The racism of COVID-19 bites back

Pittsburgh


Fig 1. Gratuitous guns in Crafton (left) and New Kensington (right). Photographs by author, May 24, 2020.

I really am covering a lot more territory since the pandemic began impacting my rideshare driving and I found two more gratuitous guns yesterday (figure 1), in Crafton (I’m a little surprised I hadn’t seen this before) and New Kensington, both places where a lot of Black folks live. These have been added to the map and the latter, by the way, helps to explain the gun in Springdale.

So when I got home last night, I figured I should bring all this stuff together. My photograph galleries are now public and you can find all of this stuff now, via my Pittsburgh page.

I had also taken a trip to investigate a candidate town (nice enough, but Internet and apartment options are limited) for my expected relocation next year, so by the time I got back from that and pulled the Pittsburgh page together, I was too tired to finish going through email.


Pandemic

A long-suspected second wave of the novel coronavirus is already appearing in places that had escaped relatively unscathed before. Healthcare systems in these areas are already stretched thin and higher proportions of their populations are vulnerable. The article uses the term ‘checkerboard’ to describe the pattern; I might suggest the term ‘hopscotch’ instead, as the virus does not spread uniformly across the country.[1]

This hints at three things: First, the notion of a ‘second wave’ is itself dubious. It suggests that even if this is not “one and done,” it might be “two and done.” But this is starting to look rather like an ongoing transmission of the virus from places where it has already struck to places it has not. Even with this ‘second wave,’ there are a bunch of those.[2]

Second, to the extent that the coronavirus may mutate, the longer it is in the wild, the greater the chance it will do so. And to the extent that the oft-seen analogy with the Spanish Flu of 1918 is accurate, a mutated version may be more deadly than the first.[3]

Third, the so-called ‘first wave’ appeared mostly in cities. The so-called ‘second wave’ is appearing in rural areas.[4] The former tend to be associated with support for Democrats and the latter tend to be associated with support for Republicans. Donald Trump and his supporters may have decided that COVID-19 was just fine as long as it was killing Blacks who are often (but definitely not exclusively) concentrated in cities.[5] We’ll see what happens as the disease affects more rural whites.

(I have updated my last blog post with the above text.)

Reis Thebault and Abigail Hauslohner, “A deadly ‘checkerboard’: Covid-19’s new surge across rural America,” Washington Post, May 24, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/05/24/coronavirus-rural-america-outbreaks/


Capitalism


  1. [1]Reis Thebault and Abigail Hauslohner, “A deadly ‘checkerboard’: Covid-19’s new surge across rural America,” Washington Post, May 24, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/05/24/coronavirus-rural-america-outbreaks/
  2. [2]Reis Thebault and Abigail Hauslohner, “A deadly ‘checkerboard’: Covid-19’s new surge across rural America,” Washington Post, May 24, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/05/24/coronavirus-rural-america-outbreaks/
  3. [3]Dave Roos, “Why the Second Wave of the 1918 Spanish Flu Was So Deadly,” History Channel, March 30, 2020, https://www.history.com/news/spanish-flu-second-wave-resurgence
  4. [4]Reis Thebault and Abigail Hauslohner, “A deadly ‘checkerboard’: Covid-19’s new surge across rural America,” Washington Post, May 24, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/05/24/coronavirus-rural-america-outbreaks/
  5. [5]Kenya Evelyn, “‘We’re expendable’: black Americans pay the price as states lift lockdowns,” Guardian, May 25, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/may/25/covid-19-lockdowns-african-americans-essential-workers; Bryan Armen Graham, “‘Swastikas and nooses’: governor slams ‘racism’ of Michigan lockdown protest,” Guardian, May 3, 2020, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/may/03/michigan-gretchen-whitmer-lockdown-protest-racism; Eugene Scott, “4 reasons coronavirus is hitting black communities so hard,” Washington Post, April 10, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2020/04/10/4-reasons-coronavirus-is-hitting-black-communities-so-hard/; Adam Serwer, “The Coronavirus Was an Emergency Until Trump Found Out Who Was Dying,” Atlantic, May 9, 2020, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/05/americas-racial-contract-showing/611389/

COVID-19: The aftermath

Pandemic

I can’t tell you how reluctant I am to share newsletters in this space. First, I don’t trust the URLs. I wonder if they will be broken for others now, or generally in the future. Second, I’d rather get the original stories.

But this one[1] is good—really good—and I have responded with a new blog post entitled, “COVID-19 points to a future gone entirely wrong.”

