By now we are all on coronavirus overload. It’s a serious pandemic. We hear about it all day long, watch newscasts of cruise ships that are forbidden from docking, parked out in the ocean, passengers awaiting clearance or confinement. Citizens around the world are wearing face masks and hand sanitizer is selling for $200 a bottle on eBay. There’s a new danger in our communities and society is in panic mode.
Daily we are bombarded with scary words that put fear in all of us, infection, isolation, segregation, self-quarantine, containment and contagion.
Italy has 63 million of their citizens self-isolating. In this country we’ve set up a one- mile perimeter around a New York suburb in an effort to contain the virus. Citizens are urged not to congregate, schools, businesses and churches are closing, seniors are encouraged to stay home. We’ve stopped shaking hands, hugging, making human contact. We are running scared from a virus we may or may not have and we’re beginning to fear those around us that exhibit a simple cough or a sniffle.
If the medical professionals have it correct, you may carry the virus and not show symptoms, you may have the virus and exhibit minor symptoms or you may have the full-blown virus and require serious treatment.
What’s any of this have to do with registrants?
As it turns out, most people in our society don’t like being told where they can go or what they can do. They don’t appreciate being confined to their homes or neighborhoods, even when it’s out of “an abundance of caution,” for themselves and for others. When you’re not a danger to society, as in those not infected with the virus, you don’t want the government putting limits on your activities. We’re just beginning to hear about those on self-quarantine who exited their home “just to go to a quick business meeting or some other function”. Their rational, they weren’t sick, maybe they’d been in contact with someone with the virus, but they were fine, they weren’t a danger to anyone.
One TV interviewee likened his quarantine to “being in a jail cell, being in prison.” He has the virus so containment is understandable. But others, those not infected, it’s becoming apparent they’re none too happy about their self-quarantine as time goes on. Two weeks doesn’t initially sound like much, but after a week cooped- up in the house, not being able to go to work because you were in contact with someone now infected, your patience begins to wear thin. The comments, “I’m not a danger to anyone, why should these rules apply to me?” are beginning to seep out.
Long before the coronavirus reared its ugly head, registrants have had to endure being treated as though they were lepers. For years, they have withstood the registry, government sanctioned isolation, containment and fear by the public. They have been relegated to the outskirts of towns, the fringes of society and forbidden from entering shelters during storms. No one cared whether the registrant was in fact a danger, they were all treated as if they were violent, dangerous, predators and were told where they could live, work, play and who they could be around. According to our government and law enforcement, these restrictions were put on all registrants “out of an abundance of caution” and for the safety of the public.
Today the world is being forced to live with many of the same kind of day to day restrictions that registrants live with every day. All of a sudden, the general public’s world has become much smaller, you don’t have the freedom to travel, you’re forced to remain within certain areas, there’s certain events you can no longer freely enjoy. You’re being forced to stay away from places where people tend to congregate, you may be denied contact with family and friends. Whether you have the virus or not, you may be treated as if you are a potential danger to others. Registrants know that feeling all too well.
Most registrants were never a danger to society, but they’ve been forced to live as if they were, as if they were infected with a virus that no one wanted to contract.
In the past, the general public didn’t seem to mind the restraints on registrants, the attitude was seemingly “they’re all the same, the more rules the better.” But now, when similar restraints are placed on the public, out of an abundance of caution for the public’s safety, well, there seems to be the slightest beginnings of dissention amongst the troops.
We are learning from this pandemic, the general public doesn’t particularly like being singled out, having fingers pointed at us or our families, we don’t want to be ostracized, or labeled “a danger” to society, especially if we’re not contagious. Sound familiar?
We are a society of hypocrisy.