Letter: Civility and liberty should prevail, not more divisiveness and COVID fears

Dear Editor,

I would not be writing in response to the [Dec. 9 article “Open house sees crowds despite COVID-19” by Ben Irwin] had Mr. Irwin not included a repeat of the main point of Matt Barcellos’ letter to the editor which was published on the same day.

That article actually brought back that on-going internal heaviness of divisiveness amongst community; a very heartbreaking thing to witness.

I felt Mr. Barcellos expressed himself and his dismay of many of the community in a very articulate manner as he strongly addressed the Exeter Chamber of Commerce, City of Exeter, and the Exeter Police Department.

I do not challenge the existence and possible life-threatening dangers of the virus as several members of my family have been diagnosed of said virus; as well as a dear friend of my brother recently died via complications associated with COVID-19. I am not a denier of this virus.

COVID-19 has become a great divider of people…and a strong divider it is, as that article reflects the heartfelt comments of an Exeter merchant, Sally Brewer, as she expresses in a humble way the great importance of the community to understand how much these business owners need customers for them to sustain through such a time. And yet you hear twice the rebuke of Mr. Barcellos chastising those of the community who came out and participated in such an event and the lack of law enforcement or city leadership taking action.

I can appreciate all those who are in full agreement with Mr. Barcellos, however, COVID-19 has become a more deadly virus than just the medical aspect. I am 66 years old, and I have never witnessed what this virus is successfully accomplishing as it goes far beyond the medical:

1. It is suffocating people’s lives trying to save their businesses for the life and well-being of their families; 2. It has crippled the lives of our children in their social need of development and better learning and need for interpersonal activities; 3. It isolates communities and is strongly trying to isolate families and their gatherings, bringing increase of depression; 4. It has affected even the precious choice of worshiping together with other believers, silencing voices of singing praise; 5. It has stolen the joys of experiencing a wedding day to be shared with family and friends…or the birth of a newborn; 6. It has contributed to the devastation of increase in suicide of both young and old; 7. It has contributed to increase of child and spousal abuse, along with increase of drug and alcohol abuse; 8. It has taken away the personal need to pay respects to the family of the death of a loved one by attending a memorial service or funeral; 9. It has turned one against another as the emotion of fear has gripped so many; and being a strong emotion of heart, mind, and spirit, its effect upon people is changing society; and 10. It has robbed us of our rights and freedoms, step-by-step, extending the goalpost at every juncture.

COVID-19 is a death sentence to society as we’ve known it…and the eruption of anti-civility is becoming the new norm. So yes, COVID-19 is a virus that brings illness to some and death to some, but just consider for a moment, if we were continually force-fed throughout the day of deaths of other illnesses/diseases, we would realize that death is part of living.

If we’re not careful and balance life, it will be an even greater death to society as a whole; because living is much more than merely breathing.

Maybe those who are gripped with fear should remain at home in order to feel safe and secure, and not fret with worry or rise in anger about what others are doing or not doing.

I hurt of the bigger picture that affects us all!

Patsy K. Miller

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