The odds are against good youthful decisions in America
By Matthew Fraser, Opinions Editor
Some things are inevitable. You can’t stop natural disasters, you can’t stop people from acting in their own misguided self-interests, and apparently, you can’t stop stupid. The problem is quantifying stupid. Some instances occur as a byproduct of ignorance and a lack of worldly knowledge, others are the result of inadequate foresight. Spring break partiers in the face of a global pandemic is certainly a case of stupid, but of what kind? Is it just short sighted, hormone-fueled hedonistic pursuit? Is it the bulletproof self-confidence of youth with the self-assured notion that whatever happens always happens only to others?
Some people have been quick to castigate the teens and young adults who flocked to the beaches of Florida for some R&R as ignorant and selfish, yet simultaneously, the very President of the United States of America has come forward and said that the country must go back to work and that basically, that we cannot socially distance forever. If the US president thinks we should not socially distance (which could potentially save the lives of those who are immunocompromised) for the sake of General Motors, how bad is it that your cousin goes drinking—and ergo keeps local businesses alive? Some observers think they were driven by ignorance and an unhealthy disregard for human life, yet as the death toll piled up in China and Italy, Trump originally called coronavirus “their new hoax” in reference to the democrats.
It’s no small wonder that the average American teen, fresh out of school, released from being under mom and dad’s thumb, would rush to the beaches for cheap tequila and good ole’ fashioned premarital copulation. By the age of 21, most people have seen an endless reel of Hollywood movies depicting the joys of spring break and its drunken fervor; why are we surprised that bat-stew memes bolstered the adolescent ego into disregarding a garbled public safety plea?
Speaking of the PSA, the few individuals who could (in the context of America) get a clear enough message out changed their stories daily. One day was stock up and hunker down, then the next day’s news was to relax and not hoard. On Tuesday everyone needed masks and gloves, by Thursday the healthy were to leave them alone and the unwell were to stay put and try to do without. All the while our dear friend Trump was here to wave his hands and say that it was all under control. Can we really blame the 23-year-old, nursing a recent heartbreak and the cancellation of the March Madness tournament, for turning to Miami beach’s entertainment?
In the presidential haste to keep the numbers low and avoid panic, New Orleans was not urged to cancel Mardi Gras. The result? Hundreds of new cases directly tied to the massive street party and a nationwide ballooning of COVID-19 cases. Poor Brady Sluder, the spring breaker who infamously said, “If I get corona, I get corona. At the end of the day, I’m not going to let it stop me from partying…. We’re just out here having a good time. Whatever happens, happens.” He never stood a chance with his pale face, splotchy red cheeks, backwards hat and all; he was doomed to poor judgement and cursed to fall into youthful exuberance’s vile clutches. By the time the best advice was given to him, he had witnessed months of misinformation and hours of disregard sewn into his brain. He and every other American who can’t stand to sit still at home played a game without knowing the rules and with the dices loaded against them.
It was not simple ignorance that brought these spring breakers to the beach. It was a mixture of too little information sent too late to those unprepared to understand its gravity. People can only make good decisions with good information; with the White House divided between giving money to everyone and ending social distancing practices, good information is in critically short supply.