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None of us have lived in these conditions

I was born in 1961 and I have never seen anything like what’s happened in the last two weeks.

It’s as if we’re questioning everything we believed about security and our health – even our mortality. A lot of us are worried, and rightfully so. There is so much uncertainty right now about how far the virus will kill us humans and our economy.

Panic has led to hording. People have been buying too much product, outstripping supply and wreaking havoc on those like me who stop on the way home for that night’s meal.

The land of plenty has suddenly become a land of shortages. We’ve only heard of such things happening in countries like Venezuela or China.

All of a sudden the California traffic gridlock I have complained about becoming normal part of life has disappeared. I, you see, am among those still working or still have a job.

People are staying away from one another like never before.

Things will get better. We must believe that. But nobody knows when things get better. As testing increases, we’ll see the numbers of the infected climb. But if there is a silver lining, it’s that if you do get it, chances are you’ll have mild affects. My gut reaction is that officials have gone overboard on their approach in limiting how we conduct our lives. After all, we live in a free country, and mandating that businesses close is most anti-American.  Most of us have never lived under such conditions.

I recoiled when Gov. Newsom suggested all the little kiddies likely won’t be going back to school. Immediately I began to worry about all the parents – who are still working – not being able to find babysitters. But never fear, the schools will keep feeding our kids because parents have come to depend on the Nanny State to feed them.

If anything we’ve learned most of us have not saved for such an emergency as this. Dave Ramsey has been urging everyone to have a supply of cash that could carry them six months, not living paycheck to paycheck.

We also need to QUIT relying on government and rely on ourselves. Why did it be okay for parents to skip feeding their kids and make the government do it?

All of a sudden now that the economy hits the skids do politicians say, “Oh, we need to give them some of their money back.” If anything this crisis has proven that politicians know if people can keep more of their money the economy does better. It flies in the face of their tax-and-spend happy-go-lucky approach to life in America.

The minute I heard that Trump wants to give every American $1,000 times two, I thought here goes the national debt skyrocketing out of control unless they plan to curtail spending which you know will only be increasing!

This crisis also should be obvious in illustrating that we, as a country, have indeed distanced ourselves from God. Our churches have grown as vacant as the toiletry shelves at Walmart yet people who never pray now are suddenly pressed to urge God for intervention. It seems to me as we are confronted with getting back to the basics that one basic need is for an understanding and relationship with God.

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I try to keep my mind open about things.

On one hand, being a student of history, I know that viruses can cause calamity on the planet. Many don’t know that the Spanish flu (H1N1) of 1918-19 infected 500 million worldwide and killed some 675,000 Americans and up to 50 million worldwide. Mortality was high in people younger than age five, 20-40 years old, and 65 years and older. Unlike coronavirus, which originated in China, this killer virus first surfaced in Kansas, namely Haskell County and Fort Riley. Many of those soldiers at Fort Riley had shipped off to Europe where it spread like wildfire. What saved humanity was a similar order of self-isolation.

So see, borders do matter.

The other part of my mind operates with a high level of suspicion. Especially since Rohm Emmanuel once said to never let a good crisis go to waste. In order words, politically seize on someone’s misfortune. It’s always the time they expand the role of government, take more control, seize more rights, running up more debt, putting the thumbscrews to you and me.

My mind keeps thinking of the 1977 movie “Close Encounters of the Third Kind”? Remember how the government faked a nerve gas spill and planted dead sheep as proof to force everyone to put on gas masks and ordered an evacuation just to get everyone out of the area so the Army could make contact with a giant spaceship? I’m not saying that is occurring now. Not saying that at all. But could a government and a media instill widespread panic for the purposes of control? You betcha.

* * * * *

I could hardly believe my ears when a TV reporter asked why President Trump called the coronavirus the Chinese flu and suggesting he was being racist. Really? The president aptly answered: because it came from China.

Why do these national members of the media love to stir up political crap in times like these?

* * * * *

It’s difficult to understand why, when people are asked to remain in their homes because of this virus, that inmates are being released from custody in some jails like Los Angeles. As of Monday morning, March 16 the inmate population had been reduced from 17,076 to 16,459 since the end of February, in part by granting early release to those with less than 30 days on their sentences. Sheriff Alex Villanueva said the jail population is a vulnerable population “just by virtue of who they are and where they’re located. So, we’re protecting that population from potential exposure.” He is sure as hell isn’t worried about protecting the general public which hasn’t broken any laws.

Yeah, we get that the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California doesn’t think reducing inmate population by 600 is “nowhere enough.” They, after all, are enemies of the people. But a virus shouldn’t earn anyone a “get out of jail free” card. Liberals always think bad actions shouldn’t face any consequences.

* * * * *

 These are hard times for business and some are doing what they can to stay afloat.

Pastas Pronto in Ceres announced on social media on Friday that it’s offering 40 percent off on the cost of take-out orders.

Restaurants are providing a valuable service in these days of self quarantines since it seems like a lot of Americans are hording food, i.e., buying way too much and preventing their fellow Americans from their share of the stock.

Folks, stop the hording. God provides.

This column is the opinion of Jeff Benziger, and does not necessarily represent the opinion of The Ceres Courier or Morris Newspaper Corp. of CA. How do you feel about this? Let Jeff know at