May 27, 2020 430 PM
The 14 May Sentinel contained a letter full of good sense that pointed out the value in concentrating on things we can do something about with CV-19 rather than endless speculation and finger-pointing. The gist of it is — take care of your health, don’t eat junk food, get exercise, etc. This will make your immune system stronger.
The “endless conversation” noted in that letter seems to be headed back to the value of lockdowns in saving lives. Politicians often refer to “science” when promoting lockdowns for saving lives, but I have not seen much scientific evidence that lockdowns do anything other than what was originally intended, flattening the curve to alleviate the load on medical services. Even this is hard to prove, since a double-blind study to show it is unethical and difficult. But from first principles, it’s very plausible, and I believe it. If you want to see it illustrated, go to github.com/Dav909/Tri-County2.
When Judge Cano first locked down Brewster County, I completely supported it. My wife and I operate a small short-term rental across the street from the courthouse and saw a flurry of inquiries at that time of would-be city “refugees” wanting to stay there for a few weeks. The judge later relaxed that to longer term and essential workers, but we never rented them out anyway to avoid importing CV-19.
For the longer term, it makes sense that the only cure will be a vaccine, and it’s also possible there will never be a vaccine. Its cousin, the common cold, never got a vaccine, for example – too many strains. But it appears people believe lockdowns are an alternative remedy, a possible cure. The only lockdown scenario that would cure it would be a 100% lockdown for two weeks or more, so it would die off without replicating, but it would include the people who enforce lockdowns, so is a logical impossibility. Even so, a completely “clean” country would then be faced with keeping the borders absolutely sealed (I know, some people want that anyway!) to keep it from leaking back in. Such a lockdown would quickly turn into starvation and anarchy anyway.
The virus seems more like dropping ink into a glass of liquid that will diffuse completely eventually, with the important distinction that the virus is continually dying off and replicating. You can speed up diffusion by stirring it, or you can slow it down by using a higher viscosity liquid, but eventually you get the same result. What I am concerned about is the next wave of this virus will trigger another lockdown, with terrible results for an economy and personal liberty already on the ropes.
We’re All the Crew of the USS John Penn
Mom talked about my father Isadore Goldstein’s wartime experience. Dad was a chief-in-charge of his ship’s store until struck by a Japanese torpedo. He was going down for the third time when an oar slipped under his shoulder and he managed to hang on until rescued.
According to Wikipedia, The USS John Penn, manned by a crew of about 74 officers and sailors, was a naval transport providing supplies, personnel and munitions around the islands in the Southern Solomon Islands during WWII. On August 13, 1943 a torpedo plane made a hit. Fire broke out at the stern. Oil on the water caught fire. A large number of crew were injured and had difficulty staying afloat. In approximately a half an hour, at 9:55 p.m., it sank.
Dad passed in May, 2001 never having talked about it. PTSD wasn’t understood. He’d compensate, I suppose, with long hours of work, be it his grocery store in Niagara Falls, NY or projects in the garage.
My parents lived at Golden Palms, an assisted living facility in Harlingen, Texas in the last years of life. As part of a July 4th display, dad created a table containing photos and details of his ship.
Dad had a slight stroke a few years before his death and finally couldn’t contain his emotions of “survivor’s guilt.” Crying, he shared with my sister “so many of his shipmates and friends had died.”
If born after WWII, we have “The Greatest Generation,” as Tom Brokaw rightfully calls them, to thank for our lives. Life is about how we respond to its many challenges, but these vets gave us all the opportunities we could use.
We’re ALL the crew of the USS John Penn. We’re every crew or squad depicted in those Hollywood movies. We’re from all walks of life, urban and rural, ethnic and proud, Brooklyn accent and Southern drawl; the high school dropout, enrolling to settle the score for Pearl Harbor and the swarthy college graduate with that thin mustache in command.
We’re beneath the oceans in the silent service. We’re on bomber runs over Germany and Japan. We’re the women in military service. We served bravely in the civilian Merchant Marine, in vulnerable convoys on long-stretches of ocean.
We surrendered on Corregidor and were horribly abused on the Bataan Death March. We’re there during the dark days before the tide turned after Midway, stormed numerous beaches island hopping in the Pacific. We’re on the Battleship Missouri in Tokyo harbor to witness Japan’s surrender.
We’re raw and untested in North Africa; struggled up the Italian boot; died or made it ashore on D-Day. We advanced, but then pushed back, frightened and damn cold at the Battle of the Bulge. We’re in Berlin for Germany’s surrender.
We’re the Native American Code Talkers from about a dozen tribes, themselves from reservations facing physical and cultural genocide. We’re the black G.I. confronting a segregated military’s racism, courageously fighting Nazi racism in Europe to find Jim Crow still ruthlessly dehumanizing. We’re Japanese civilians on the West Coast deprived of our fundamental rights, our property seized and wrongfully interned – still the young men served their country with distinction in Europe. We’re everywhere and anywhere blood was shed. We’re the military POW and civilians mistreated as slave labor.
We’re with every medic treating every wound, applying every bandage, every amputation. We’re all denominations’ Chaplin offering words of comfort, prayer – and too often final rites.
We agonized on the home front, but organized like never before or since. We’re all in this together! A telegram was daytime’s nightmare.
I offer a prayer and thank the crew of the USS John Penn and all our veterans. They deserve our thanks and gratitude for their service and sacrifices.
Amen: “For the Crew of the USS John Penn!”
Rev. Barry Abraham Zavah