On March 18, 2020, I read a column - “Democrats, media distorting disease preparedness” - in the Bandera Bulletin that was disturbing. It used a number of disparaging terms.
The First Amendment protects free speech. All people should be able to speak their minds, but not if they engage in name calling – like saying people are “lunatics” whose brains are being eaten by the “Trump Derangement Syndrome” or saying Democrats hope the coronavirus will kill millions so Trump will lose the election or referring to our previous president as a “doofus.”
Free speech isn’t “absolute.”
The First Amendment protects freedom of expression, but it doesn’t protect speech that could incite others to panic or commit violence.
Journalism is bound by a strict code of ethics. The Bulletin should not be a platform for an uninformed rant in the middle of a crisis that’s killing Americans.
The column wasn’t accurate either. It claimed the Trump Administration has adequately addressed the coronavirus pandemic.
The facts I would argue say otherwise.
A number of media outlets has confirmed that since an article appeared in The New York Times on March 19, 2020, headlined “Before Virus Outbreak, a Cascade of Warnings Went Unheeded.”
From January 2019 to August 2019, the Trump Administration’s Department of Health and Human Services studied the worst things that could happen in a pandemic and turned in a report in October 2019. The report laid out in “stark detail” how an “underfunded, unprepared and uncoordinated federal government would be in a life-or-death battle with a virus for which no treatment existed.”
After the report was turned in, it was marked “not to be disclosed.” Bottom line, it was ignored.
On Dec. 1, 2019, the first case of coronavirus appeared in Wuhan, China, and by late December, Wuhan’s doctors were expressing alarm.
That was ignored. Mr. Trump called the virus a hoax, said it would disappear fast “like a miracle,” didn’t want infected people to get off a cruise ship because that would look bad since it would increase the number of cases in the U.S.
There are numerous other distressing examples of a late American response to this pandemic under Donald Trump that cannot be ignored.
How to make a simple mask
Only recently, pandemic medical experts are recommending we wear face masks in public.
These are the advantages. They capture moisture droplets when you speak, sneeze or cough. They prevent you touching your nose and mouth. They demonstrate best practices. Face masks are in short supply, but you can make your own with a man’s 15-inch-by-14-inch handkerchief and a 42-inch shoestring.
This mask as an advantage over a purchased one. It is easily sanitized by simply washing and drying it after each use.
Begin by folding the handkerchief in half so that it forms a 7-inch-by-15-inch rectangle. Next begin at the folded edge to form two or three pleats that run the length of the handkerchief.
Press and pin these folds in place.
Then, stitch a ¾-inch fold at each end and pull the shoestring through both of the formed channels. Finally, the loop of the shoestring goes over the top of your head and the ends tie at the back of your neck. It’s snug.
When worn, you protect others in case you are a carrier of COVID-19, it prevents you from transferring any corona virus from surfaces onto your nose or mouth and you model an appropriate way to be a good neighbor.
Rose M. Hall