Boomer Opinion: Coronavirus in a Kansas neighborhood

The coronavirus struck different people in different ways. And depending on where you live, the crisis caused by the virus did too. Here’s a Boomer Opinion from Roger Clark of Valley Center, Kansas, a look at the coronavirus in his neighborhood… and in his life.

Like so many others here in flyover country, we were ordered to shelter in place while the coronavirus was winging its way around Kansas. We’ve also been instructed to avoid gatherings, wear masks, and put gloves on… by authorities holding crowded press briefings without a single mask or glove in view. Well, except the fashion trending scarves of Dr. Deborah Birx.

Roger writes, “No mask. No gloves. No problem, in Valley Center, Kansas.”

Living where “fashion” is limited to a Walmart Super Center, we shop wearing everything from driving gloves to idiot mittens, and face masks made from plastic, elastics, and bandanas. They may not ward off the average viral bogeyman, but they certainly increase following distance.

I had a raging cold (or something) some time back, and finally went to see the family physician just as it was subsiding. He gave me a shrug and an antibiotic. Was it just a cold, or the dreaded COVID19, which has turned American mortality tables, not to mention a trillion-dollar economy, on its head?

Did I nearly get killed by this raging pandemic phenomenon because I fit the perfect profile? Or was I spared for selflessly choosing to not buy a hundred rolls of toilet paper? I don’t know, and neither do millions of others.

I’m one of the lucky ones. I have what the government calls an essential job, and no, it’s not a marijuana store or abortion clinic. Part of the upside has been, I’ve had rush hour to myself, and there’s enough money in the bank to help friends who were laid off from non-essential restaurants, crisis pregnancy centers, gun stores, and Hobby Lobby outlets.

There’s no debate about the health issues posed by COVID-19, but one glaring omission in the factors many people weigh is the constitutional right to free assembly, organized protests, and transit between state lines. Suddenly I’m transported in some kind of time machine to a state regime that can fine and maybe even jail me for walking, worshiping, or sitting on a park bench without “papers” allowing me to do that.

Roger Clark says, “Sunday morning worship service. Nine people in attendance. Just two more and the governor will be chaining the doors shut.”

Before the coronavirus, roughly 8,000 Americans died every day, from an infinite number of causes. The good news is, with 22-million unemployed Americans safe at home from on-the-job or on-the-road injuries or death, that rate went down. The bad news is, if you follow the media, the deaths that still plague us are all corona-related. They’re not.

No one in my suburb is suffering from this invisible wave of viral terror. No one I know of in my neighborhood has been tested, inspected, infected, or rejected. Nobody on my street is wearing a mask, gloves, or black armband, because no one has gotten sick or dead. The only obituary in the local news outlet, in fact, is for the U.S. Constitution.

But like I said, I’m one of the lucky ones. In all the downtime, I finished three books, and that’s a lot of coloring!


  1. Well said Roger. It is amazing just how fast we can lose our constitutional rights when people are afraid. Legitimately or not. As we know no right is absolute, and with a compelling state interest such as health and safety, the government may legally infringe on rights when necessary to curtail the threat. That said, the acts must be directly connected and reasonable and limited to maintaining the health and safety of the people. More than that is not constitutional. I think we will see in the aftermath just how far the government over stepped in denying the people their constitutional rights and protecting us from the virus. I personally see a lot of overreach. Maybe it was necessary, but a real hard examination had better be made or we risk more than this deadly virus. In my opinion of course.

    1. “I think we will see in the aftermath just how far the government over stepped in denying the people their constitutional rights and protecting us from the virus. I personally see a lot of overreach.”
      Eric, you’ve hit the nail right square on the head. Overcrowded areas like NYC and LA have a much greater “risk analysis” quotient and do need more disease containment, but the “err on the side of caution” has been taken to extremes in many locales where it isn’t needed; some politicians “knee-jerk reaction” to over-control when given the opportunity has sprouted and grown.

  2. I can happen anywhere, at anytime. Being cautious is a good way to bet. If it hasn’t hit your area you are very lucky. Social distancing is working, and it may very well save your life!

  3. Your lucky you don’t have a large meat processing plant in your town. If you did I don’t think you would be so smug.

  4. Are seat belt laws, speed limits, and the prohibition of drunk driving stepping on our constitutional rights? I don’t think so. It’s called doing what’s right for the public good.

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