to my then-4-year-old son on a bridge, he yelled at her, “Social distancing!” These precautions were totally misguided. In April 2020, no one got the coronavirus from passing someone else while hiking. Outdoor transmission was vanishingly rare. Our cloth masks made out of old bandanas wouldn’t have done anything anyway. But the thing is, we didn’t know.”

Well, Emily, common sense should have told you there’s a cold and flu season because you’re indoors more, where you’re in close contact. You can spread such viruses more easily indoors than outdoors in the fresh air. However, no one wanted to listen to common sense. Most everyone fell into the “panic pandemic.” Common sense was the first real victim of the pandemic.

She goes on to talk about vaccines. “When the vaccines came out, we lacked definitive data on the relative efficacies of the Johnson & Johnson shot versus the mRNA options from Pfizer and Mode” na. The mRNA vaccines have won out. But at the time, many people in public health were either neutral or expresseJ&J & J preference. This misstep wasn’t nef”Itious. It was the result of uncerainty.” 

Really? Let’s talk about uncertainty. How about the uncertainty of a so-called vaccine that was never tested before being given to the masses? How about telling everyone they needed the vaccine no matter the state of their health?

Oster never talks about the pressure citizens were put under to take the experimental jab: socially stigmatized, threatened with the loss of employment and livelihood, not to mention the tyranny of the government shutdowns of small businesses, public schools, and houses of worship. This was the worst assault on freedoms in our country’s history. I believe the founding fathers would be ashamed of how Americans sat back and allowed such totalitarianism to happen.

She never talks about the change in the definition of “vaccine” from something that keeps you from getting the virus to something that helps you not be as sick if you get it. It was your typical bait and switch.

Oh, pastors were threatened with arrest and fines because church services were deemed superspreader events. But if you were rioting in the street with Black Lives Matter gangs, well, that was just exercising your right to protest.

Students with no classes to go to were set up in front of computers for their learning, ending in utter disaster for their education and mental health. Some small businesses also fell victim to the pandemic lockdown.

She goes on to write, “Given the amount of uncertainty, almost every position was taken on every topic.” And on every topic, someone was eventually proved right and someone else was proved wrong. In some instances, the right people were right for the wrong reasons. In other instances, they had a prescient understanding of the available information.

I always thought I lived in a nation of individuals who could make up their minds about what was best for themselves and their families. But I’m guessing collectivism is the best approach to a problem.

She then writes, “These discussions are heated, unpleasant, and, ultimately, unproductive.” In the face of so much uncertainty, getting something right had a hefty element of luck. And similarly, getting something wrong wasn’t a moral failing. Treating pandemic choices as a scorecard on which some people rack up more points than others is preventing us from moving forward. “We have to put these fights aside and declare a pandemic amnesty.”

Oster seems to think what happened was a trivial event where we are now just keeping score. She doesn’t see what happened as a power grab by the government to turn citizens of this country into nothing more than cattle to be herded and our God-given rights to be trampled. She believes both sides need to be pardoned for any guilt or liability. Well, I say no.

I think her “amnesty” is a good way to repeat the mistakes of the past and end up making the same mistakes again, but worse. People need to remember the oppressors who trampled on the rights of Americans. People need to remember how some companies and the government said, “No jab, no job.”

Like the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, this is a mistake we should not soon forget. While forgiveness is always on the table, I say forget it. NO! Remember this and learn not to repeat such authoritarianism.