An Open Plea To the Cove Community
A Failure to Change our Behavior Threatens to Bring Great Sorrow to Our Community
November 25, 2020
The second is this: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these.
– Mark 12:31
This is the time of year when we like to remind ourselves what we're thankful for. It is a good time of year to take stock and reflect – How did my year go? Am I doing what I want to be doing? What I should be doing?
Part of any attempt to do a little reflection should include considering how we're treating others. One of the great characteristics of Morrisons Cove is that it is a community of people who look out for each other.
But when I look around the Cove lately, I see that a lot of us don't seem to care much about each other.
We've been warned
The words of wisdom are there, first told to us by our parents or grandparents. At first they were just words, but as we got older and wiser, we learned the truth that stood behind the words.
The parable of the ant and the grasshopper.
Once bitten, twice shy.
Forewarned is forearmed.
You don't have to tell me twice.
Failing to plan is planning to fail.
These all mean essentially the same thing: Take a serious warning seriously.
We've been warned.
The first shot across our bow was the death in June of Robert "Bob" Detwiler of New Enterprise. Detwiler, 84, died from complications of COVID-19 on Saturday, June 27, 2020, at Conemaugh Memorial Hospital.
The Cove community was stunned by Detwiler's death. It seemed impossible that a man with so much life and energy could be taken so abruptly.
Yet it was true.
We were warned again in late July, when Mark Taylor, Blair County public safety director, reported to the county commissioners via teleconference that "complacency among the public remains a danger and that the disease is not defeated."
Still, many in the Cove community had not been personally affected by the disease and it was clear that many chose not to wear masks. Some local businesses tried to enforce mask rules to protect their workers and the customers who did wear masks. But in too many instances, a simple request resulted only in angry confrontation with no change in the number of people walking through the door without a mask on.
A third warning shot has been fired.
Doug and Jo Ellen Mingle, owners of Roaring Spring True Value Department Store, have been following all mandates and recommendations while remaining open, but in spite of their best efforts, they both tested positive for COVID-19, forcing them to close the store for 10 days.
In both Blair and Bedford counties, the number of cases and the number of deaths is rising rapidly.
This disease is not made up, the disease did not disappear on Nov. 4 and this virus is beginning to strike home right here in the Cove.
Protecting each other
My mask protects you and yours protects me. We're protecting each other. You can be carrying and spreading this disease without knowing it. A mask makes transmission of the disease less likely. These are facts.
That this simple act has become politicized is beyond reason. The virus does not care if you are bravely standing up for what you believe to be right. If it infects your body, you are likely to get sick. You run the risk of a serious illness, of having permanent damage done to your body, and the possibility of death.
Certainly, there is a time and a place to stand up for your individual rights. This country is founded on such rights and insisting upon them is appropriate, in the right time and place.
But there are times when individual rights should become secondary to community rights. We form communities because we are stronger together. Communities help us achieve more than we can individually. So there are times when the community should be our primary concern.
This is one of those times.
During World War II, German planes would fly over the English Channel to drop bombs on Great Britain. Many of those raids were at night, so towns and cities learned to turn off the streetlights and keep their house lights hidden. Releasing even a small sliver of light would give the German bombers a target.
I don't know if the blacking out of homes was a law or not and I didn't look it up because it doesn't matter. Everyone made sure that they carefully blacked out the light from their homes because the failure do so was to bring bombs down on the entire neighborhood. Everyone knew this and everyone responded. Blacking out your home kept your family safe and your neighbor's family safe. Your blackout curtains protected others.
That's how we need to be thinking: How to protect ourselves and our neighbors.
My last argument
Those don't like the lockdowns and the restrictions and the impositions on personal freedoms should be the ones leading by example in wearing masks and distancing themselves. We can't return to normal until we get this under control. Let's cooperate and get this over and done with.
As of Monday afternoon, Nov. 23, 9,870 people in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania have died because they got infected with the coronavirus. To put that in perspective, that would be like wiping out the entire populations of Martinsburg, Roaring Spring, Williamsburg, New Enterprise, Claysburg and Woodbury borough.
Members of the Cove, we have been warned and warned again. If we don't change our ways, it likely that we are going to be very, very sorry.
Please join me in wearing a mask, standing six feet apart when possible, washing our hands often and not going out unless it's necessary.
Please respect a business that is trying to protect its employees by having customers wear masks.
Please take the warnings seriously.
Thank you for reading. And for masking up.