Six months ago, Captain Joe Manning of the Wayne County Police force in Georgia died from Covid. Captain Manning refused to take the vaccine and even posted anti-vaxx messages in social media. Instead, he took Ivermectin. He was 57 years old.
I had 3 reactions after reading of his death. First, I felt bad that he died when it probably could have been avoided. Next (I am embarrassed to say) that I was glad he died, as his actions made no sense and losing someone like that is probably good for society. But I finally arrived at my third and final conclusion which was that he decided on how he wanted to live his life and took the consequences of his actions. Just before his death he posted that he was “celebrating the fact that he made his choice.”
Good for him. He “manned up,” so to speak.
The modern resilience movement began after 9/11, when businesses and governments came to realize that they could not control “Black Swan Events,” which are rare events that have far reaching implications. Along with 9/11, super storms like Katrina and Sandy tested those hypotheses along with the financial crisis of 2008, and of course, Covid-19.
The idea of resilience is that we build systems that will, at least, mitigate the impact of those events. Businesses responded by building redundant data management systems, the banking system installed so called “stress tests” so they denote how a bank might fare under a major financial crisis, and the federal and our local governments prepared stockpiles of supplies along with a commitment from utility companies to provide repair crews when needed for emergencies.
Despite the warnings we had about the potential of global pandemics (AIDS, Sars, Swine Flu, Ebola) prior to Covid-19, we clearly overlooked the warning signs, and unfortunately, pandemic preparation at the national level was significantly defunded. From the start, we were behind the 8-ball. Data was lacking, rumors and misinformation was spread and politics took center stage.
It’s led to a crazy 2 years, but it doesn’t look like it is setting up to be a crazy 3rd year. From a resilience perspective, it is time to see that there is only so much that can be done to prevent future infections and that people can make choices about how they want to live their lives, just like Captain Manning.
The Virus is not going away and there will be more variants and even new viruses. We’ve learned a lot from this one and ultimately each of us must decide how to respond. I know I will approach the next crisis with a healthy respect, but I won’t let it rule my life.
© Richard Citrin 2022