Ishaan Tharoor with Ruby Mellen, “The pandemic may forever change the world’s cities,” Washington Post, May 20, 2020, https://s2.washingtonpost.com/camp-rw/?trackId=5a39652eae7e8a58807f9446&s=5ec4aa54fe1ff654c2e1eea0&linknum=4&linktot=72


  1. [1]Ishaan Tharoor with Ruby Mellen, “The pandemic may forever change the world’s cities,” Washington Post, May 20, 2020, https://s2.washingtonpost.com/camp-rw/?trackId=5a39652eae7e8a58807f9446&s=5ec4aa54fe1ff654c2e1eea0&linknum=4&linktot=72

The Year of Fear

There is a new blog post from Sunday entitled, “Pittsburgh, race, and a threat to appropriated identity.”

The Columbia Journalism Review has been running a series entitled “The Year of Fear,” featuring essays from local journalists in four towns in this election year. I’ve been following Jason Togyer, who covers McKeesport, largely because he helps fill in the blanks in my understanding of what has happened to Pittsburgh and that new blog post responds to one of his essays. For me, this is truly amazing stuff.


Donald Trump and that distinction between authoritarian populism and paleoconservatism

Pandemic

There is a new blog post entitled, “Yet again, a season for cynicism.”

I have distinguished between authoritarian populists and paleoconservatives, with the latter tendency including white supremacists and neo-nazis, in part on the denial of racism by authoritarian populists and its unapologetic embrace by the paleoconservatives.[1] Donald Trump has, for quite some time, straddled that distinction, denying he is racist, but unapologetically saying and doing blatantly racist things. In yet another example of Trump’s blatant racism, Adam Serwer argues that Trump’s push to reopen the economy is based on the race of many victims, especially in the working class.[2] Paleoconservatives also join capitalist libertarians and traditionalist conservatives in generally opposing war which, with his bluster, is hard to say of Trump. So on balance, I still count Trump as authoritarian populist, but I have to wonder what he has to do before I’ll consider him a white supremacist. And I have updated my new blog post noted above accordingly.

Adam Serwer, “The Coronavirus Was an Emergency Until Trump Found Out Who Was Dying,” Atlantic, May 9, 2020, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/05/americas-racial-contract-showing/611389/


  1. [1]David Benfell, “Conservative Views on Undocumented Migration” (doctoral dissertation, Saybrook, 2016). ProQuest (1765416126).
  2. [2]Adam Serwer, “The Coronavirus Was an Emergency Until Trump Found Out Who Was Dying,” Atlantic, May 9, 2020, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/05/americas-racial-contract-showing/611389/

State-enabled white supremacism

Military

Today, as everything is upside down,

The 50th anniversary of the Kent State shooting is Monday.[1]

Joe Napsha, “The day ‘all hell broke loose’ – Local lives lost, forever changed in Kent State shooting 50 years ago,” TribLive, May 2, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/regional/the-day-all-hell-broke-loose-local-lives-lost-forever-changed-in-kent-state-shooting-50-years-ago/


Housekeeping

Given that I will need to be moving by June 29, 2021, I’ve been contemplating the question of where.
IMG_20200429_172952
Fig. 1. A house in Clairton with five flags in a small front yard. Visible are two U.S. Army flags, one U.S. flag, and one Confederate battle flag. Hidden behind the the telephone pole is a Betsy Ross flag. Photograph by author, April 29, 2020.

Pennsylvania has, I think, conceded far too much to an authoritarian populist population that blends into a white supremacist paleoconservative population. The stance on guns where, for example, even following the Tree of Life shooting, a mass shooting in a Jewish synagogue conducted by a white supremacist,[2] Pittsburgh cannot ban weapons whose only sensible application is against large groups of people,[3] seems to me inseparable from that white supremacism. The conflation of flags at a house in Clairton (figure 1), a largely Black community, begins to represent what I’ve been feeling since coming here, that the flag-waving, cop-loving, overly patriotic and often bizarrely militaristic (figure 3) displays of gun nuttery (figure 4), especially around Black communities (figure 5), are really code for a white supremacism, including a militia movement, that has been given free rein.

If I’m going to have to move, I might as well move away from that, which to me, means out of state.

On the other hand, I’m realizing what a terrible risk I took in coming here. This last winter brought home for me how tenuous a livelihood based on driving for Uber and Lyft is. That might be even worse if I move to the state of New York, which frankly, I’m considering, on account of legalized recreational marijuana and sensible gun control.

