If we have any hope of making 2021 better than 2020, we must remind ourselves that our actions affect others, and that actions that harm others have consequences.
We also must understand that while many people will act responsibly toward others, there are those that won’t unless there is retribution for wrong-doing.
We can start with that underage drinking sleepover party in Wilton over the Christmas holiday. The party was held at the home of two local school teachers and involved at least 50 current and former Glens Falls school students, according to health and school officials.
One of the attendees had covid, a circumstance that has since led to 17 others at the party getting the virus and forcing Glens Falls schools to switch to remote education for at least the next two weeks.
That’s not all. The district averted a potential spread to other schools by pausing athletic events and pulling its cross-country ski team from a regional tournament.
On top of that, Warren County, where most of the party-goers live, is experiencing a spike in cases. On New Year’s Day, Glens Falls Hospital doubled its number of hospitalizations. Doubled. In one day.
It’s pretty sad in this day and age when the underage drinking party is second most offensive thing that was done here.
But when the world is dealing with a deadly disease for almost a year, and you do something as dangerous and reckless as hosting a large party, then sobering statistics and stern warnings don’t matter to you.
There have to be consequences.
One parent is calling for the teachers to be fired, or at least suspended for a year.
“What are we to do? Two-thousand-plus children affected by a senseless act of stupidity,” the parent told The Post-Star in calling for a parent protest on Monday.
It’s unlikely the teachers union would allow such a punishment. But then, if the district doesn’t take a stand on something of this magnitude, what’s to stop the one?
The state and county should also act, by imposing heavy fines, license suspensions and even jail time when necessary.
Remember Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s executive order limiting gatherings to 10 people? And remember those county sheriffs, including Saratoga County’s sheriff, who refused to enforce the order for Thanksgiving, declaring they had more important things to do?
Seems a little short-sighted now in retrospect, doesn’t it. At the very least, police need to enforce a law they presumably do agree with, the one prohibiting gatherings in which underage drinking is taking place.
But this is just one instance out of many around the country where people are being dangerously irresponsible with this virus.
In early December, the Whitestone Republican Club downstate hosted a party made famous on social media by a video of unmasked participants dancing in a conga line. One attendee has since been hospitalized. We can’t know who else got sick or died, or any other consequences of that gathering.
On New Year’s Eve, the president’s family hosted a large party at Mar-a-Lago in which unmasked guests danced to the stylings of Vanilla Ice. (Yes, apparently he’s still alive.)
Throughout Florida, California and other states where covid cases are overwhelming hospitals, New Year’s Eve celebrations went on as if nothing was happening. It’s insane.
For a while, we relied on people being responsible for themselves and others to curb the spread of the disease. That’s clearly not going as intended.
If you’re promoting the spread of this disease through your own defiant attitude, then you’re risking lives, disrupting your community and overburdening our hospitals and their ability to treat the sick and injured.
If we can’t stop the stupidity on our own, there need to be greater consequences for our actions.