The column below reflects the views of the author, and these opinions are neither endorsed nor supported by WisOpinion.com.
It is hard to think about approaching crises when we are in the midst of successive crises but we don’t get to pick the times we inhabit so there is no use crying over the nature of the human condition. Instead we need to take a deep breath, think about what might come next, and prepare to do our duty as best we can, with the resources we have available.
For example, our recent warm days have reminded us of what we all know is around the corner – sweltering summertime heat.
For those of us who live and/or work in facilities that have efficient air conditioning systems the dog days of summer are easily manageable – we just go inside to cool off. For those who don’t live and/or work in facilities that have efficient air conditioning systems it is harder. Such persons need access to public facilities, shelters, theaters, etc., that provide an opportunity to cool down.
Obviously, keeping cool is made more difficult when the places where people traditionally go to keep cool are either shut down or their occupancy is constricted by the myriad (and sometimes contradictory) coronavirus regulations which have emerged.
Furthermore, in many cases the most vulnerable among us (like the elderly) have been badly frightened by the coronavirus crisis, and the riots, and are reluctant to leave their homes whether or not they have air conditioning. At the current juncture the world may seem scary and inhospitable to such persons and their natural inclination may be to recede into their home and hide in what they imagine to be a safe place.
But if it gets really hot a poorly ventilated dwelling and/or one that lacks air conditioning is actually quite dangerous – and perhaps even as or more dangerous for individuals than the coronavirus.
So it is incumbent upon neighbors, friends, and local authorities to start thinking on how we are going to help the most vulnerable handle the heat.
I am confident we will be able to figure it out, because we have done so in the past, but we will have greater success if we think a bit about it now, before the heat reaches it maximum intensity. Our current circumstances have changed so we may need to be a bit more vigilant and creative in how we keep people cool – and keeping people cool may require us to check the impulse to place an exorbitant emphasis on virus mitigation.
The virus never has been and isn’t now the only dangerous thing out there that can kill people and in fact our reaction to the virus may have created or may be creating conditions that exacerbate other, pre-existing and/or regularly reoccurring threats. If you look at the science in a holistic fashion it is easy to imagine circumstances in which the threat of the virus is dwarfed by other threats. So it may be that if we focus on the virus to the exclusion of other considerations we are not actually responsible or caring, we are instead stupid and cruel. Nobody wants to be stupid and cruel although it is easier to slip into that mode than one might imagine.
Fortunately, we have a bit of time to think about the heat and doing so realistically will help us avert future problems. In this instance we can dodge some unintended consequences. Let us do that.
— Mobley is the village president of Thiensville, Wisconsin.