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Perspectives are commentaries produced by and for WNIJ listeners, from a panel of regular contributors and guests. You're invited to comment on or respond to any Perspective on our Facebook page or through Twitter (@wnijnews), in keeping with our Discussion Policy. If you would like to submit your own Perspective for consideration, send us a script that will run about 90 seconds when read -- that's about 250 words -- and email it to NPR@niu.edu, with "Perspectives" in the subject line.

Perspective: The Blame

Steven Cornfield

So, I’m angry, I’m worn out and I’m frustrated. I’m sick of the anti-vaccers. I’m sick of the willfully unmasked. I’m sick of the conspiracy perpetuators. My empathy is gone for those who get COVID because they’ve ignored all medical evidence in favor of some divined ignorance. If this country is supposed to be all about hard accountability and taking responsibility for one’s choices, then the rule for this pandemic is simple: If you don’t get vaccinated and flout medical advice to stay safe and you get COVID, you forego your right to hospitalization.

I thought all of this until a Friday night a few weeks ago.

That’s when I learned a former colleague of mine had died from COVID. He was not vaccinated. He was 51. He was one of the happiest and friendliest people I’ve ever known.

I was again reminded that the nuances of complex situations, such as this pandemic don’t have a chance against misinformation.

We make choices based on the information in front of us. There is responsible information and then there is information designed to keep the anger machine fed.

Hard line stances are often great in theory, but they don’t hold up so well in the face of humanity. A good person became desperately sick and needed help, got that help and died anyway.

There is a mountain of blame to go around as to why this pandemic has been allowed to kill 700,000 Americans. But, putting all the blame on the victims is the wrong place to start.