FOULDS: If stupidity was a crime, Covidiots would fill prison cells

Freedom of expression is protected under section 2 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, but that freedom to express ends when the expression endangers the public

They are called Covidiots.

It is the name given to those among us who ignore advice and edicts from health experts or, worse, deny the COVID-19 pandemic is anything to worry about or, even worse, label the pandemic a lie and attribute the deception to all sorts of ridiculous theories, most of which are founded on as much fact as is that monster under your two-year-old’s bed.

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We see them daily, be they sun seekers crowding together in a Toronto park, young partiers sharing close quarters in a swim-up bar in Florida, store clerks in the Rust Belt who have cut a hole in their cloth masks or Deep South pastors who, before a church full of worshippers, declare their God mightier than the novel coronavirus — only to wind up in the starring role of a newspaper obituary a short time later.

Cause of death: COVID-19, with a contributing case of irony.

We see them as authors of letters to the editor, pointing to the impressively low COVID-19 death and case numbers in B.C., relative to other jurisdictions, and seeing success as failure.

Look at the low numbers, they say. Proof that Health Minister Adrian Dix and Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry went overboard on pandemic prep.

That the low numbers may just possibly be due to that overboard pandemic prep never occurs to them, consumed as they are with trying to tie the COVID “hoax” to evil vaccination cabals, Bill Gates’ unquenchable thirst for power, the always reliable Illuminati, 5G networks, Big Pharma and Howard Cunningham’s reign as the Grand Poobah of Leopard Lodge No. 462 in Milwaukee.

In another era, clinging to such ludicrous conspiracy theory beliefs could be seen as humorous, quaint and misguided. But in this age of social media, spreading such nonsense can be dangerous, even life-threatening.

It is perfectly reasonable to question what the authorities are doing and it is healthy to be skeptical. But there is more than a fine line between skepticism and outright lunacy.

You can choose your opinion, not your facts.

Questioning the rationale of capping vehicles at drive-in theatres at 50 is a legitimate query.

Asking for specifics on where one can venture without the need to wear a cloth mask is a logical request.

Even asking for details on whether COVID-19 was the immediate, underlying or contributing cause of death in our statistics is a reasonable inquiry.

Posting the laughable Plandemic video on your social media feed without doing the basic research to know it is bunk is not responsible. Sharing a debunked video on your social media feed that features a chiropractor in Missouri claiming mass consumption of tonic water will kill the novel coronavirus is not responsible.

Promoting a video of two profit-motivated doctors from Bakersfield, Cal., equating the virus to annual influenza, while using grievously erroneous extrapolation equations, is not responsible.

Stapling “COVID-19 is a lie” messages to poles in the city, with a link to a hashtag connected to the loony, far right Qanon movement, is not responsible.

Freedom of expression is protected under section 2 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, but that freedom to express ends when the expression endangers the public.

Yelling, “Fire!” in a crowded theatre is dangerous. So, too, is the practise of making public claims that the COVID-19 pandemic is a hoax or lie. And those behind the “COVID-19 is a lie” leafletting in Kamloops should, at the least, be criminally charged with mischief.

The virus is real. The pandemic is real.

To argue otherwise while backed by nothing more than the wild ideas of the paranoid is irresponsible and dangerous and only serves to nudge the more gullible among us to drop their guard and increase the risk of transmission of the virus.

Christopher Foulds is editor of Kamloops This Week.
Twitter: @ChrisJFoulds


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