With a week of the shutdown gone and the shelves starting to look like they get restocked regularly too, it is the monitoring of the shutdown and social distancing rules that are perhaps cause for our most immediate concern.
You may think that I am about to go off on a tangent moaning about the overreaction by the Police. But in the age of political correctness where all public servants are afraid of their own shadow in case they should become accused of doing the wrong thing, the Police are likely to be doing what they interpret as being right. Sadly, the days when common sense ruled and worldly Police Constables would be encouraged to see most value in striking the fear of god into a miscreant rather than detaining, fining or giving points to them are over. We have simply reached a regrettable place where neither they nor we can win.
No. My reason for writing about this today is the changes to our behaviour since the shutdown began and the sudden urge or temptation on the part of some to pick up the phone or message the Police and dob in a neighbour or someone you know for going out too much, going the the wrong places in their car, or in fact anything they are doing agains social distancing rules that we would now like to be doing ourselves.
Right now, most of us are showing a lot of good will and patience to accommodate and support the social distancing rules. But it takes a lot of self control to simply switch off the freedoms that we had only days ago and observe them quite literally in the real spirit of how they have so far been laid out.
Yes you can call people selfish for not observing social distancing rules religiously. You can lose your shit with them and suggest that they are a threat to yours or others lives. But the reality is that none of us actually know what may or may not be motivating anyone to break social distancing rules – if there is indeed any reason for them breaking them at all.
What if they are suffering with mental health issues and are desperate to get outside? – please bear in mind that just because to you someone may look or sound perfectly healthy, you simply don’t know what’s going on for them inside.
What of they are trying to get a break from a challenging home environment and maybe domestic abuse? – again, few of us see, hear about or understand the realities of what goes on for others behind closed doors. Abusive environments are not always physical in the way that they work and both MEN AND WOMEN may be desperate to get out and get a break just so that they feel they can survive.
What if there are other reasons for them going out or doing what they do, that could be easy to understand and would be acceptable if they were happening to you?
Of course some of the people flouting the social distancing rules are either unaware of them, couldn’t care less or are simply stupid. But making any of them the guilty bastards for a situation that none of us chose to be in in the first place is not something that will end up being a happy choice.
Calling one of the Police ‘Coronavirus Hotlines’ might be your motivation and personal choice. But in these circumstances, the Police will feel obliged to come down heavily on people just because they feel that the (media) spotlight is now on them and that they therefore have no choice.
The Police do have better things they could be doing like chasing real criminals if their efforts are not required by the Coronavirus Crisis elsewhere, rather than punishing people for things that they would have no good reason to know about if someone had not decided to make them wrong.
We all need the Police resources available to be focused where they are needed most. Some of that effort will be spent on people who are not only flouting the social distancing rules, but are breaking them to hurt or endanger others, or to exploit the shutdown because criminality is their conscious choice.
Let’s not take any of our Police Officers away from where their attention and focus really needs to be. Doing so could really cost lives.
When the shutdown is finally over and things return to whatever the norm will then be, the chances are that any one of us would feel guilty for outing anyone during the shutdown for anything that when it has finished will no longer be wrong.
Save yourself the mental anguish and give whoever your sinners are the benefit of the doubt. Because for whatever reason they are breaking the rules, the chances are that they don’t have the level of self control that you have yourself.
For that reason alone, they deserve your understanding and humanity. Just like you and I would want to receive it from others if we broke the social distancing rules innocently or for some overpowering reason that made it feel to us that we had no choice.