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Opinion Blogs
One Man's Opinion: Un-SLAMMING the Brakes
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One Man's Opinion: Un-SLAMMING the Brakes

One Man's Opinion: Un-SLAMMING the Brakes
Photo Credit: Robert Giroux/Getty Images
NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 11, 2001: (SEPTEMBER 11 RETROSPECTIVE) Smoke pours from the twin towers of the World Trade Center after they were hit by two hijacked airliners in a terrorist attack September 11, 2001 in New York City. (Photo by Robert Giroux/Getty Images)

One Man's Opinion: Un-SLAMMING the Brakes

Business travel demands had me back on the road, almost immediately in the aftermath of 9/11. I got back on jets as I had been spending 3-5 days a week at that point for a few years. It didn't seem odd to me, but I could see the shell shock all around me, starting with the empty seats, on one early flight there were only two passengers. Those times were more than a bit eerie, but as we came out of the shock, America pulled together.

If you have ever had the misfortune of being in a serious car crash or a major near wreck, you are likely familiar with the unplanned but necessary chain reactions which follow SLAMMING on your breaks. Being tossed around inside your car, hopefully seat-belted, potential deployment of your airbags, shocks to your system, potential bruising and injury. The trauma to your body can last for weeks. 

Welcome to an economy and new reality after multiple massive brake slams. Retailers and restaurant groups, as well as smaller local businesses, temporarily or permanently shutting their doors. Delta, the world's largest airline, on the verge of shut down, after multiple years of record profits and the recent hiring of thousands of new pilots and flight crew. 

And there will be more. The ripples are just starting to hit. Sales and income taxes not collected and declining will impact everything from local school systems to state budgets. The federal government can spend and run up deficits, but your local municipality, county or state doesn't have that option. Services will have to be curtailed, and lay-offs there too will likely follow. 

This isn't a speed bump, it's more like that car crash. BUT, if we work through this together, and help each other...not expecting our respective governments to handle every hiccup and detail we can and will get through this. 

Some practical pointers for your day to day living, as lock-downs, shelter at home orders and even curfews expand in hot spots and metropolitan areas. 

Limit your trips to grocery stores and shopping for essentials - Essential retailers and restaurants with limited service remain open. Don't make daily trips out, make a list and plan... You can carry 2-3 prepared meals home, or load up a cart (without hoarding) at the Big Box retailers or your local grocer. Most chains are giving their first hour of business to the most fragile populations. So shop later in the day and perhaps learn the stores where you shop more closely, cutting down on your 'shopping time' and getting quickly in and back out. 

Baris-Ozer/Getty Images/iStockphoto
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One Man's Opinion: Un-SLAMMING the Brakes

Photo Credit: Baris-Ozer/Getty Images/iStockphoto

Recreate outside when possible, but in good weather and keep your distance - Sunshine is a natural disinfectant. Carry along a spray bottle of hand sanitizer or vinegar (and water), or lemon juice...all astringents which reportedly pierce the shell of the cell of the virus, killing it on contact. To prevent going stir crazy, bike, hike, walk or run and if you do so in pairs or with family, keep the safe social distance with the folks you encounter, and leave the longer visits and catch-up chats with folks you encounter for online or later. 

Use this downtime constructively - Write actual letters, not just Emails and start with closest family and friends. Offer them your love, friendship and words of prayer and support. Start spring cleaning and garage/attic purging. List items for sale on eBay. Make the most of this new 'free-time'...don't just binge processed foods and Netflix. 

Go through your pantry extensively - This is the time to go through your fridge and pantry, tossing out all expired date goods. COVID19 may be a current threat, but you may wish for that if you give yourself botulism, ptomaine or another bacterial food poisoning by consuming long expired consumer packaged goods. 

In the best of cases, normalcy begins to return in weeks, not months. Those brakes will cause a deep economic trough. Help is on the way, but we will all need to do some heavy lifting on our own. Spread out consumption of your resources, support as best you can local businesses. Practice your faith of choice to keep your spirits up and be an exemplar for others. And like Kate Smith sang in Good Bless America, hopefully before too long we will all be back in “…Our home, sweet home,” with our nation much more as we remember it…pre-wreck and two weeks ago. Stay safe and healthy.

