Readers’ Forum: 4/7/20

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Be selfless, not selfish

Desperate times call for desperate measures. These past three weeks so evidently emulated this mantra. While America is increasingly affected by the COVID-19, people react in two different ways: selfishly or selflessly.

We have seen the apparently self-fulfilling prophecy that the more people think the shelves will be empty, the emptier they become. Like Anakin playing his role in the self-fulfillment of Padme’s death or Oedipus in the Ancient Greek tragedy; the more we panic, the more panic spreads. As your storage becomes stocked with toilet paper and water bottles, your neighbor’s will consequently become emptier.

Yet ironically at the same time, thousands of healthcare workers are risking their lives to help and sustain their “neighbor,” while most other people are spending more time at home with family. These modern-day heroes are willfully moving to the front lines of battle with little regard for what’s in it for them and a major regard for how they can help. During this Easter season, may we choose to be selfless rather than selfish in these desperate times. May we remember the second great commandment from Him who also willingly gave His life: “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”

Jake Gochnour
Holladay, UT

The good, the bad and the both

Stressful times seem to bring out the best and the worst in people, and because of the reach of modern media, both forms of actions are often brought into the spotlight. In the past few weeks, we have seen various reactions to the COVID-19 pandemic. Some have ignored the recommendations of health officials, hoarded essential items and even fought in grocery stores over the resulting shortages. On the other hand, we have heard stories of people coming together and selflessly distributing those items that are in short supply. 

While actions of generosity are to be celebrated, it does bring up the question of how those supplies were obtained. There is the possibility that these distributors had large stockpiles prior to the pandemic. If so, these people deserve even more praise. However, it is also likely that those praised for their distribution efforts are the same people being berated for purchasing more than they need and causing the current shortages. 

During these times, we should look for ways to help and serve but also remember that we should not harm others in the process. After all, Robin Hood stole from those who had too much, not the general populace.

Jace Anderson
Provo, UT

Wet market regulations

COVID-19 was not caused by a wet market in China. There is little doubt that China has a history of enjoying exotic, wild animals, but they are hardly alone in this. Whether it’s guinea pigs in Peru, maggots in Africa, camels in Dubai or dolphins in Japan, a variety of cultures have a diversity of tastes. In fact, in Florida people eat iguanas, BBQ alligator ribs, bobcat and rattlesnake. These local traditions of eating exotic animals are not specific to China.

The real issue is that weak legal controls and regulations push the sale of all kinds of
meats into what is termed the “gray area” of unregulated commerce. It’s in that area that disease is bred. Because it is in that area that smuggling occurs, hygiene is unregulated, and wildlife is subject to cruelty and illegal trading.

Wet markets are, in reality, fresh food markets where fresh vegetables and meat are sold in
small stalls. These markets are a cornerstone in the Chinese life and provide a diverse societal
benefit where cultural food knowledge is shared and interpersonal relationships are formed.

Instead of demonizing them, education, regulation and a supervision of network and channels
for consumers are all needed. This will offset terrible conditions resulting from the “gray
market,” which introduces diseased wildlife into systems.

Nikki Stanton
Cibolo, TX

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