The alternative, I think, would be to stay in Pennsylvania, even near Pittsburgh, but away from all these gratuitously displayed guns (figure 2).


Fig. 2. Gratuitous guns.

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Fig. 3. A dump truck, with a camouflage paint scheme, owned by a locksmith, along Pennsylvania Route 51 in Pleasant Hills. Photograph by author, November 22, 2019.

IMG_0018
Fig. 4. A tank on display outside Anthony Arms, a gun dealer in West Mifflin, along Lebanon Church Road, directly across from the Allegheny County Airport. Photograph by author, September 26, 2019.

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Fig. 5. This is pointed directly at the northwest corner of Carrick High School, along Parkfield Street in Carrick, a Pittsburgh neighborhood. Photograph by author, December 31, 2019.

But then I see all these fucking Trump flags. And I think, my god. That really isn’t getting away from the Pennsylvania state-enabled white supremacism. It would just be getting away from the immediate conflict zone.


  1. [1]Joe Napsha, “The day ‘all hell broke loose’ – Local lives lost, forever changed in Kent State shooting 50 years ago,” TribLive, May 2, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/regional/the-day-all-hell-broke-loose-local-lives-lost-forever-changed-in-kent-state-shooting-50-years-ago/
  2. [2]Campbell Robertson, Christopher Mele, and Sabrina Tavernise, “11 Killed in Synagogue Massacre; Suspect Charged With 29 Counts,” New York Times, October 27, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/27/us/active-shooter-pittsburgh-synagogue-shooting.html
  3. [3]Bob Bauder, “Judge strikes down Pittsburgh’s controversial gun bills,” TribLive, October 29, 2019, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/judge-strikes-down-pittsburghs-controversial-gun-bills/

Surprise, surprise! Nazis in denial advocate reopening

Pandemic

I think I’ll be a little disappointed if anyone reading this really needs this explanation from the Auschwitz Museum, but it is phrased well:

I have previously noted that

In these protests, dangerous and delusional raging narcissistic bullshit[1] has become “truth,” dependence upon capitalism has become “independence,” and wage slavery has become “freedom.”[2]

I should have read Joe Lowndes’ article[3] sooner but I am not subscribed to the New Republic, owing to a conflict that led to mass resignations at that publication. He reaches many of the same conclusions I have.[4] This situation will be going from bad to worse for the very reasons we say. And there’s really no forgiving that.

Joe Lowndes, “The Morbid Ideology Behind the Drive to Reopen America,” New Republic, April 30, 2020, https://newrepublic.com/article/157505/morbid-ideology-behind-drive-reopen-america

Laura Newberry, “The pandemic has amplified ageism. ‘It’s open season for discrimination’ against older adults,” Los Angeles Times, May 1, 2020, https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2020-05-01/coronavirus-pandemic-has-amplified-ageism


North Korea

It appears the South Koreans were correct[5] in pronouncing rumors of Kim Jong Un’s demise premature.[6]

Kim Byung-kee, a former intelligence official who is now a lawmaker and a member of the National Assembly’s intelligence committee, said on Sunday that groundless rumors about North Korea proliferated partly because few were held accountable for spreading false information.

“When it comes to North Korea, no matter what you say, you are not held responsible for the consequences and people soon forget,” Mr. Kim said on Facebook on Sunday [April 26].[7]

Timothy W. Martin and Andrew Jeong, “Kim Jong Un Appears at a Factory Opening, Ending Rumors of Ill Health,” Wall Street Journal, May 1, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/kim-jong-un-is-said-to-have-attended-factory-opening-11588374281


