This first appeared in The Havok Journal on March 23, 2020.
The world is in flux right now. The very concept of modern society is being stressed to the breaking point by the COVID-19 pandemic. For the most part, people have rushed to prove what I’ve been preaching for years: the majority of the human race is pretty decent when it comes to it. Communities have come together in a way we haven’t seen here in America since 9/11, even as the requirements of the pandemic are forcing people to stay at home.
It’s remarkable how many heartwarming stories of everyday people are floating around right now. School districts are providing free meals to students who might not otherwise have been able to eat. Finance companies, landlords, and other debt holders are doing what they can to provide relief to those who are out of work. Hell, in Italy, the 3D printing community has come together to provide vital ventilator parts for patients that might otherwise have been forced to go without, thanks to widespread shortages.
But, for every silver lining, there is a cloud. Most people have proven to be actively helpful, or at least benign, but there are some assholes who are always looking for a way to make a quick buck off their fellow man. Remember that guy who hoarded cleaning supplies and tried to sell them at outrageous prices? Surely you’ve heard or seen companies gouging the ever-loving hell out of their prices in order to force desperate people to fork over way more cash than they otherwise would.
This, ladies and gentlemen, is unacceptable. This sort of scumbagassery has always been a part of human existence. Ever since the dawn of society, there’s been a seedy underbelly willing to make a quick buck off human desperation. Today’s situation is no different.
Well, I take that back. It’s slightly different.
See, you and I have a tool that, although in its infancy compared to the total lifespan of human civilization, has had a greater impact on it than perhaps anything other single invention: the Internet. Those of you reading these words right now are doing so through technology that would have been nothing more than the wettest of dreams for a science fiction author fifty years ago. We’re connected by a global network that allows us to share cat videos, memes, and oh so much porn at literally the speed of light.
Why not put it to good use?
After all, whatever the end result of the COVID-19 outbreak is, one thing is for damn certain: society will not look the same. Right now, it’s malleable. We the people, for the first time in living memory, have the ability to make real, tangible changes to the world we live in, from the comfort of our living rooms.
Have you seen someone using the outbreak as an excuse to be a shitbag? Chances are, you have. Or if you’ve not seen it personally, you’ve heard about it. Well, let’s all get together and do something about it.
The assholes profiteering off of this crisis can only do so as long as we let them. So, let’s stop letting them. Put the word out on social media. Let everyone know what they’re doing. Once the word gets out, this carefully constructed outrage culture we’ve created over the last few years ought to do the hard part. Get enough people angry, and they’ll burn those motherfuckers to the ground.
If we all get together and agree to put forth the minimal effort necessary to make this happen, we have a chance at a real social revolution. A boogaloo, but a civilized, bloodless one. There’s no need for torches and pitchforks (yet), but when these assholes see their livelihoods dry up before their very eyes, they’ll get the picture just the same: we don’t want you, we don’t need you, and we’ll be damned if we let you profit off the suffering of others.
Kevin Wilson is a lifelong resident of North Carolina and editor of Unapologetically American. He currently serves in the North Carolina Army National Guard as an artilleryman. His hobbies include writing, drinking, drinking while writing, and yelling at kids to get off his lawn. He currently holds the record for the youngest grumpy old man in his battalion.