Written by: Kerry Gorton Evans
If someone told you to jump off a bridge would you do it? If they said it was really fun and no rocks were in sight, would you just leap off the edge? Of course not. You would think about it. You would check out the facts, you would decide for yourself if it was a good idea or not.
What if a whole group of people told you to just jump. They yelled at you that they had tried it and it was fine. Just do it. Again, hopefully, you would think about this. You would not make your decision based upon what someone else was telling you. Because the decision to make this jump could have dire consequences, you would think before you leapt. If you were, however, told that a lion was running at you from behind and you needed to get away right now, you might jump, right? You would be afraid. So you might just do something without thinking.
So what is happening in the world right now? Someone is shouting about a “lion”. That someone is the media. They are coming at you from every angle. They are seeping through the airways of your TV, they are on your phone, and from countless social media outlets….their screams can be heard. You are in danger. Your loved ones are in danger. The “lion”, this time, is COVID-19.
Unlike in that moment standing on the edge of the bridge with a lion lunging towards you, you have some time to reflect. You have time to ask questions. You have time to read. Talk. Think. You can look at this situation yourself and see what you make of it.
So why don’t you? What is stopping you from asking for the proof. The science. The facts behind the screams that are telling you that you are not safe unless you stay away from people. That you must wear masks even if you feel completely well. That people who are completely well actually have a deadly disease that they are passing around. That well people need tests. That you should be afraid of the tiny possibility of dying of this virus when we all know exactly who is vulnerable to it and at risk of complications (even though 99.88% of everyone in every country has survived). That your children or grandchildren can not go to school because they and their teachers are in grave danger of sickness and death. That the cases are rising exponentially everyday, everywhere, and that every death that is occurring is due to one virus. Don’t you want to know why? How? How can this be? The consequences of following these mandates, restrictions and orders are also quite dire, are they not? Don’t you deserve to know why these screams continue relentlessly? Don’t you want to know so that you can decide what to do?
Children everywhere are losing the chance to be happy and free with their friends, to interact and to grow socially and emotionally. To learn in a normal and human way with other people. Together. In collaboration. In community; as life is meant to be lived. All humans need to be living in community. We are deeply social creatures. Don’t you want to know if all of this needs to be happening in this way?
What if you became aware that following these mandates is leading to myriad other dire, indeed catastrophic, consequences? Would you ask for proof then? Would you demand to see the science that would explain what we are doing? Wouldn’t you like to see if there were any other options? If there could be a better way to proceed?
As a consequence of these lockdowns and restrictions that have been imposed all over the world…..in Ireland, rape and child sex abuse has doubled over the past several months. In South Africa, calls to the helpline for gender-based violence are up by 60% since the start of the lockdowns. In California, 37 children attempted suicide in September, the highest month ever recorded. In Japan, suicide claimed more lives than Covid-19 did over the entire year. One in every four children is living with anxiety and depression right now. 31% more kids than usual in Massachusetts, USA are waiting for beds in psychiatric wards. The world has seen a year’s worth of suicide attempts in the past month. In people ages 25-44, excess death has risen by 26% but only 3% can be attributed to Covid-19 as an illness. 150 MILLION additional children have been plunged into poverty because of lockdowns bringing the total to 1.2 BILLION people living on this planet in poverty. TWICE as many children will die this year, (2 million CHILDREN!, not adults), of TB and other illnesses because the vaccines they need can’t be delivered to them. 93 million children in 26 countries are missing their lifesaving measles vaccines. Millions upon millions are without jobs and one BILLION students around the world have had their education disrupted. Is anyone screaming this news?
This year the suffering of humanity is much, MUCH worse than last year because of our world’s response to one virus. COVID-19. Billions of nameless, faceless, countless, people are suffering, starving and dying due to the world’s response to this virus and these numbers far exceed those sickened or dying of COVID-19. Is it worth it? Should we keep going on this path when we can see the utter destruction of human lives that is happening all around us? How could anyone even ask such questions? There is no comparison here. None. We have to find a different path.
I am deeply opposed to the world’s course of action and beg you to consider your stance on this humanitarian crisis.
Would you rather simply say nothing, comply with orders and perpetuate this travesty in order to protect yourself when you are at very low risk of dying, as most people are, than stand up and say, “Enough! This is enough! Too many people have died and are suffering needlessly due to our world’s response to a virus that is killing a tiny, tiny percentage of those infected. Enough! There MUST be a better way!” And there is…
Kerry Gorton Evans is an artist, educator, writer and the mother of two boys. She holds an Ed.M from Harvard’s School of Education and an MAT from Tufts University/Boston’s Museum School of Fine Arts. Kerry lives in the Boston area with her family and is deeply troubled by the impact that the lockdowns are having on the health and well-being of children and young people around the world.