My neighbor wailed all morning. It’s really disturbing. I arose hung over, discovered the news stories from St. Louis. I have family thereabouts. I haven’t been able to reach them by phone but I hear they’re okay. So far.
The media sucks at explaining what’s happening there. Web sources indicate that the case fatality rate has shot up to something like 20% in some areas. Bloggers say there‘s looting in blacked-out areas—even in the suburbs, where an SUV carries lot more swag than a shopping cart. One says immigrants are being rounded up and dumped in camps, which would demand a ridiculous diversion of public safety resources.
Let’s hope these reports are inflated and that the Missouri National Guard can stabilize things without making them worse. The images of those kids in paper masks clutching loaded M16s were the scariest I’ve seen since the pandemic started. I was reminded of an early scene from George Romero’s Dawn of The Dead, when young Guardsmen prepare to storm an inner city housing project whose tenants won’t give up their living dead. (What follows—trailer here—chased the New York Times film critic out of the theater.)
These are moments when society gets naked. Knots of power are stripped bare, exposed as incompetent, inadequate. We see the agents of order lost and frightened as the citizens in greatest need are forced to fend for themselves. We’ve all heard those New Orleans blues, seen people on American rooftops waving from another world: the land of Katrina.