Three Feet and Three images
By ice rivers
During my first law class in graduate school. our teacher made this point about legal, individual rights. "I have the right to swing my fist until my right interferes with your freedom to have a nose."
Being a person who likes a lot of personal space, I've kept that lesson in mind for decades but it has come into particular focus during these days of social distancing, masking and celebrating holidays.
I give you three images;
1) Trump speaking at Mt. Rushmore. 7,000 people looking at the monument, listening to the president, watching fireworks, sitting right next to one another, not wearing masks.
2) a pool party in the Ozarks of Missouri. A couple hundred people (mostly men) seemingly all under the age of 30, overcrowding a pool, drinking beers, no masks, no distance, lot of noise, laughter etc.
3) A gathering in the shallows at Fire Island, one of the proudest gay communities in America. Hundreds of men in the water, splashing, embracing, wading. no masks.
Three pretty distinct groups from three different parts of the country. God only knows what was going on in California, Florida and Texas but judging from the huge infectious jump in each state, I would hazard a guess that it's more of the same. The difference being that the first three examples were captured on video and went viral.
Obviously, the disease is being spread. It's punching our nation right in its Goddamned nose.
Now let's go back to law school for a moment. The right 'to swing your fist until you interfere with another person's right to have their nose'. If you consider the spreading of an infectious, potentially deadly virus to be comparable to a punch in the nose then it becomes easier to visualize the rest of this precautionary tale.
It's very clear that infectious Covid 19 transmission can occur at a distance of six feet indoors so let's cut that distance in half and assume that outdoors the transmission distance is three feet. If you've ever smoked a cigarette (or in my case a cigar) and noticed how far rhe smoke travels when exhaled, three feet is a pretty standard distance even on a windy day. So let's go with three feet as an unsafe distance. I have the right to sneeze and cough and chortle and talk and not wear a mask if I'm standing more than three feet away from you and even shorter if neither one of us are wearing masks. If my unmasked exhalations were fist swings, I'd be punching your unmasked nose every time that I opened my mouth.
Now let's go back to the three images. Let's imagine puches thrown rather than exhalations inhaled.
While Trump, Lincoln, Washington, Jefferson and Roosevelt looked at the scene in front of them they would observe seven thousand people punching the shit out of each other before during and after the firewwork display that might have set the mountain side of fire.
The Ozarks, a bunch of obvious shitkickers kicking the shit out of each other in a bloody pool full of knocked off baseball caps and dropped beer cans while babes in bikinis not only looked on but started smashing each other.
Fire Island, a gaggle of gay men some unclothedto begin with and others wearing barely there Speedos start punching each other in the nose and stomping each other into the shallow surf.
And all of it caught on video.
All of it going viral.
Would that encourage people throughout the country to step outside and punch out their neighbors, relatives, strangers anybody who came within three feet of their exhaled "fists" or would it discourage that behavior as people got a good look at the consequences of thoughtless, selfish behavior and decided to social distance rather than participate in such brutal, undignified behavior as punching out everyone in sight.
I'd like to think viewers would tend to safely social distance and for GOD sake stay further than three feet away from everybody at all times.
And put on a mask to protect their nose from any thoughtless fists.
Maybe we could find our way out of this one sided brawl.