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The Lockean Project

Maybe it was a mistake to shutdown

Maybe it was a mistake to shutdown — Monterey Herald, May 10, 2020

I have a different take on the Herald’s “Rushing to reopen economy is a mistake” editorial. According to the CDC estimates, Americans suffered almost 100,000 deaths during the Hong Kong Flu of 1968-69.  That was the same time period when over 400,000 people attended the Woodstock musical concert. There was no lockdown, no closures of parks, sporting events, restaurants, theaters or Broadway shows. So, why now?

More importantly, the editorial argued that “lost lives can never be recovered.” True. But at what cost? For decades, I have proposed a way to save 38,000 lives per year. I never get any takers. What is my idea? Well, since on the average 38,000 people die every year in car crashes, we can save all of them by mandating a 5-mile per hour speed limit. That comes to over 450,000 lives saved every decade. But critics contend that my proposal is too inconvenient, too costly.

This proves that we do put a cost on saving human life. Currently, we refuse to drive 5-mph, but it is okay to destroy the American economy and spend trillions of dollars to save, so far, fewer lives than those lost to the Hong Kong Flu. Why?

–Lawrence Samuels, Carmel