This is one whacky situation we find ourselves in, isn’t it?

Most of us have never been in a situation like this before, so it’s understandable that some of us don’t know how to act. But there are some disturbing things going on. Yes, I’m talking about the hoarding.

Shameful Behavior

The effort to stockpile massive amounts of toilet paper makes no sense. I’ve thought about it over several days, and this is the best I can come up with: “This is the worst pandemic in human history. Any second now, the government is going to order everyone to stay inside for a month. If I so much as peek my head out a window, there will be a soldier there with orders to shoot on sight, and he’ll blow my head off. So I need to get at least 4 months’ worth of everything while I’m still allowed to step outside.”

Why Is This Happening?

I blame it 100% on the US national media.

The days of news outlets merely reporting the news are long gone. What we have now are organizations with an ax to grind and an agenda to push. Each employee of ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, PBS, and the 100 largest newspapers publish content based on their own political affiliation. Every registered Democrat in these organizations is only focused on discrediting the President. Every registered Republican in these organizations is only focused on defending the President. The truth means nothing to any of them.

The organizations also care nothing about the truth, but what they want is money. They want ratings on their broadcast platforms and clicks on their websites. All of them, regardless of political affiliation, are using the “hype brings viewers” play (they’ve abandoned the rest of the playbook). So everyone is exaggerating everything they report, trying to create the most hype so they can get the most viewers and clicks. Again, the truth is not part of the equation.

What is the result? On one hand, you have people in an absolute panic, turning the entire country into an episode of Doomsday Preppers. On the other hand, you have people who think the entire thing is ridiculously overblown and are not taking any warning seriously, nor are they altering their routines in any way. The news reporters love it. They push their hysteria, and in many cases, make the story about themselves as much as the virus. The company executives also love it, as ad revenue increases with each hysteria-laden story.

So what should we do?

Watch Those Motives

It’s fine to keep up with the latest news, but keep your eyes wide open. Keep in mind that while there is information to be gleaned, there is an ulterior motive. Whatever source you are viewing is more interested in getting you to watch and click more frequently than they are in ensuring you have good information. Yes, there may be the occasional person who really cares about the people at large. But generally, it’s all about ratings and clicks. None of them have any problem compromising integrity to get them. 

Be Kind to People

I went grocery shopping this morning, as I do every Saturday morning. There were signs, as well as a verbal announcement, of purchasing limits. They have responded to the hoarding by limiting each customer to 1 item in those popular sections. Despite that, I saw someone at check-out pushing a cart completely full of toilet paper and paper towels. But a store employee informed her of the limit and began emptying her cart. She protested, of course. The store employee didn’t want to hear it. I just don’t understand why people would behave this way. There are lots of people in this neighborhood. Everyone needs these products. Why would you take so much more than you need and leave others with nothing?

When I had finished my shopping, I headed to the self-checkout. As I unloaded my cart onto the conveyor belt, the man behind me sought my attention. It took a minute for me to understand him – he spoke broken English. He was asking if he could go in front of me because he only had a bottle of kitchen cleaner to buy. I said sure, go ahead. He was finished checking out before I had finished unloading my cart, so everybody wins.

I had gone on a Facebook rant this week about all the hoarding, calling the people selfish jerks. One of my fellow church members commented, “Let’s shower kindness.” OK, Miriam, I hear you. I tried to do better today.

Make Sure You Laugh

I spend some time every day watching something funny. I follow “Hold My Beer” and “Dumb Drunk People” on Twitter, and I watch news bloopers on YouTube. This helps me stay grounded. Getting a good amount of laughter each day does a great job of reducing anxiety. Recognize the news platform’s motivation, be kind to others, and laugh. Do these things every day, and you’ll have an easier time surviving this madness.