I had a post from 12 years ago where I commented:
Sheila has a good post on “The Appeal of Fascism” that you should go read. It’s no secret that Trump has authoritarian tendencies and that it’s not a small number of his supporters regard this as a feature rather than a bug. So, what the hell is going on? It’s too easy to dismiss Trumpists (not that Sheila is doing this) as goose-stepping Nazi wannabes. Sure, there are some out there. Charlottesville showed us that. But if that’s the answer, we might as well just pack up the American experiment and get ready to start shooting at each other. If nearly half of your fellow countrymen are simply monsters, then you’re just biding time until the Apocalypse.
So, I don’t think most Trump supporters are monsters. But I’m also tired of trying to understand them. As Sheila observes:
Pious exhortations to more progressive Americans to “reach out” to those resisting social change aren’t just embarrassingly one-sided (no one is telling the alt-right to try to understand those dark-skinned or Jewish or Muslim “libruls”); they also have a distressing tendency to be either naive or condescending– or both.
There’s no shortage of Trump supporters who dismiss liberals as un-American. Maybe I’m looking in the wrong places, but I don’t see a lot of energy being spent by Trump supporters or really anyone else trying to understand Clinton or Biden supporters. Endless New York Times safaris to talk to white people in the diners of the great Flyover were not balanced by right-wing publications talking to black people in the city trying to understand why they didn’t like Trump.
I don’t know what “the answer” is in terms of trying to get the division to be less pervasive and less vitriolic. But I suspect it has something to do with having people from opposite sides of the divide interact more frequently in ways that don’t involve discussing their differences. I suppose having people steer clear of unhappy discussions is a very Midwestern approach, but I just don’t see any upside in trying to resolve these kinds of differences. You can’t reason someone out of a position he didn’t reason himself into. These cultural biases we have internalized which divide us from fellow citizens who have internalized other cultural biases aren’t, by and large, views that we’ve come to objectively. Some of them may well stand up to objective analysis as being good positions to hold, but an unconscious, emotional attachment probably came first – subsequently clothed with logical defenses. If I’m right, the question ends up being to ask what we can do together that doesn’t involve discussing our differences and which will allow us to interact in a way that teaches us that we’re part of the same community and that very few of us are monsters.
Basically, the more alien we regard “the Other” as being, the bigger problems we’re going to have. We have to reduce the alienation somehow.
None of us has the god-like perspective it would take to be truly objective. All of our experiences are mediated by the time & place in which we find ourselves, our past experiences, the gaps in our knowledge, and any number of other biasing factors. Media we consume add their biases — and it’s not necessarily a left or right thing. Even journalists striving to be objective are limited by space – and so have to pick & choose which facts or what context to mention and what to leave out. Newspapers and broadcasts are going to include deviations from the norm (man-bites-dog rather than dog-bites-man) and stories that increase subscriptions or get viewers to watch through the commercials.
But, it seems to me (and this is hardly original) that social media algorithms are taking this to the next level. I hesitate to make too much of this because I think there is a tendency to fear-monger new trends and technologies. (“Comic books are ruining our youth!”) The algorithms are designed to increase engagement between the user and the social media platform. Emotional experiences are more likely to keep the user’s attention and negative emotions are easier to provoke than positive ones. So, you end up with a lot of people spending a lot of time viewing the world through the lens of a platform designed to keep you coming back by making you anxious or angry.
I hesitate to make this analogy because I don’t have any expertise in mental health, but I wonder if this is in some ways analogous to what an individual goes through with depression. Their brain filters out the positive and emphasizes the negative, creating a feeling of hopelessness. Only in this case, it’s not brain chemistry doing the filtering but a business that wants you paying attention long enough to show you ads.
For what it’s worth, I’ve spent the last few days without checking Twitter or Facebook where I’m typically a heavy user. I’m not ready to judge that as good or bad, but it’s different. This will auto-post to Twitter. I don’t think I have anything similar set up on Facebook.
(General programming note for blog readers in the West Lafayette school district: I am a candidate in the 2020 West Lafayette School Board election. There are four seats open, and I would like to fill one of them. If you want to know more about my campaign, ask questions, request a yard sign, please go to https://masson.us/schoolboard.)
