Paradigm Shifts Still

By Erick Erickson 

A friend works with an American company that makes N95 masks. They can churn them out in the 100,000 and higher quantity. They don’t do direct to consumer masks, but to governments and corporations. They are not, however, 3M. The 3M N95 mask is the gold standard. Because it is the gold standard, 3M is backlogged. Because my friend’s company is not 3M, his company is having to sell abroad. They are having trouble getting both corporate and governmental interest even though they’re domestic producers of N95 masks, an item in short supply.

Both government and business bureaucracy are playing catch up to the demands of American life these days. Sonny Perdue, the Secretary of Agriculture, recently regaled me with tales of federal bureaucratic red tape cutting to ensure meat shortages did not happen. Some people, for some small amount of time, had trouble finding their favorite cuts. But overwhelmingly the great meat shortages got more coverage than they deserved. Perdue wielded the scalpal against red tape, but others are not necessarily able.

Toilet paper remains scarce in some grocery stores as does hand sanitizer, cleaning supplies, etc. A lot of the scarcity is demand coupled with an inability to repackage corporate bulk purchases into grocery store items.

Arizona is shutting down gyms, restaurants, and bars again. Parts of the country are mandating masks now. Sheltering in place is going to be extended. Demands for masks are increasing. People are running to the store to stock up again afraid lockdowns are coming back.

The shortages we have seen have, in part, been because of demand, but overwhelming because of commercial resellers not able to transition quickly to consumer sales. These sorts of things need to change before the fall.

Wear a Mask

Something else that needs to change is the paranoid reluctance of some to wear masks. The very same people who will cover their mouths when they cough cannot fathom how everyone wearing a mask helps keep each other safe. Masks are not a cure-all. But they are being shown to be effective in Singapore, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, Slovenia, and other countries where they have been made mandatory.

A government that makes you wear your seatbelt can make you wear a mask. But it shouldn’t have to. If you’re in a crowded store, you should do it out of respect for everyone else. As we learn more about this virus, we learn that many of the people who have it do not know they do. It could be you. While asymptomatic people spread the virus less than pre-symptomatic people, they can still be contagious. Pre-symptomatic people do not have symptoms and are highly contagious. That could be you.

Being a good neighbor should still have some level of meaning and personal responsibility as a component.

The St. Louis Couple

I have no problem with a St. Louis couple in a gated, private community, defending their home from invading protestors who’ve had a habit of getting violent lately. I just don’t care about the story. It really is getting far more attention than it should and that’s all I intend to say about it.

The Russia Report

I will also only say this briefly on the Russia report, i.e. the report that Russians paid the Taliban bounties for killing Americans.

The media has run a series of stories like this in the past four years all based on leaks from the intelligence community. The leaks tend to paint the worst-case scenario and within a week new information comes out that makes the story far less sensational. It is obvious there are those in the intelligence community who are at odds with the Trump Administration and have leaked damaging things about him. The media consistently runs those stories and later runs corrections.

I will wait a bit more before I engage to see if there are any necessary corrections or clarifications. If the story is as reported initially, the President will have to answer for it, but he won’t really have one.

I see no reason to defend the man if he didn’t read his intelligence briefings. But I see no reason to rush to condemn him given how often the media has had to modify these stories. I am still waiting for McClatchy to correct the record on Michael Cohen going to Prague, which they have refused to do.

Lastly

I’m getting tired of fellow white people lecturing me on how I can support the black community. From what restaurants to eat at, what shows to watch, and what books to read, white people sure suddenly seem to have a greater appreciation for the black community than the black community itself.

Let me predict what is going to happen — white people are going to completely hijack the conversations about race in America, make themselves feel good, and go back to life as it was with nothing changing.

And the white people most aggressive in hijacking the conversation to make themselves feel good will be overwhelming partisan progressives who demand we implement as solutions every agenda item they’ve ever wanted. From carbon taxes to income taxes to affirmative action to socialized medicine to even more money for failing public schools, they’ll demand we spend money, implement their agenda, and otherwise change very little.

I am keenly aware of injustice and racism in this country. I know it exists. I have seen it. It is not something we will solve with a government program that fosters more resentment than it offers help. Time will heal this. But we have to give it time and commit to raising our families in ways that end racism. We have to commit to being better people. We have to commit to valuing people individually not as classes or races.

It’s not easy. It is not going to be easy. But the answers lie in our communities and neighborhoods, not in Washington or social media. Focus on fixing your community and if each of us does, we will improve the nation itself.

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