Does the Salt Lake Tribune want a civil war?

AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

For the last two years, COVID-19 has been a major topic of discussion, and not just around the virtual office water cooler. It has disrupted all our lives, and we’ve tried to tackle how best to deal with it.

However, as with everything else in this country these days, there are different ideas on how to deal with it. Luckily, when the nation feels like it’s been on the brink of civil war for years, maybe a discussion on how to deal with a pandemic could be beneficial. I mean, it’s a virus. It’s not like someone’s going to call for something that will make civil war more likely, now would they?

I mean, unless you’re part of the editorial board of the Salt Lake Tribune.

But the omicron variant now rippling through humanity was predicted. There is consensus among epidemiologists (long before COVID) that viruses tend to mutate into less potent but more easily transmissible variants, which is exactly what happened. And the challenge is the same as it was with alpha and delta: Most people weather it OK, but the serious cases are still enough to overwhelm hospitals.

We might have headed off omicron with a herd immunity-level of vaccinations, but that would have required a vaccination mandate, which our leaders refused. Instead, we get, “No one could have seen this coming.” That is patently untrue. They were told what to do, and they refused.

Were Utah a truly civilized place, the governor’s next move would be to find a way to mandate the kind of mass vaccination campaign we should have launched a year ago, going as far as to deploy the National Guard to ensure that people without proof of vaccination would not be allowed, well, anywhere.

But it may be too late for that, politically and medically.

Yes, because the crowd that was outraged at the idea of being told they had to allow themselves to be injected with something is going to be particularly meek and mild when it comes to the National Guard preventing them from leaving their house.

This is what the editorial board thinks is a good idea.

No, this is just another way to spark a potential civil war.

Look, when you tell Americans they can’t go anywhere, they get upset. Remember the protests during the lockdowns? People didn’t stay locked down. They spoke out.

What the editorial board is suggesting would include not allowing free association of individuals, barring people from exercising their First Amendment rights, and otherwise putting people on house arrest who aren’t convicted of committing any crime.

If that’s not grounds for action, what is?

Yes, that would likely involve a civil war, and that’s something the Salt Lake Tribune should definitely think long and hard about whether they want to see that.

If there’s an upside to such an insane declaration, it’s two-fold. One is that no one in their right mind, especially in Utah, is remotely interested in doing such a thing. The other side is that I don’t see how the idea would be remotely workable anyway.

For the National Guard to keep all unvaccinated people from going anywhere, they’d basically have to be posted outside the home of every unvaccinated person. Remember, this isn’t about keeping them out of restaurants or movie theaters, but “anywhere,” according to the editorial board. That would include public parks, friends’ homes – even those who don’t fear their unvaccinated status – or anywhere else they might want to go.

There’s just not enough personnel available for such a task.

Then again, if there were and the government of Utah was inclined to do such a thing, let’s imagine the impact such a call-up would have on the workforce issues in Utah. You already have a ton of people who are simply not working, but then you take some of those who are and pull them from their jobs to ride herd over Americans who have made their own decisions about their health – my body, my choice, right? – and you think that won’t impact the economy?

Honestly, on every level, this is the stupidest idea I’ve ever heard. It would be idiotic even if there were no risk of it sparking a civil war.

But it would. People being forced to stay in their homes by troops? In heavily-armed Utah? Yeah, there would be a civil war.

If that happened, I’m sure the editorial board of the Salt Lake Tribune would throw their hands up in the air and say, “How could anyone have known this would happen?”

That’s because some people are too stupid to breathe without a constant reminder. Some of those people end up on editorial boards.