Back in 2015, I offered some thoughts on Being a Concerned Citizen. I’m re-posting that below. It’s my sense that there is much more interest in government now than there was back then. A couple of notes: I sort of specifically excluded civil rights protesters from this post. That strikes me as a different dynamic than what I have in mind here which is less about dramatic change and more about participating in the day-to-day grind of government to keep it responsive to the citizenry.
Also, this is not about how the government committee should respond to the citizens. That’s perhaps a post for a different day — but generally speaking, the board should be communicative and responsive to the citizens on the one hand while, on the other hand, recognizing that the folks who show up at meetings or are most active at any given time don’t necessarily speak for the public at large. On the openness front, adherence to the Open Door Law and the Access to Public Records Act is very important. Their existence acts as a sort of “panopticon,” improving the behavior of governmental bodies even when those tools aren’t actually used. (The Panopticon was a prison designed by Jeremy Bentham on the principle that you could improve prisoner behavior with fewer guards if the prisoner knew the guard could be watching at any time — with the ODL and APRA, the citizen could take an interest at any time.)
That said, you want the meetings to be open without turning them into something like government-by-YouTube-comment-section. I slag on YouTube, but I’m not even sure if those comment sections are that bad anymore. Newspaper comment sections are maybe a better example. If you’ve been online some place that allows unrestricted commenting on controversial issues, you know what I mean. The loudest and most aggrieved commenters can tend to dominate the conversation driving out more casual participants who don’t need that kind of hassle. A committee meeting, like a Presidential debate, needs rules and a moderator willing to enforce them; otherwise, you might find that nothing useful is being accomplished.
But that’s on the government side. Like I said, this post was intended for the citizen side. Here is what I posted back in 2015:
Between my former work as a legislative services attorney and my current work as a county attorney with some other government work thrown into the mix at various times, I’ve attended a lot of public meetings over the past 20 years. Like, really a lot.
Mostly these are not attended by citizens and, for the most part, that’s more or less ok. There is a lot of routine business handled at these meetings by people who are good at what they do. For example, there’s really no call for John Q. Public to get involved with every drainage plan that gets reviewed when some business wants to add some parking spaces.
But, occasionally a concerned citizen or citizens will undertake a kind of watchdog role by trying to come to every meeting of a government body or all of those concerning a particular topic. This can be beneficial and is certainly the citizen’s right. But, I’ve noticed that some approaches are more effective than others. The overarching rule for being an effective concerned citizen is “don’t be a jerk.” Now, I’m not talking here about people whose goal is to effect far reaching social change — civil rights protesters and the like. That’s above my pay grade, and I’m not presuming to know what is effective in that context. I’m thinking more of the good government watchdog who wants to ensure that local decision makers are acting in the best interest of the public.
The most effective people I’ve seen working for that purpose are clear, direct, brief, and polite. They aren’t shy about speaking up when they don’t like things, but they don’t belabor the point, don’t wander off topic, recognize the scope and limits of the public body they’re attending, and avoid delusions of grandeur or that they’re participating in some Manichean battle of good versus evil (where their place on the side of good is never in doubt.)
These individuals attend consistently and, often, don’t have to speak at the meeting. Before and after the meeting, they are willing and able to chat with the public officials in an amiable, friendly way, even if they disagree with the official’s politics. They don’t always get their way. In fact, very often they don’t get their way. But, public policy isn’t binary — decisions are usually made on a spectrum. And, in the back of the public official’s mind — it seems to me — the official will maybe ratchet the policy a notch or two just because they know they’ll get some push back from a citizen whose position they’ve come to know, understand, and perhaps respect to some degree — even if the official will never necessarily agree with that position or frame of reference.
Contrast this with the belligerent bellyacher. This person will never be happy and often treats the public official rudely. Public life being what it is, officials usually don’t have thin skin and can usually endure some level of criticism. But, if you don’t agree with the citizen’s policy views in the first place, the citizen is never going to be happy, and he or she treats you badly besides, what is the upside to accommodating such a person? Mostly the rest of the public will find such a person off-putting in any case, so there is likely no political downside to simply enduring that citizen as best you can and then moving ahead without regard to that individual’s preferences.
