• Carmen Milligan

One more reason I am a misanthrope

If there is one thing Americans are no good at, it's going without. If there is even a HINT of a shortage, we panic. When COVID hit and places started closing, what is the one thing Americans could not have enough of? Toilet paper. Instant shortage of toilet paper. It was weeks before stores were able to keep a stock of the stuff. Sadly, our local big-box store had to keep their toilet paper supply in the back, getting it when needed for the elderly.

Then, around the same time, there was a rumor that the processing plant for Mountain Dew was going to stop operation for a time because there weren't enough workers. What did we see at stores? Carts full of Mountain Dew. It was the damndest thing. I saw this with my own eyes at the Dollar General.

And now, there is a disruption of service, a TEMPORARY disruption of service, at a gasoline pipeline. Ransomware interfered with production at Colonial Pipeline, which provides petrol to the southeast United States. There is NO GAS SHORTAGE.

Well, strike that. There is now.

Thanks, morons.

You can't sit your ass at home for a few days while cybersecurity experts fix this? Hell, we've been in lockdown for over a year. Just chill.

But NOOOOOOOOOO. Here is a woman putting gasoline in a PLASTIC BAG. I mean, what the actual hell? Okay, fill up your car while you are there, but filling up a plastic bag? I really hope this woman is identified and arrested. For what? Being a hoarder, for one. Being a freaking moron, for another.

Americans' fear turned a small interruption in supply into a major crisis.

The US Consumer Product Safety Commission tweeted "Do not fill plastic bags with gasoline". Hey, do you think the people actually doing this are 1) following your Twitter account, 2) can even read, and 3) are going to follow your advice? Hell, no. But if it makes you feel better...tweet away. You may also want to remind people not to eat Tide pods. Because, you know. They are probably the same people.

There is no one alive and driving (I hope) who lived through the Great Depression. So, why is there so much panic about not having everything we want, as much as we want, at our fingertips? Are we that spoiled rotten? Are we that control-freakish?

Yes, we are. We are a nation with the mentality of a teenager. We think we are adults and know it all, but we are not even close. Look at our government, for heavens sake, two battling factions with no room for compromise. Like the Hatfields and McCoys, or a playground game of Red Rover. Americans who panic buy are acting on emotion and not logic. Once they are on the emotional end of decision making, anxiety rises, fear develops, spreads like a ... well, like a pandemic ... and the herd mentality kicks in. If everyone else is stocking up, you'd be crazy not to do the same. At this point, you've stopped listening to facts, and you are feasting on rumors, gossip, and conjecture. Then you start spreading it. Yep. Just like teenagers. At this point, you are so out of control that you are filling a plastic bag with gasoline.

On another note, the government should learn a lesson here, and make sure that private suppliers of infrastructure-necessary-goods maintain a basic level of security, both physical and cyber. We don't want the government to take over the private interests, just hold them accountable to a basic set of standards.

In the meantime, I am going to sit my ass at home, watching "The Falcon and the Winter Soldier". It's less violent.

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