Column like I see 'em - Selfishness disguised as freedom


By Eoin Devereux

Neepawa Banner & Press

There’s no reason to let a little global pandemic get in the way of your good time bro! That seemed to be the mindset of many people recently, as there appears to be an aggressive strain of stupid going around out there parallel to COVID-19.

During the Memorial Day weekend in the United States, a resort, located in a part of Missouri known as Lake of the Ozarks, received international attention for all the wrong reasons. A video was shot at what was called the “Zero Ducks Given Pool Party”, showing a massive crowd packed into a small area, drinking and partying without masks or a care in the world.

The bar that hosted the event did state, after the video went viral however, that it had taken some precautions, such as taking guests’ temperatures and offering hand sanitizer. However, physical distancing obviously didn’t happen.

Even under normal circumstances, I’d hope that most people wouldn’t want to be anywhere near this mass of frat bro/sorority girl culture, for fear of catching something…most likely hepatitis. But in these times, with COVID-19 still a grim spectre that hangs over many in the United States, all of this just reeks of cluelessness and entitlement.

Canadians can be covidiots too

I wish that we could all just wave aside this type behaviour as typical “Merica!!!”, but Toronto’s Trinity Bellwoods Park also recently caught a case of the moronic. On Sunday, May 24, an estimated 10,000 people gathered inside the park, despite repeated calls from public health officials to avoid large gatherings.

As of the time of writing this editorial, the greater Toronto area accounted for about 78 per cent of the current active COVID cases in Ontario, Dr. Alon Vaisman, an infectious disease physician at the University Health Network of Toronto, told CBC News that the growth in new cases in Ontario since early May is “primarily a Toronto problem”.

Free-dumb fighters

There are several smaller examples of this type of entitled behaviour happening all across Canada and the United States. The most common arguments to try and justify these actions hinges upon the mantra of personal freedom.

Now look, I am a fervent believer in personal freedom. As long as you don’t physically, emotionally or financially hurt anyone else with your freedom, you can do whatever the heck you want. But when you believe your individual rights supersede everyone else’s or public safety as a whole…well then, you’re just a jackass. Freedom is not an absence of obligation or responsibility to anything greater than your own immediate and infantile self-satisfaction.

Selfless and selfish

As we gradually emerge (hopefully) from the COVID-19 pandemic, we see now that there are two types of people out there, the selfless and the selfish. The selfless are those who put themselves in harm’s way to help others, no matter the cost to themselves. The first responders, nurses and doctors; the transport and front-line staff who worked tirelessly to keep the store shelves stocked; and the millions who chose to stay home, despite the hardships and stress that it created.

The selfish are those who demand their personal entitlements. They protest and threaten and fight, but only for themselves and their desires. They put their wants ahead of what’s right, no matter the cost to anyone else. Which one of those two types of people were working on their tans and drinking Bud Light Lime in Toronto and Missouri over the long weekend?

Addendum: In a potential example of instant karma, Missouri state health officials are now tracking a person who attended the pool event at the Lake of the Ozarks, who tested positive for COVID-19.

Disclaimer: Column like I see ‘em is a monthly opinion column for the Neepawa Banner & Press. The views expressed in the article are the writer’s personal views and are not to be taken as being the view of the Neepawa Banner & Press.