Somewhere in the middle you have the people who are not up to speed on the purpose or the powers of the public body in question. A technical planning board isn’t going to be able to do much when the plans are in order but a citizen complains, not about the plans, but — for example — the social value of the business submitting the plan. Or maybe they’ll complain about federal policy to the local government officials. Or they’ll spend a great deal of time talking about extraneous information. These citizens aren’t disagreeable. In fact, they often present very sympathetic stories. But, ultimately, they are not effective because, even where the policymaker wants to help them, there is simply nothing that can be done for them in the context of whatever the public body is designed to consider.
So, be nice, be persistent, be focused, and be concise. Government generally benefits when citizens can engage with it in this fashion.
As we’re mired in our day-to-day parochial concerns, it’s nice to be reminded that there are people still working on the big picture stuff. Jennifer Chu, writing in SciTech Daily, has an article about likely discovery of life on Venus. Scientists have discovered phosphine in a layer of Venus’ atmosphere that is the most likely to be hospitable to life. Venus has an atmosphere that is really, really inhospitable to life — extreme heat and acidic clouds, among other things. But, there is apparently a pocket between 48 and 60 kilometers above the surface, where temperatures range from 30 to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. If Venus had life, that’s where it would be expected. And that’s where they’ve detected phosphine.
Phosphine is associated with biological processes, and scientists have ruled out the non-biological explanations they can think of. So, their conclusion is that this probably means there is life of some kind in the air of the (relatively) hospitable pocket of Venus.
Extra-terrestrial life seems like kind of a big find. Josh Claybourn, writing on Facebook, suggested that the two most likely scenarios for the origin of that life would be that something hitched a ride on the Soviet probes to Venus 50 years ago or that something ejected from earth (debris from a meteor strike) made its way to Venus.
Two hundred and forty-six years ago:
The Declaration of Independence of the Thirteen Colonies
In CONGRESS, July 4, 1776
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.
Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain [George III] is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us, in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by the Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.
This post is for a pretty specific audience, but anyone should feel free to read and donate! I’m currently serving as the Board President for the West Lafayette Schools Education Foundation. The Foundation is a non-profit with a mission to support the West Lafayette Community School Corporation.
The short version: the Foundation’s normal annual fundraiser was derailed by COVID-19 and we are having a virtual fundraiser this Thursday at 7 p.m. (You will be able to watch here). You can donate here. Several teachers will compete in games for your amusement while we ask you to donate money to support the Foundation and, by extension, the West Lafayette Schools.
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Posted by West Lafayette Schools Education Foundation on Monday, June 22, 2020
The longer version:
The West Lafayette Schools Education Foundation supports the West Lafayette Community School Corporation. Specifically this has involved things like securing funding for the backpack program which helps with food security for school families with a need; funding the teacher grant program which helps teachers acquire supplies and services for initiatives they think will help in the classroom; administering student scholarships; raising money to help with the school’s capital projects (like the James R. Guy Education Wing); and coordinating alumni outreach.
A lot of the money that comes into the Foundation is restricted — donors have given money with the stipulation that it only be used for a particular scholarship or to fund bricks and mortar, etc.. That’s great, and we welcome those donations, but the Foundation needs a certain amount of unrestricted money to fund its general operations. Normally, we have an annual dinner and an auction that serves as our primary fundraiser, but this year COVID-19 upended that plan for us like it did for so many others. So, we are trying a virtual fundraiser. The structure is like a game show with some of our teachers going head-to-head. The contestants are:
Lane Custer – WL Intermediate School PE, WL Varsity track & field coach
Jane Schott – WL High School Science, Varsity girls’ basketball coach
Randy Studt – WL High School German/Educator of the Year!
Morgan Asay – WL Intermediate School Art
Alivia Brooks – WL High School Assistant Band Director
Rick Roseman – WL Elementary PE teacher, WL Varsity Wrestling Coach & Football Defensive Coordinator
We have lined up some matching funds for donations, hence the name “Double Your Dollars.”
