For those not still cavorting on unshut Florida beaches, i.e., most of us, we each have our own idea of what constitutes an “essential service” that should be allowed to remain open while we wait for that elusive leveling off of the spread of the coronavirus that will precipitate the beginning of a return to normalcy. There is no disagreement that grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations and banks need to stay open. Healthcare services, trash collection, pet services, ditto. Wine and liquor stores? That depends on how much longer we must endure the 24/7 isolation with our spouses, bored and screaming kids and our in-laws.
Of course what we each consider essential is based on our personal preferences. I am longing for the opening of my golf course on the scheduled May 1 date. Many women can’t wait until they can resume their weekly ritual at the nail parlor and, more importantly, their trips to the hair salon to (let’s face it, ladies) get a long overdue color touch up to cover their roots. Others crave a trip to the ballpark, the shopping mall, the movies, their favorite restaurant or to experience one of the other innumerable pleasures of life that we all took for granted just a few long weeks ago. In the best case, however, we are likely looking to the summer at the earliest.
One item that we apparently can’t live without, according to the Trump Administration and a number of Second Amendment-loving states, is the God-given right of every man, woman and child in this country to own a gun or, more accurately, an arsenal of weapons sufficient to face Armageddon with minimal restraints. If we can’t buy a gun, the NRA and the rest of the gun lobby argues, how can we defend ourselves against the murderous horde preventing us from buying the last of the supply of Purell at our local Costco?
To Trump, nothing can be more essential than supporting the wishes of a group that contributed no less than $30 million to secure his election. Put it on the list of the interests the president truly represents: coal-burning furnaces, lower auto mileage standards and more polluted streams and rivers. A matter of principle? Follow the money. And for those who really do think that we must do something about combatting climate change, but believe that market forces will do the trick, good luck with that when faced with that amount of cold, hard cash.
Despite all of these nefarious developments, I guess we really do need to count the few blessings resulting from this crisis. When was the last time you heard about a mass shooting? And it won’t be long before Trump takes credit for that. But he is a really smart guy and even he must realize that those are kind of hard to commit when gatherings are limited to fewer than 10 people. But it won’t be because a potential perpetrator won’t be able to obtain the weapons needed to commit one. The NRA will make sure of that.