The world is laughing at Utah right now.
Not because anything funny is happening here. No, quite the opposite. It’s on account of the fact that too many idiots live here, idiots too stubborn to follow simple guidelines by some of the country’s and world’s smartest people, experts and epidemiologists who may not be perfect, but who have spent their professional careers studying infectious diseases and are asking for the public’s help to tamp down an unrelenting virus.
Wear a freaking mask, they say, and keep your distance until this thing gets better controlled.
Let’s see … who should folks listen to … those idiots in politics and on cable news who refuse to hear sound medical advice, the ones who barely passed science class in high school, or the preeminent medical experts of the day?
Hmm. Tough call, man, tough call.
And because too many idiots live here, too many people who aren’t idiots are getting sick and dying here from COVID-19, people who would otherwise avoid illness and live.
The images from Wednesday of an unmasked Utah County crowd — or was it a mob? — jammed into a room, protesting the notion of them having to wear masks in public and their kids having to wear them at school, will be etched into the pictorial history of the coronavirus and its wretched devastation in this state and in this country. It is all anyone has to know about the reasons the virus has persisted here and will go on persisting.
The irony is these people are crying for freedom. They want everything to open up and be the way it was before COVID took hold, before they felt shuttered, having few options other than sitting in front of their TVs watching Fox News.
And they don’t want to take it anymore.
But if they did follow the counsel of the experts — wash hands, social distance, wear masks — the opening up, the freedom they crave would come much quicker than it otherwise will.
It’s upside-down stupidity.
It makes a sane person wonder what the hell’s wrong with these folks?
There’s no way of knowing with exactness what percentage of the Utah County crowd jammed into that room on Wednesday night is LDS, but considering the general religious makeup of the county, it’s safe to guess that the percentage was high. And everybody around here is fully aware that leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, supposedly inspired individuals called by God, have urged their members to take the very precautions that crowd was thrashing against.
What does any of this have to do with sports?
On the list of priorities, that concern ranks on down the list a ways. But the resistance to follow the aforementioned guidelines will have a profound effect on whether sports get played anytime soon. The more stubborn the mad crowd becomes, the less likely it is that any of the angry will have the opportunity to watch in-person a football spiral through the air, a basketball splash through a net, a baseball fly over a fence.
The NBA and MLS are hoping to have their seasons and postseasons saved by a bubble in Orlando, but that’s an exception to the rule. College football cannot do that. And college football is loved here in Utah. But, apparently, not loved enough.
Athletic directors, such as Utah’s Mark Harlan, are begging people to keep their social distance and to wear masks. Begging, saying it’s the only way that fans in some limited measure not only will be allowed into their stadiums, but will be able to watch football at all on television.
Right now, the college football season is teetering on a cliff, so ready to carom to its cancellation — because of the attitude and carelessness and idiocy of people like the ones who were tightly gathered at that meeting for their protestation.
Those who say they shouldn’t have to follow any such instruction from experts and government leaders, and, as it turns out, ecclesiastical ones, as well, claiming it’s the first step toward more restrictions in the future, more freedoms being taken away from them, might as well protest against laws restricting drunk drivers from getting behind the wheels of their cars.
Not being allowed to drink and drive, in fact, robs freedom, too. And it also protects more innocent citizens from getting killed by those drunk drivers.
Only the blind cannot see the correlation. Sometimes laws limit the liberty of individuals in order to protect the greater good.
Some people say calling others idiots, those who cram unmasked into rooms in the time of a pandemic, does no good. Those people have to be gently persuaded into doing the right thing.
I’d be all for that — if it worked. It hasn’t.
Now, more people around here are getting sick, too many of whom are dying. People who shouldn’t get sick, people who should live, who have every right to live.
And so many concerned people outside of Utah are pointing at this place, either crying or laughing. They are choosing the latter because, already, they’ve done too much of the former.
GORDON MONSON hosts “The Big Show” with Jake Scott weekdays from 2-7 p.m. on 97.5 FM and 1280 AM The Zone.