Michael Reagan, I don’t know what daily life is like during our Great National Shutdown in states like Pennsylvania, where I hear golfing is verboten, all liquor stores are closed and masks must be worn into retail stores.
But out here in sprawling Los Angeles, where half of the state’s 1,512 COVID-19 deaths have occurred, things are getting goofier and scarier all the time.
It’s not the coronavirus I’m sacred of.
It’s power-mad politicians like Gov. Gavin Newsom and L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti, both of whom have been making it sound like we’re going to be in strict lockdown mode until Thanksgiving.
Newsom recently released a detailed six-point plan for safely reopening the state that includes protecting the old, the sick and vulnerable and tracking positive cases, beefing up hospitals and isolating people who’ve tested positive for COVID-19.
It’s almost as if he is looking to achieve perfection – “When no one is dying from the virus, we will start re-opening.”
That level of perfect safety is never going to be achieved, but look at what Mayor Garcetti is willing to do to make sure people like me and my wife stay in our homes and avoid all unnecessary travel – or movement.
“Mayor Gloom and Doom” wants to use drones to see if you’re going outside and he’s talking about checking license plates and tracking cell phones.
If he sends a drone over my house, I might shoot it down with my shotgun.
Meanwhile, every day our politicians and media repeat the same things to scare people: “Stay in your house. If you go out, you’re going to kill somebody.”
Garcetti’s acting a lot like an angry parent. When some kids kept showing up at a skateboard park, he had city trucks dump sand on the concrete.
The kids, bless them, went home and got their dirt bikes.
Given the mayor’s attitude, it wouldn’t surprise me a bit if he’d charge you with attempted murder if you were caught outside on non-essential travel and someone near you catches COVID-19.
People in California, like people across the country, now know what they are supposed to do to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
But Garcetti, Newsom and the other people in charge of California refuse to treat their citizens and business people like adults who are capable of taking care of themselves.
By not opening up beaches and parks, and by not allowing businesses to reopen now in careful and responsible ways, the governor and the mayor have inadvertently fostered a new underground market in the service industry.
Ordinary people in L.A. – not just movie stars – are getting manicures, having their hair cut and getting their dogs groomed in their own homes or backyards.
You pay the providers of these and other black-market services in cash, so there is no credit card record that can be traced, but I don’t think it’s technically illegal – not yet.
I’m not worried about leaving my home and getting the virus. For all I know I’m one of the hundreds of thousands of people in L.A. County who may already have been infected and didn’t know it.
Last Sunday morning my wife did some traveling that we considered essential.
We went to a drive-through blessing at our church, dropped off some food for some local first responders, picked up a bunch of burritos and went over to my son’s house, where he had set up a little teepee on the front lawn.
We put a big blanket down on the grass, sat six feet apart and celebrated my granddaughter Penelope’s second birthday.
I hope one of the mayor’s drones wasn’t watching.