Editorial: It’s just common sense — even in a pandemic

Posted 4/23/20

Emotions run high these days, with most people quarantining at home, many worrying about loved ones, far too many wondering how they will pay their bills, and no one knowing when and how there will …

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Editorial: It’s just common sense — even in a pandemic

Posted

Emotions run high these days, with most people quarantining at home, many worrying about loved ones, far too many wondering how they will pay their bills, and no one knowing when and how there will be light at the end of this unrelenting tunnel.

Through it all, society should not lose touch with two critical traits: a sense of humor, and common sense.

Dark as things may seem, it’s okay to laugh, even if it is dark humor, at the absurdity of it all. A little bit of laughter is a healthy reaction for those facing relentless fear and anxiety, and mental health is as important as physical health under these circumstances.

Common sense seems to be the more challenging of the two, because it cannot easily be defined. It is neither black nor white, and most often it is found somewhere in the grays.

In recent days, there is evidence of people — and the most troubling is government — losing sight of basic common sense. How else to explain:

  • A government official chasing a father and son from a ball field.
  • A neighbor tattling on an adult and a few kids who were shooting baskets in a driveway.
  • A tipster calling police to report four kids kicking a soccer ball on a school field.
  • A school official barring a reporter from parking her car in an empty lot to take pictures for a news story, as it might lead to a group gathering.
  • Residents fearful that if they dare shop on Route 6 in Seekonk they will be forced into their houses on mandatory lockdown for 14 days.
  • Police officers telling high school students they cannot organize a drive-by parade of cars — with kids separated within their own cars — or risk violating social-distancing orders.
  • Neighbors calling police to report four people outside grilling on a back deck at the home next door.
  • People shaming those who are so reckless as to take a family walk (while staying 6 feet from others) without wrapping themselves in masks or bandanas.

By the letter of the law — to be found in the long list of new executive orders — many of these “activities” are violations of the new pandemic reality. But none violates the spirit of the law, which is to be smart, stay safe, and consider the wellbeing of your family and others.

In the beginning, government had the full support of an uneasy public to do whatever necessary to thwart the spread of the virus. Yet as this social and economic nightmare continues, that support will begin to falter. There are signs it already is.

As government leaders walk the line between keeping everyone safe and keeping everyone caged, they could use a healthy dose of common sense.

Common sense really goes a long way.

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Mike Rego

Mike Rego has worked at East Bay Newspapers since 2001, helping the company launch The Westport Shorelines. He soon after became a Sports Editor, spending the next 10-plus years in that role before taking over as editor of The East Providence Post in February of 2012. To contact Mike about The Post or to submit information, suggest story ideas or photo opportunities, etc. in East Providence, email mrego@eastbaymediagroup.com.