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Forum, Aug. 3: Risk of opening schools too high

Published: 8/2/2020 10:00:13 PM
Modified: 8/2/2020 10:00:12 PM
Risk of opening schools too high

The SAU 70 School Board recently announced the preliminary recommendations of its School Start Task Force about school reopening this fall. The proposal includes full-time, in-person schooling, promising no more than 3 feet of social distancing between children.

We know that COVID-19 spreads rampantly — especially in indoor settings where people are together for extended periods. We have increasing evidence that children age 10 and over spread the virus just as readily as adults do. The recommendations present a dangerous plan that puts our whole community at risk.

The task force justifies the plan by appealing to the social, emotional and educational benefits children gain from being in school.

But we mustn’t ignore the moral issue of how to balance these short-term values for some against the longer-term values of life and health for all those concerned.

The benefits children may gain must be weighed against the risks — not only to their own health, but also to their futures. If there is an outbreak here, many of our children may have a parent or teacher die, some may be left orphaned — and feel responsible for the death of those they love. We also must weigh the risks to the lives and health of others inevitably put at risk: teachers, staff, parents and the whole community. How many lives are we willing to lose, how many people are we willing to make suffer through permanent health consequences, to rush the children back to a full-time, in-person experience?

Delays in learning and social skills can be recovered from over time. Death cannot.



Speaking up on hate, injustice, and ignorance

It ought to be self-evident, in these terrible times, that Black Hate Matters, too. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar knows that, and wrote an excoriating op-ed about almost everyone else’s silence, and I thought, as a fellow human being, I’d better speak up also.

Let’s start with a little history. Louis Farrakhan, longtime head of the Nation of Islam, has among his friends and devotees not only some of the leaders within the Black Lives Matter organization, but Keith Ellison, former congressman and now Minnesota attorney general, and Rep. Jim Clyburn, third-ranking Democrat in Congress and a powerful voice in the Congressional Black Caucus as well.

And this has always puzzled me, because Farrakhan and his faction were strongly implicated in the assassination of Malcolm X, a giant of the civil rights movement and man whose personal journey ought to move and inspire everyone.

I loathe hate and injustice wherever I find it — which is pretty much everywhere human beings may be found. And I’m pretty allergic to hypocrisy too.

We’ve now got the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture with an online “Talking About Race” portal that’s as much a diatribe against “white people” as the Protocols of the Elders of Zion was against Jews. Your tax dollars at work, folks.

The ignorance of undereducated people is bad enough, but the opportunistic vileness of some very smart, highly educated people is worse.

Despise President Donald Trump for his instigating the worst impulses of Americans every chance he gets? Me too. Did you mind when Hillary Clinton did her best to insinuate that Barack Obama was maybe not really the Christian he clearly said he was? Did you mind that the Obama family disavowed their longtime pastor Jeremiah Wright’s views only when political scrutiny became too intense?

Do you mind that the fervor of Black Lives Matter-affiliated leaders and organizations against brutal Israeli policies doesn’t seem to extend to China’s? Do some human rights abuses stink less than others? Are some categories of people indemnified against expressions of racism? Why?



Probably a good time for Fauci to step down

Dr. Anthony Fauci should resign. Despite his decades of distinguished leadership at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and his science-based wisdom serving on the coronavirus task force, he is being dissed by the White House as it continues twittering about the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine for treating COVID-19.

Fauci’s reasoned voice repeatedly runs counter to President Donald Trump’s pronouncements downplaying the virus’ damage to the health, social fabric and economy of our country. In the now-familiar pattern for other citizens called upon to work with this administration, if you don’t toe the White House line you are targeted for discredit.

Since his advice and admonitions continue to be given short shrift, now is the opportune time for Fauci to step down. New COVID-19 cases are surging and the death toll keeps climbing. His resignation’s timing would command the nation’s attention and contrast the president’s pollyannaish assessments with the dire facts on the ground. Trump can attempt to run from these facts, but on Election Day he won’t be able to hide.



Defend, don’t defund, the police

The Uniform Crime Reports of the Federal Bureau of Investigation for the year to date show that 31 police officers were killed as the result of being feloniously assaulted. This was a 15% increase over the 27 killed by felonious assaults for the same period in 2019.

Seven of the 31 police who died were ambushed, that is, they died after premeditation by the offender. That is 23% of this year’s deaths of police victims of felonious assaults.

The police officers who put their lives at the risk of death include city, university and college, county, state, tribal and federal law enforcement officers.

We need to defend, not defund, the police who serve all the people of the U.S.



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