  1. [1]Marilynn Marchione, “Heart woes spur partial stop of malaria drug study for virus,” Washington Post, April 13, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/heart-woes-spur-partial-stop-of-malaria-drug-study-for-virus/2020/04/13/c6460050-7db6-11ea-84c2-0792d8591911_story.html; Ishaan Tharoor, “Trump wants to lift lockdowns. Other countries’ attempts show why the U.S. isn’t ready,” Washington Post, April 21, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2020/04/21/trump-wants-lift-lockdowns-other-countries-attempts-show-why-us-isnt-ready/; Paul Waldman, “The real reason Trump is obsessed with hydroxychloroquine,” Washington Post, April 7, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/04/07/real-reason-trump-is-obsessed-with-hydroxychloroquine/
  2. [2]David Benfell, “When confusion starts killing people, it is long past time to recognize it for what it is,” Not Housebroken, April 21, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/04/21/when-confusion-starts-killing-people-it-is-long-past-time-to-recognize-it-for-what-it-is/
  3. [3]Joe Lowndes, “The Morbid Ideology Behind the Drive to Reopen America,” New Republic, April 30, 2020, https://newrepublic.com/article/157505/morbid-ideology-behind-drive-reopen-america
  4. [4]David Benfell, “The capitalist death cult,” Not Housebroken, March 27, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/03/27/the-capitalist-death-cult/; David Benfell, “An impatient capitalist god demands human sacrifice. Now,” Not Housebroken, April 17, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/04/15/an-impatient-capitalist-god-demands-human-sacrifice-now/; David Benfell, “I fear for our world,” Not Housebroken, April 17, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/04/09/i-fear-for-our-world/; David Benfell, “Don’t just say #COVIDIOTS,” Not Housebroken, April 19, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/04/19/dont-just-say-covidiots/; David Benfell, “When confusion starts killing people, it is long past time to recognize it for what it is,” Not Housebroken, April 21, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/04/21/when-confusion-starts-killing-people-it-is-long-past-time-to-recognize-it-for-what-it-is/; Joe Lowndes, “The Morbid Ideology Behind the Drive to Reopen America,” New Republic, April 30, 2020, https://newrepublic.com/article/157505/morbid-ideology-behind-drive-reopen-america
  5. [5]Timothy W. Martin and Andrew Jeong, “Kim Jong Un Appears at a Factory Opening, Ending Rumors of Ill Health,” Wall Street Journal, May 1, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/kim-jong-un-is-said-to-have-attended-factory-opening-11588374281
  6. [6]Choe Sang-Hun, “South Korea Confident That Rumors of Kim Jong-un Illness Are Wrong,” New York Times, April 27, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/26/world/asia/kim-jong-un-health.html; Didi Tang, “South Korean officials say Kim Jong‑un is ‘alive and well,’” Times, April 27, 2020, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/world/kim-jong-uns-train-offers-clue-to-north-korean-despots-mystery-absence-q9g5h3fq2
  7. [7]Choe Sang-Hun, “South Korea Confident That Rumors of Kim Jong-un Illness Are Wrong,” New York Times, April 27, 2020, https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/26/world/asia/kim-jong-un-health.html

Confusion kills

Pandemic

There is a new blog post entitled, “When confusion starts killing people, it is long past time to recognize it for what it is.”

Isaac Stanley-Becker and Tony Romm, “Pro-gun activists using Facebook groups to push anti-quarantine protests,” Washington Post, April 19, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2020/04/19/pro-gun-activists-using-facebook-groups-push-anti-quarantine-protests/

Jamie Martines And Tom Davidson, “Protesters in Pittsburgh demand Gov. Wolf to reopen businesses amid coronavirus pandemic,” TribLive, April 20, 2020, https://triblive.com/local/pittsburgh-allegheny/protesters-gather-in-pittsburgh-demanding-gov-wolf-reopen-businesses-amid-coronavirus-pandemic/

Ishaan Tharoor, “Trump wants to lift lockdowns. Other countries’ attempts show why the U.S. isn’t ready,” Washington Post, April 21, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2020/04/21/trump-wants-lift-lockdowns-other-countries-attempts-show-why-us-isnt-ready/


Millions may die even if the lockdown isn’t lifted

Gratuitous Guns

During the pandemic and still driving for Lyft, I’ve been traveling farther for rides than I have before, putting more mileage on the car.

Yesterday, I made it farther north and east along the Allegheny River than I’d been before on surface streets and noticed yet another gratuitous gun (figure 1).
IMG_20200418_194720
Fig. 1. Gratuitous gun at the Springdale Veterans Association, photograph by author, April 18, 2020.

I had a passenger in my car when I saw it so I didn’t get a chance to take a picture. I got a few more rides before getting one that took me out of the area entirely.

I was wondering when I could get back to take a picture. As it happened, I had a ride out in that area again today, close to my quitting time, so I made it my last trip and returned to take the photograph in figure 1.

From what I have seen this area, it seems to be predominantly white, but not prosperously so. That said, it is only a short ways upstream from Fox Chapel and Oakmont which are both very prosperous towns.

(continues in next section)

Pandemic

I was still hoping to get some grocery shopping done, so I stopped at a Giant Eagle Express, which turns out to be a glorified GetGo convenience store. But as I paid for a flat of bottled water, I had to pull my mask down for the face unlock on my Pixel 4 to work so he could scan the loyalty code and I could pay with Google Pay.