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News

  • A driver died Wednesday morning after a fiery crash on a major interstate in Gwinnett County.  The wreck, which involved a truck and an SUV, happened about 1:30 a.m. on I-85 at Jimmy Carter Boulevard, according to Gwinnett police spokeswoman Cpl. Michele Pihera.  The truck caught fire after the crash, and the driver had to be freed from the vehicle, she said.  A Gwinnett police officer was injured during the rescue effort, according to Pihera. The officer was checked out at a hospital and released.  One driver died on the way to a hospital, Pihera said. It is not clear which vehicle that person was driving.  No details were released about the second driver’s condition. — Return HERE for updates from The Atlanta Journal Constitution.
  • About a dozen American flags lined up along Highland Avenue in Needham, Massachusetts, were burned Sunday night, according to police. A dozen more flags set on the lawn near the Exchange Club were found destroyed, as well. According to Boston's WFXT, the flags have been replaced, but the ashes are still scattered along the grass. Longtime Needham resident Kate Robey takes it upon herself to display the flags on Highland Avenue during patriotic holidays. “I think everyone appreciates it. I get honks and the waves and the thank-yous,” Robey said. But this Fourth of July, the flags were vandalized. “Dedicated people put those out and to just burn them, nonchalantly, it’s hurtful,” said Robey. Robey has been working with the Needham VFW for years and has displayed these flags in the same parts of town for almost a decade now. She’s left confused and wondering why someone would vandalize her tribute to the men and women serving the country. “As I do the flags, I think of the veterans, fallen brave and the military out there fighting for our freedom now,” Robey said. Robey said about a dozen were burned by Memorial Park and a dozen more burned outside the Needham Exchange Club, where 500 flags were displayed in lieu of a scaled-back Fourth of July celebration. “I don’t mind what you do at your home with your flags, but these flags are my flags, and it’s vandalism,” Robey said. Police said they are investigating the matter.
  • An off-duty volunteer firefighter is being hailed as a hero after he rescued a baby while swimming at a Maryland park. According to the Oakland Volunteer Fire Department, one of its firefighters, Andrew Bell, heard a woman shouting as he swam at Swallow Falls State Park while off-duty on Sunday.  'A raft that a baby was floating on had flipped over, and the baby went into the water,' the department said in a Facebook post Sunday night.  Bell quickly found the baby, who was unconscious, the Cumberland Times-News reported.  'I put it on its back for a little bit, and it started spitting up water,' Bell told the newspaper.  Bell then called an ambulance and continued to help the family until rescue crews arrived, the Fire Department said. 'It's our understanding that baby is going to be OK,' the department added. 'Great work, FF Bell!' Bell told the Times-News that even though he wasn't on duty at the time of the incident, it was still his 'duty to go help that person.' Read more here or here.
  • A PGA golf pro, his son and two stepchildren were among the eight people who died in an Idaho plane crash Sunday, multiple news outlets are reporting. According to KPTV, Oregon residents Sean Fredrickson, 48; son Hayden Fredrickson, 16; and stepchildren Sofia Olsen, 15, and Quinn Olsen, 11, were killed Sunday afternoon when two planes collided over Idaho's Lake Coeur d'Alene and crashed into the water. All eight people on the two planes died in the crash, the Kootenai County Sheriff's Office said. Authorities said Fredrickson and the children were on board a Brooks Seaplane piloted by 58-year-old Neil Lunt of Liberty Lake, Washington, at the time of the crash, the Spokesman-Review reported. Officials have not yet identified a sixth person who also was on the plane.  The two people on board the other plane, a Cessna TU206G, have been identified, but officials have not publicly released their names, according to the Spokesman-Review. As of Tuesday, crews were still working to recover two of the victims' bodies, the newspaper reported.  Fredrickson, the Pacific Northwest PGA Section's president, was the lead golf pro at Oregon's Oswego Lake Country Club, according to KPTV. “A rising star in the PGA, Sean led the Section through an unprecedented time, first taking the reins a year early as president and then leading us wisely through this pandemic,” the Pacific Northwest PGA Section said in a statement. “We are all better because of Sean’s leadership over the past 12 years.” Fredrickson's wife, April Fredrickson, told KPTV that her family 'died while they were on an adventure.' 'I think that, at the end of the day, they died doing what they loved, which was ... being together,' she told the news outlet. Read more here or here.
  • Atlanta police released a new video and surveillance photos from its investigation into the shooting death of an 8-year-old girl. According to WSB-TV, Secoriea Turner was shot while riding in a car with her mother and her mother’s friend Saturday night. The shooting happened not far from the Wendy’s on University Avenue where Rayshard Brooks was shot and killed last month. The video shows a Black man in a white shirt carrying what police identified as an AR-15. Lt. Pete Malecki said the man is just one of several persons of interest in the case. “We believe there is going to be a minimum of three additional suspects. That number could change,” he said. “Although we have a lot of work to identify the remaining individuals responsible, this is the first step in that process.” Investigators said Secoriea Turner was riding in a Jeep Cherokee Saturday night when the driver tried to get around a “makeshift roadblock that was manned by numerous armed individuals.” Malecki said they believe the shots were fired intentionally into the car. At a news conference Sunday, Secoriea Turner’s mother said that her daughter died in her arms. “She was only 8 years old,” Charmaine Turner said. “She would have been on Tik Tok dancing on her phone, just got done eating. We understand the frustration of Rayshard Brooks. We didn’t have anything to do with that. We’re innocent. My baby didn’t mean no harm.” Secoriya Williamson, Secoriea Turner’s father, also spoke out. “They say Black lives matter,” Williamson said. “You killed your own this time. You killed a child. She didn’t do nothing to nobody.” Police are offering a $20,000 reward for information leading to Secoriea Turner’s killers. Information can be submitted anonymously to the Crime Stoppers Atlanta tip line at 404-577-TIPS (8477) or online at www.StopCrimeATL.com. Hours following the police news conference, the community came together for a prayer vigil.
  • A 17-month-old girl was killed in a pit bull attack last weekend during a Fourth of July party in Illinois, authorities said. According to The Associated Press and WMAQ-TV, the incident occurred early Sunday in the bedroom of a family friend's Joliet home. The toddler, whose parents were attending a holiday gathering at the residence, was in a playpen when two dogs somehow got free from the basement, Joliet police said. After hearing a noise, the homeowner went into the bedroom to find one of the two dogs – both pit bull mixes – biting the child, the AP reported. Authorities responded to the home shortly before 1:30 a.m. and found the girl unresponsive with multiple bite wounds, the Herald-News reported. Crews rushed her to a nearby hospital, where she later died. The Will County Coroner's Office identified the victim as Marley Wilander, according to the newspaper. The dog is now in the custody of Animal Control, police said.  – The Associated Press contributed to this report.