Both the Washington Post and the New York Times have written stories recently pondering an overhead question. Will our experiences as a nation that has struggled through a pandemic make us nicer? Not nicey-nice, but simply nicer to one another, regardless – whether Republican or Democrat.

If we have survived the pandemic – physically, mentally, and financially – we should be grateful, right? Our experiences can teach us to be more thoughtful and less judgmental. But will we? Change that is? The experts do not think so, and neither do I. Let’s look at the experts first.

Scholars who have studied the Spanish flu, that’s the one that took place back in 1918 and 1919, have determined that people tried to forget about it as soon as possible. One writer, who lives in France, determined that people prefer remembering war. Monuments and memorials are built to honor the war dead. Novels are written about the horrors of war, but not so much about the deadly flu that occurred shortly after World War I ended.

Ok, on a personal level I heard about two incidents in the past two weeks that are anything but nice. A friend in Texas who has two sons announced on Mother’s Day that she is disowning one son. Why? He and his family have refused to be vaccinated against the coronavirus. She told her son not to come over on Mother’s Day. He apparently is one of those who does not want the government telling him what to do. No, means no – vaccines, period.

Will Mother and son forgive each other down the road? Probably, but what part of forgiveness is simply forgetting, other than the first three letters? In any event, this spat does not point to a “nice” new normal.

This could be happening across the nation. Millions are not vaccinated – 120 million to be exact. According to a Washington Post-ABC News poll, only forty-one percent of those people plan to get a vaccine. Fifty-six percent said no way. They are young, old, Republican and Democrat.

Another incident I heard about occurred in San Francisco, a very Democratic city where most residents have been vaccinated and wear masks. A friend there who is a card-carrying Democrat – she wants to die registering people to vote – is patrolling the city now that she has been vaccinated. If she sees a San Franciscan or a visitor out and about without a mask, she starts yelling at them. She doesn’t get in their face – because they’re not wearing masks – but she gets close enough to scream: “Where is your mask? Go home and put on your mask.”

Those of you who are at home most of the time, like me, have noted another phenomenon. If we watch television news, we experience another side of America. Mass shootings are epidemic. In 2021, as of March 31, there have been 126 mass shootings. Those shootings have left 148 people dead and 481 injured, including the shooters in some incidents. We do not always learn what triggered – sorry about the pun – their rage.

While I was writing this blog, another mass shooting occurred in Colorado Springs at a birthday party, where the shooter killed six including himself.

In my opinion, the Second Amendment will survive. That’s the amendment which allows us to bare arms, sorry about that pun too, for something other than vaccines. These mass shootings are a serious public health crisis.

I am no great thinker; I am simply a concerned American. I am afraid that the pandemic will make us meaner not nicer. We are pretty damn mean to each other right now.

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