The cashier ribbed me. And he was ribbing. He made it very clear he was in opposition to these measures to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus. I was too hungry to respond.

But he’s not alone. Many of my passengers, both Black and white, seem to embrace the conspiracy theories of the far right on COVID-19.[1] Many affirm that the economy needs to keep going, that is, that the capitalist god must be appeased.[2]

The only thing I can see here is that government has completely lost credibility with a large portion of the population around Pittsburgh. These people certainly have no reason to believe they’ll be made whole from the economic shutdown[3] as we plunge into what will likely be a new Great Depression.[4]

I continue to see more and more traffic on the roads, more people out and about. Some are clearly observing social distancing and wearing face masks. Some are not.

We’d best hope that I am wrong and that the restrictions can be lifted soon. Because if they aren’t, I think we’re going to see the consequences of lifting them too soon regardless.


  1. [1]Eric Cortellessa, “US far-right extremists are now calling social distancing a Nazi policy,” Times of Israel, April 17, 2020, https://www.timesofisrael.com/us-far-right-extremists-are-now-calling-social-distancing-a-nazi-policy/
  2. [2]David Benfell, “An impatient capitalist god demands human sacrifice. Now,” Not Housebroken, April 17, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/04/15/an-impatient-capitalist-god-demands-human-sacrifice-now/
  3. [3]John Cassidy, “What Would a Proper Coronavirus Stimulus Plan Look Like?” New Yorker, March 14, 2020, https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-columnists/what-would-a-proper-coronavirus-stimulus-plan-look-like; James Hamblin, “What Will You Do If You Start Coughing?” Atlantic, March 11, 2020, https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2020/03/where-do-you-go-if-you-get-coronavirus/607759/; Michael Hirsh, “Is $2 Trillion Too Little, Too Late?” Foreign Policy, March 25, 2020, https://foreignpolicy.com/2020/03/24/us-congress-2-trillion-rescue-package-too-little-too-late/; Michael Hudson, “A debt jubilee is the only way to avoid a depression,” Washington Post, March 21, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/03/21/debt-jubilee-is-only-way-avoid-depression/
  4. [4]David Blanchflower, “Pandemic Economics: ‘Much Worse, Very Quickly,” New York Review of Books, March 26, 2020, https://www.nybooks.com/daily/2020/03/26/pandemic-economics-much-worse-very-quickly/; Justin Lahart, “Great Depression Unemployment Levels Are on Tap,” Wall Street Journal, April 16, 2020, https://www.wsj.com/articles/great-depression-unemployment-levels-are-on-tap-11587053071; Heather Long, “U.S. now has 22 million unemployed as economy sinks toward Depression-like scenario,” Washington Post, April 16, 2020, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/04/16/unemployment-claims-coronavirus/

I have been insufficiently pessimistic

Pandemic

Since coming to Pittsburgh, I’ve come to suspect that the over-the-top displays of patriotism, the flags, the guns, the ubiquitous memorials for veterans and war dead, which have made me wonder what folks are compensating for, are in fact white supremacist displays.[1] Here it is again, albeit outside Pittsburgh, as authoritarian populists again blur the distinction with paleoconservatism, protesting lockdowns and attacking Jews.[2] I have to wonder what the father in that Jewish family that runs my favorite vegan restaurant—it really is good—around here thinks now.[3]

Meanwhile, reading David Wallace-Wells,[4] it seems to me the headline attached to his article misleads: Though we might—I find this unduly optimistic—indeed be approaching a point where the lockdowns might ease, we are likely not even the tenth of the way the headline, but not the article, claims. And the capitalist god demands human sacrifice[5] and right-wingers are all too anxious to appease.[6]

This keeps being a story that keeps getting worse than I imagine. It’s not uncommon for me to be overly pessimistic. It’s unusual, but not rare, that I might be insufficiently pessimistic or cynical. But this pandemic has exposed me as insufficiently pessimistic repeatedly and that is truly something to behold.

