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The Case For Shaming Those Who Spread Covid-19

Posted by Jerry De Luca on Monday, April 5, 2021


Some people disagree with the act of publicly shaming those that do not follow basic pandemic protocols and put others at risk. Simple acts like not getting vaccinated, not wearing a mask or joining large gatherings can and in many cases do infect people with Covid-19 or any of its variants. Those against shaming want people to take the precautions to not make others sick or dead. But if they refuse to take the precautions, they should not be shamed because their feelings will be hurt.

Journalist and author Kendra Pierre-Louis, writing for SLATE, delves into what exactly shame is and the role that it serves in society:

“Shame is both an experience and an emotion. If you cheated on a test and were caught and publicly named in front of your class, that experience would be shame. If you also felt bad about it, that emotion would be shame. The goal of shame—the experience—is not just to trigger shame, the emotion. It also serves to send a signal to your classmates that cheating is unacceptable behavior. Shaming isn’t merely about making people feel bad. Shame can serve as a cautionary tale for others. Shame is inherently public and social. The point of shame is to hold the individual to the group’s standard; it is how we create and uphold social norms.”

Fearing shame is positive and necessary:

“Shame is a form of punishment that derives its power from depriving you of your reputation within the society. When people make blanket proclamations that we should not shame others, what they are criticizing, in a very real way, is the ability to make and enforce social norms. Many of those articles that warn against shame, do so partly because COVID-19 is a systemic issue, but that ignores that even in the presence of clear rules and support, it still requires a bit of social cohesion. And as one popular meme points out: Wearing a mask is a lot like wearing pants. The reason many of us don’t stroll through town naked is not because we fear arrest but because we fear shame. It’s worth noting that early research suggests that collectivist cultures—which tend to employ shame more—better contained COVID early on in their outbreaks.”

Major corporations have been shamed into ending destructive policies:

“But shame can work positively as a tool with people or institutions when the thing happening is in fact worth punishing, and other forms of punishment are out of reach. ‘In a system where formal punishment is missing, that’s when the informal mechanisms step in,’ said Jennifer Jacquet, author of Is Shame Necessary? New Uses for an Old Tool.  You can, for example, incarcerate an individual but, ‘it’s much more difficult, almost impossible to take away the liberty of an entire group like Exxon Mobil,’ she explained. You can, however, shame them as climate activists do when they troll oil companies on Twitter. It’s about depriving these companies of their social license and reputation, which, in many cases, they worked very hard to create.”

Delinquent individuals have been publicly shamed with desirable results:

“On the individual level, Jacquet points to the policies that some states have publishing the names of residents who owe a significant sum in taxes—in California, it’s more than $100,000; in Wisconsin, it’s $5,000, but those on the top 100 list all currently owe more than $400,000—as another example of effective shaming. The late taxpayers are given letters in advance of the list’s publication, with the expectation that the threat of exposure will get them to pony up (or at least enter into a repayment plan)—and it often does. When the state of Wisconsin launched its tax-shaming program in 2006, it thought it would recoup $1.5 million in its first year of operation; the state ultimately collected 15 times that in that year.”

What part of “You could have killed me” don’t people understand?:

“A Texas Monthly article about the plight of wedding photographers during COVID included one wedding that went on with the festivities despite the fact that the groom tested positive for COVID the day before. When the photographer, reasonably upset, decides to leave early, the bridal party accuses her of overreacting and questions what the big deal is. The photographer responds, ‘Because I could die. My children could die! Just so she could have her wedding day?’ The photographer, who has asthma, eventually tested positive. The bridal party didn’t even apologize for infecting her. Perhaps it would have been good if they had been a little more ashamed of what they were doing.”


In Support of Shame                            https://slate.com/technology/2021/04/shame-covid-restrictions-psychology-public-health.html


Many that survive the coronavirus go through ten days of hell, some will have a lifetime of crippling health consequences, and as of this writing there soon will be 600,000 deaths in the US.

First there is the economic question. Those that spread the virus are delaying things returning to normal, prolonging devastating financial hardship for millions. But there is the more important issue. How exactly is the real possibility of causing someone’s death okay? It’s called Negligent Homicide. If you text while driving and kill someone you are guilty of Negligent Homicide. If you are not an electrician and you repair faulty wiring in your home to save a little money, and that wiring causes a fire and someone dies, the person is guilty of Negligent Homicide. It is not first degree murder, obviously, but it is a lesser form of murder. One of the Ten Commandments is “Thou shalt not murder”. For some people, avoiding the inconvenience of wearing a mask and other precautions is more important than potentially murdering a fellow human being. The tears on Judgment Day will fill the Atlantic.    


How Speaking Creates Droplets That May Spread COVID-19 https://physics.aps.org/articles/v13/157

Latest Coronavirus News - Articles Written by Scientists https://theconversation.com/us/covid-19

CDC COVID-19 Websites  https://www.cdc.gov/library/researchguides/2019novelcoronavirus/websites.html

We accept that drunk driving endangers others. Why is not wearing a mask different?                                                https://www.kansascity.com/opinion/readers-opinion/guest-commentary/article247143929.html

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Photo:  https://us.clipdealer.com/photo/media/A:45532749 

Jerry De Luca is a Christian freelance writer who loves perusing dozens of interesting and informative publications. When he finds any useful info he summarizes it, taking the main points, and creates a (hopefully) helpful blog post.


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