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To the Stay At Home Protesters

Written by Briton Ryle
Posted April 20, 2020

I’m watching videos of people gathering at state capitols around the U.S. to protest the restrictions that have been put in place to fight the spread of the coronavirus. 

“I’d rather take my chances,” they say.

“My freedom is being taken away,” they lament.

“I’d rather die on my feet than live on my knees,” they boast. 

 The theme is consistent: I, I, I, me, me, me, BLAH BLAH BLAH…

If that’s you, if you think you shouldn’t restrict your movements, if you think you shouldn’t be asked to take an economic hit to stem the tide of this virus… well to you I say: 

THIS ISN’T ABOUT YOU!

It’s about my parents, 81 and 92 years old, still living in their dream house, on a marsh where the St. Marys River hits the ocean, between Cumberland Island and Amelia Island…

They put everything they had into the shell of a waterfront community clubhouse that went bankrupt during the savings and loan crisis. They lived in a small trailer while they rehabbed it. Years of neglect, broken windows, and graffiti — my stepdad waded waist-deep into the muck that filled the inlined pool and dug it out with a shovel. 

Sure, breaking your back to dig out a pool is a first world problem. But this is America. My stepdad served in the Navy, from a tiny West Virginia mining town to the cigar stub chewing chief on an aircraft carrier to his retirement dream on the Georgia-Florida border. 

He never saw action, though he was on board the Forrestal when the Hobson captain stupidly pulled in front of the massive carrier and got rammed in what was the worst non-combat Navy disaster to date.

He and my mom have earned everything they have. They deserve whatever peaceful years they have left.

And you can’t settle down, see the big picture, and stay home for a couple of months so that the most vulnerable Americans can stay healthy? 

Do you not have parents or grandparents you care about? 

You’ve opened your mouth and left no doubt: You’re an idiot. Now you’ve earned the right to go home and shut up, you complete selfish asshole. 

 41,155 and counting…

I’m sure math is a bit of a challenge for you. So I’ll try to keep this simple. There have been 772, 655 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. So far, 70,859 people have recovered. 41,155 have died. 

So if you get COVID-19, your odds are about 2:1 that you will survive if you happen to catch the virus. 

Now, the average American household is 2.6 people. Since no American has been counted as a fraction of a person since the Three-Fifths Compromise was rendered null and void by secession (a move I’m sure you states' rights folks still applaud today), let’s just round up to three…

Look around you. Pick one. Yourself? Your wife? Your kid? 

COVID-19 gets in your house, one of y’all isn’t gonna make it. So go ahead, you know the odds, pick which one is going to die. 

Fortunately, the vast majority of Americans have open hearts and open minds and can accommodate a little empathy and compassion. They probably have at least a no-adversarial relationship with numbers, too. So they can easily comprehend that while the odds of contracting the virus are slim, they aren’t zero. 

Which means any American can get it and die from it. 

And the rate at which the numbers compound is scary. Globally, infections hit 1 million on April 2. Two weeks later, on April 15, it was 2 million. 

I know, the concept of compounding involves long-term thinking and is probably a challenge to the “coronavirus hoax” crowd. I’ll try to dumb it down for you: We go back to work two weeks too early, and that U.S. death toll goes from 41,155 to 82,130. 

Don’t worry, I’ll get you a bowl of water so you can wash the blood from your hands…

You Mad, Bro?

It’s sad that Americans are protesting a stay-at-home order that’s designed to keep our most vulnerable people safe (and alive) when there are legitimate things to be pissed off about…

Like airlines spending 10 years of profits on share buybacks and then crying for bailouts after two weeks of recession

Like private equity firms getting in line for SBA loans that should be going to non-predatory businesses that can’t access the capital markets for funds…

Like Harvard getting $9 million in government coronavirus aid…

Like instead of going on a first-come, first-served basis, Wells Fargo awarded funds to the biggest requests, thereby taking more money in fees…

The bottom line is this: There’s a lot of things to protest right now. Being asked to make a sacrifice that will keep Americans from dying isn’t one of them. 

Until next time,

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Briton Ryle

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A 21-year veteran of the newsletter business, Briton Ryle is the editor of The Wealth Advisory income stock newsletter, with a focus on top-quality dividend growth stocks and REITs. Briton also manages the Real Income Trader advisory service, where his readers take regular cash payouts using a low-risk covered call option strategy. He also contributes a weekly column to the Wealth Daily e-letter. To learn more about Briton, click here.

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