Eric Cortellessa, “US far-right extremists are now calling social distancing a Nazi policy,” Times of Israel, April 17, 2020, https://www.timesofisrael.com/us-far-right-extremists-are-now-calling-social-distancing-a-nazi-policy/

David Wallace-Wells, “We Are Probably Only One-Tenth of the Way Through This Pandemic,” New York, April 17, 2020, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/04/we-are-probably-only-a-tenth-of-the-way-through-the-pandemic.html


  1. [1]David Benfell, “The banners and the guns: Flagrant racism in Pittsburgh,” Not Housebroken, October 12, 2019, https://disunitedstates.org/2019/09/20/the-banners-and-the-guns-flagrant-racism-in-pittsburgh/; David Benfell, “Militia territory,” Not Housebroken, November 22, 2019, https://disunitedstates.org/2019/11/22/militia-territory/; David Benfell, “An unhealthy relationship with guns,” Not Housebroken, January 1, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/01/01/an-unhealthy-relationship-with-guns/
  2. [2]Eric Cortellessa, “US far-right extremists are now calling social distancing a Nazi policy,” Times of Israel, April 17, 2020, https://www.timesofisrael.com/us-far-right-extremists-are-now-calling-social-distancing-a-nazi-policy/
  3. [3]David Benfell, “An impatient capitalist god demands human sacrifice. Now,” Not Housebroken, April 17, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/04/15/an-impatient-capitalist-god-demands-human-sacrifice-now/
  4. [4]David Wallace-Wells, “We Are Probably Only One-Tenth of the Way Through This Pandemic,” New York, April 17, 2020, https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/04/we-are-probably-only-a-tenth-of-the-way-through-the-pandemic.html
  5. [5]David Benfell, “An impatient capitalist god demands human sacrifice. Now,” Not Housebroken, April 17, 2020, https://disunitedstates.org/2020/04/15/an-impatient-capitalist-god-demands-human-sacrifice-now/
  6. [6]Eric Cortellessa, “US far-right extremists are now calling social distancing a Nazi policy,” Times of Israel, April 17, 2020, https://www.timesofisrael.com/us-far-right-extremists-are-now-calling-social-distancing-a-nazi-policy/

Imprisoned at home

So I am joining the ranks of the imprisoned at home.

I like to think I take care of business. So I went a little early to get my annual Pennsylvania state-required vehicle inspection. I was in for a shock. The car needs $1,900 in repairs. And the mechanic will have the car at least until Thursday.
IMG_20200406_160023_MP
Fig. 1. The latest addition to the gratuitous guns collection, found in—apparently—Verona. This one, it must be admitted, is somewhat less ostentatious than the others. I would have missed it entirely except that because so many of the guns I’ve found have been at Veterans of Foreign Wars posts, I look more carefully at them as I drive by. Photograph by author, April 6, 2020. Other photographs here.


Fig. 2. Map of gratuitous guns, compiled by author.

These would be days when I’d be exploring what Pittsburgh has to offer besides the Confederate flags and gratuitous displays of weaponry (figure 1) I see so often (figure 2). But Pennsylvania’s “stay at home” order is in effect.[1]

I’m not good at this. Even when I was working on my dissertation, I was out and about. But I have been diligent about getting groceries. After an additional trip today (gee, Lyft is awfully expensive relative to what I, as a driver, would have been paid for the very same trips), I should be okay at least for a couple days. I’m seeing what an unwalkable area I’ve moved into. Even getting to my mailbox place will require Lyft or Uber rides. For trips that, distance-wise, I would ordinarily just walk.

So I guess I’ll be seeing how much of that enormous—seriously, this is a point of shame—backlog of reading I can plow through.

I’m not seeing much that really hits my radar screen. But the morality of polarization seems especially relevant now.

  1. [1]Megan Guza, “Gov. Wolf closes Pa. schools and businesses indefinitely, extends stay-at-home order,” TribLive, March 30, 2020, https://triblive.com/news/pennsylvania/gov-wolf-closes-pa-schools-and-businesses-indefinitely-extends-stay-at-home-order/;
    Megan Guza, “Gov. Wolf orders all of Pennsylvania to stay at home,” TribLive, April 1, 2020, https://triblive.com/news/pennsylvania/gov-wolf-orders-all-of-pennsylvania-to-stay-at-home/; Kara Seymour, “PA Coronavirus: Stay-At-Home Extended, Schools Shut Indefinitely,” Patch, March 30, 2020, https://patch.com/pennsylvania/baldwin-whitehall/s/h2eya/pa-stay-at-home-extended-schools-closed-indefinitely; WTAE, “Stay-at-home order to begin tonight for several Pa. counties, including Allegheny,” March 23, 2020, https://www.wtae.com/article/stay-at-home-order-to-begin-tonight-for-several-pa-counties-including-allegheny/31900786