You can watch here beginning at 7:00 p.m. until approximately 8 p.m. on Thursday, June 25: https://www.doubleyourdollars.live/episodes-2020-wlsef
You can donate here: https://secure.givelively.org/donate/west-lafayette-schools-eductionfoundation-inc/double-your-dollars-live-2020. I believe you can also donate by texting REDDEVILPRIDE to 44-321. Early donations or donations during the event are both welcome.
And, a final pitch to separate you, dear reader, from your money for a good cause. I’m not a tax professional — so check with one of your choice — but the CARES Act passed by Congress in response to COVID-19 made donations more attractive from a tax perspective. The 2017 tax legislation made it so that most people take the standard deduction rather than itemizing. The new CARES Act legislation lets you take an “above the line” deduction of $300 (or $600 for married, filing jointly) for charitable donations.
So, particularly if you live in West Lafayette, please watch & please donate.
The New York Times has a remarkable front page commemorating the 100,000 who have died over the last 3 months during our struggle with COVID-19. It has the names of 1,000 of them (1% of the total) with a brief description of something personal about them — lest they be simply dismissed as a statistic. This milestone coming during Memorial Day Weekend, I observed that COVID-19 was on pace to be more lethal than any of our wars. Apparently not appreciating the significance of the phrase “on pace,” someone objected that World War II cost us 400,000 American lives.
But the second objection was more interesting. He complained that it wasn’t fair to compare COVID-19 deaths to “lives lost fighting for freedoms.” Memorial Day is to honor the men and women who died while in the military service. We don’t limit our respect to just those men and women whose lives were lost fighting for freedom. They did not get to pick and choose which wars or missions they were assigned to. We don’t honor the World War II death because he was fighting against Hitler while ignoring the casualties of the North Russia Intervention or Private Harry Eagan who died in the Sheepeater Indian War.
So should we minimize COVID-19 deaths as compared to military deaths? As I recall, we put 9/11 deaths way up on a pedestal with rhetoric comparable to how we’ve traditionally spoken of military deaths. The coronavirus is an enemy that has curtailed our freedom, damaged our economy, and generally threatened the citizens of the United States far more seriously than Iraq, North Vietnam, or North Korea ever could have. It’s implacable, insidious, and everywhere. Currently we’re losing a 9/11 worth of Americans every 2 or 3 days.
Is there a principled reason for valuing military deaths (including those who died during missions that did not protect freedom in any appreciable way) over COVID-19 deaths? Valuing 9/11 deaths over COVID-19 deaths? Or is it more of a reflexive cultural habit?
So, Gov. Holcomb announced that Indiana is starting to re-open on Monday. Restaurants will be allowed to open at 50% capacity, non-essential retail as well. Remote work is recommended at offices but not required. Religious services won’t have any particular restrictions, and social gatherings are to be limited to 25 and fewer. Old people (65 and older) are to remain sheltered and hope they can somehow stay away from all of the newly infected people in their community. The roll out is very muddled and abrupt. Announced on a Friday afternoon to begin on Monday morning. Social distancing requirements are still supposed to be observed, but that’s somewhat lost in the mix. If the idea is that — for example social gatherings of 25 people or office work is permitted but only if a distance of 6 feet apart is maintained, that message was absolutely lost.
It feels a little like we’re giving up on the war against COVID-19. We closed down, hoping we could beat it, but our will is weak, so we’re giving up. The metrics look quite a bit worse than when we shut down. With lock down precautions in place, 600 Hoosiers per day are being reported infected and 50 – 60 per day are dying. Opening up, the rate of spread will get worse. About the only metric I heard the Governor mention is that we’ll probably have enough hospital beds for the sick and dying. Best of luck paying your hospital bill. What did we gain by the lock down? If this was the plan, seems like we could’ve just gone ahead and gotten sick 6 weeks ago.
That’s how it feels anyway. Maybe — hopefully — I’m completely wrong. There are definitely plenty of people who sincerely want to do the right thing but are hurting economically. Their anxiety is only increased by the lack of a clear mission and lack of a clear strategy. Nationally, the message is bipolar at best. The federal government pushed it down to the states. At the state level, it felt like Gov. Holcomb was doing his best; but now he’s punting.
