Are Democrats Turning Into The Party Of Panic?

AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana

Over at Hot Air, Allahpundit has been doing a bang-up job of pointing out something odd about many of those who’ve received the COVID-19 vaccine; they’re still scared to do many normal activities like go out to eat or take in a movie even though they’re as COVID-proof as they can get. It’s gotten to the point that some blue communities are now ignoring CDC guidance (which itself has been criticized for being too cautious) in favor of keeping restrictions in place.

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, a moderate Republican, lifted the state’s outdoor mask mandate last week in accordance with the CDC’s new guidance. Whether you’re vaccinated or not, the agency said, it’s fine to take off your mask outside so long as you keep your distance from strangers. Baker signed off on that, at which point local leaders in Brookline said: No thanks. “Out of an abundance of caution and in our residents’ best interests, the Town of Brookline will not follow suit with the state’s decision to lift the outdoor mask mandate today,” the town’s top health official said. “Our face covering requirement has served as a protective layer that limits the possibility of spreading COVID-19 and we are reluctant to relax it at this time without further public input and review by the Advisory Council on Public Health.”

Public input? I thought we were Following The Science in managing COVID, not public opinion.

Meanwhile, in deep-blue D.C., which is now in the top 15 among U.S. states in terms of the share of residents who’ve received their first dose and boasts a minuscule positivity rate of 1.2 percent, they’ve decided that the time has come to crack down on … dancing at weddings.

While Allahpundit has been focused on the pandemic panic, the Left’s embrace of irrational fear isn’t limited only to lockdown restrictions and mask mandates. The Washington Post has a new story quoting a few grocery store employees who say that the recent shooting at a Boulder grocery store as well as a disgruntled employee who shot several co-workers at a Long Island supermarket have made them terrified to go to work.

Even workers not directly affected by the shootings say they are struggling to sleep and are fearful of going to work, as they confront an ever-present threat of gun violence in the workplace. Last Wednesday, less than a month after the Boulder shootings, a gunman opened fire in a Stop & Shop in Long Island, killing one manager and two employees.

“It’s one thing hearing about a shooting, but hearing about it happening in a place like where you work just makes it even more real,” said Trish Gross, 28, a cake decorator at a grocery store in Long Beach, Calif.

“Now I think about it every single day I’m at work: What I would do, where I could hide. It’s something that’s on my mind constantly.”

She has trouble winding down for bed and often gets as little as four hours of sleep before waking at 3:30 a.m. for her morning shift. The past year, she says, has been a string of stresses: A disease that’s killed hundreds of grocery workers and infected thousands; verbal and physical altercations from customers who don’t want adhere to mask requirements; and now, store shootings.

Look, I understand someone who worked at the King Sooper in Boulder having some fears about returning to work, but the simple fact is that Trish Gross, who works at a grocery store in California, should be more worried about being killed in a car accident on her way to work than being murdered while she’s on the clock.

The truth is that the type of targeted attack that took place in Boulder is exceedingly rare in this country, though you wouldn’t know it by watching the news or reading the Washington Post. The media thrives on getting you to care, and while anger is their primary tool in the toolbox, fear is a close second.

I carry a gun for self-defense because I don’t want to be the victim of a violent crime, but I don’t live in fear. I don’t obsess over the possibility of a madman armed with a gun attacking the grocery store where I shop, in part because that’s completely irrational but also because it’s a horrible way to live.

Gross probably isn’t obsessing about being in a fatal car accident on her way to or from work (even though it’s far more likely than her being the target of a killer while she’s decorating cakes) because the media hasn’t filled her head with unreasonable fears over dying in a car crash. Instead, she’s focused on what the media has told her she should be afraid of, and that fear becomes more reasonable, in her eyes anyway, because of where she works.

What’s really sad is that nowhere in the Washington Post piece did they quote anyone explaining that these fears are overblown and irrational. Instead, the paper seemingly embraces the idea that these fears are completely healthy and normal.

Thirty minutes away, at another King Soopers in Colorado, pharmacy technician Marsha Esparza-Barnabe says she’s become terrified of dying at work. She looks at customers differently now, trying to size up whether they’re hiding a gun under their jackets or in a back pocket. She is sleeping less, and she’s more irritablewith her family.

“This past month has been really tough, especially on top of the year we’ve had,” the 58-year-old said. “And it’s not something you can just leave outside your house. You bring it in with you, so it affects everyone.”

Esparza-Barnabe, who has diabetes and asthma, says she’s lived much of the past year in fear of contracting the coronavirus and passing it on to her household, which includes her son, daughter-in-law, grandson and his girlfriend. She lost her job early in the pandemic, as did her son and daughter-in-law, adding to the stress.

Life feels more isolated, too. She doesn’t chat with co-workers the way she used to, and she can’t meet up with friends for dinner. It’s all taken a toll.

“It has been one stress on top of another,” she said. “The stress of not having a job. The stress of getting sick. The stress of getting shot.”

This isn’t healthy, and it’s a damn shame that the Washington Post is trying to normalize panic for the sake of profit.

Not to get all philosophical, but all of us are going to pass away at some point. We can take precautions to increase our safety and hopefully extend our life, whether it’s buckling up when we get in a car, watching what we eat, or carrying a firearm for self-protection, but actually obsessing over the random possibility of dying before our time is a good way to miss out on living while you have the chance.

As most of you know, my wife has been fighting lung cancer for almost five years now. She’s still pretty healthy, all things considered, but I know the odds that she faces. About 85% of people diagnosed with her specific type of cancer don’t even live five years past their diagnosis, so she’s already beaten the odds in one respect. Despite that, I don’t spend my days worrying about her death, or the chances that I too will be diagnosed with cancer, though I’ve changed up my diet and am taking reasonable steps to improve my own health to reduce the chances of my youngest kids becoming orphaned before they reach the age of 18.

Still, I don’t want to be so consumed by thoughts of what could or is even likely to happen in the future to stand in the way of the time that we have together now. Panic is no way to go through life, but it appears that it’s now almost a prerequisite to be a Democrat in good standing, and that could lead us to some dangerous overreactions that would violate our individual liberties with the false promise of personal safety.