Maybe he doesn’t see any way to hold out politically or financially while we get mass testing and contact tracing infrastructure in place, let alone develop a vaccine or medical treatments. It’s that much harder to hold out without support from the national government. One day, President Sundowner is agreeing that this is a big problem; the next he’s urging insurrection. We’re all in the same pool, so citizens can be excused if they wonder what good it does for them to be in the no-peeing section when their neighbors a few states over are in the I.P. Freely section. The pressure to cut and run will become even worse as this turns into a locality-by-locality patchwork. I don’t have any military training, but I’m enough of a student of history to know that the mass fatalities usually happen when an army breaks. Every-man-for-himself is a recipe for slaughter. The force that remains cohesive even when the battle looks futile is probably going to fare better.
As for the mutton-heads (or virus sympathizers, if you prefer) who don’t care about any of the nerdy, scientific mumbo jumbo about rates of transmission, case fatality rates, incident fatality rates, etc. — they just want to get back to free refills and professional haircuts — these are your fellow citizens who would sell you out to the enemy in a war. “I don’t care if an air raid does come, who are you to tell me to turn out my lights? Black out orders violate my rights! Enemy bombers probably won’t hit *my* house – I’m willing to take the chance, never mind the increased risk to my neighbors. Besides, the Germans aren’t so bad. Actually, some of the houses they’re bombing were a little rickety anyway.”
And, finally, a note about that J.D. Salinger quote I like to dredge up from time to time: “The mark of the immature man is that he wants to die nobly for a cause, while the mark of the mature man is that he wants to live humbly for one.” It seems to me that the sorts of people who like to talk a lot about toughness, maybe dying heroically for a cause, standing up to their oppressors aren’t willing to do the less glorious, emotionally difficult work of living humbly in a way that helps us ultimately in this struggle that is claiming more lives than most of our wars. At 67,000 American lives lost in the last two months, the body count is already past what we lost in Vietnam, Korea, the Spanish American War, the Mexican American War, the War of 1812, and the American Revolution. We’re approaching 50% of the U.S. Army combat deaths in the Civil War and have surpassed that number for World War 1. We’re averaging a 9/11 every two days. So, this struggle is every bit as costly as our other fights in terms of lives lost. Are war deaths more valuable than other deaths?
Like I said, I’d love to be wrong. But, at the moment, it feels like surrender.
I don’t pretend to know how to evaluate the COVID-19 projections provided by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, but it seems reasonably legitimate (affiliated with the University of Washington and Gates Foundation), and it seems to acknowledge a lot of room for error. For Indiana, it projects a peak on April 14 with a need on that date for 10,458 beds; 1,582 ICU beds; and 854 ventilators. Right now, we’d be short 1,973 beds and 706 ICU beds. (The 706 ICU beds represents a 44% shortage!) It projects 110 deaths per day in Indiana at that point. Projected out to August 4, we’d be looking at 2,440 deaths in the state total.
I’m not sure if you can do a simple pro rata calculation to see what it will look like locally, but figuring Tippecanoe County as 190,000 of Indiana’s 6.7 million, that would be about 2.8% of the total. If that’s correct, on April 14, we’ll need 293 hospital beds, 44 ICU beds, and 24 ventilators, and we’ll experience 3 deaths. Through August 4, our share of the total deaths would be 68.
For my part, we’ve got our office mostly working remotely. I’ve commandeered the basement storage room and am incredibly comfortable churning out legal work from the bowels of my house. I think the kids are hanging in there, though this amount of screen time probably isn’t the best thing in the world. We’ve made them come along for family dog walks which has actually been quite nice for me. They’re funny kids! Amy has worked from home for years. Having us around probably cramps her style a little bit, but all-in-all we’re incredibly fortunate compared to what many others are going through.
Nothing to do but keep grinding through this – keep kicking at the darkness ’til it bleeds daylight.
(Updated March 31, 2020: Maybe our efforts are having an effect, maybe the model changed for other reasons, but as of March 31, 2020, the model is showing peak resource use on April 18, 2020. The need has been lowered to 3,024 beds (8,485 available), 460 ICU beds (706 available), and 30 deaths on that date. Projected out to August 4, 2020, it shows 906 deaths. That’s a substantial improvement.)