Challenges around the world for governments
Apart from the global pandemic that has many governments scrambling to cope with a virus that has brought so many powerful nations to their knees, there are other horrific incidents such as refugee camp fires, massive flooding and military confrontations in regions that leave thousands homeless and children who will never know the joy of playing in an atmosphere of peace and freedom.
As if that was not enough to keep the world media busy around the clock, America is continuing to have major gun issues, with 18 people killed in separate shootings over a two-week period. Such gun tragedies have been tearing at the heart of the nation for years. With each incident, the cry goes out for tighter gun control and strict background checks to prevent powerful weapons usually found on battlefields from falling into the hands of the wrong people.
It has been a hot issue between those seeking a safer country and those who adamantly object to any policy they feel threatens their right to bear arms, which is stipulated by the Second Amendment of the US Constitution. There is such a divisive stance in the nation on guns that administration after administration has yet to implement a rock-solid gun control law that would change what is akin to a Gunsmoke syndrome, which leaves the door open for shootings with loss of innocent lives.
In recent years, the National Rifle Association, according to experts, gave financial support to politicians who stayed away from drafting any policy that would mean greater gun control. However, after a litany of tragic shootings that even involved children in school, massive criticism was levelled at the NRA to a point where the once-powerful gun advocate is now said to be nearly bankrupt.
The new administration under President Joe Biden is locked in a battle to gain the upper hand with the pandemic and sort out a potentially crippling economic situation — and it is now confronted with the gun issue and demands that action must be taken to have gun control that makes the nation a safer place.
Of course, that cry follows each mass shooting, but when the smoke clears, the momentum seems to follow. Will it happen again this time?
Meanwhile, governments globally have already implemented lockdowns after being hit with another wave of the pandemic, placing a strain on medical facilities that have been pushed to the limit in treating a steady rise in cases. Making things worse is that governments have also been wrestling with people who object to lockdowns and curfews, or the wearing of masks — and that creates the potential for the virus to run wild with targets everywhere.
An example of this was in Florida recently when college students went on the rampage without masks or observing physical distancing during their spring break. They were so disruptive that a Swat team was summoned to bring things under control. The Sunshine State had little choice but to implement lockdowns, even though it was a blow to the business sector.
Officials know that vaccinations are vital, but co-operation from the public in obeying health guidelines is equally as important.
Here in Bermuda, most have been trying to follow government and health guidelines to eradicate the virus from our shores, but as in other countries, there are always those who resent restrictions of any type, and that hinders progress in gaining control.
An upswing in cases on the island has been attributed to some people ignoring guidelines and holding parties with no regard to virus spread. That should be discouraged by every Bermudian who cares about the health of our island community.
The past year has been stressful for the Government, health officials, the business sector, our education department and, indeed, sporting activity. However, there are no short cuts back to what we consider as normalcy. Any further setbacks in tackling the virus, which is a threat to all, will only prolong the effort to get Bermuda up and running for the benefit of all.
We are not alone. Some governments have far more to contend with while battling a pandemic, an invisible enemy that has changed lifestyles around the world. We should take advantage of our small population and work closer together in following health guidelines to bring about victory. It will not be easy, but co-operation will be the key in how long it takes to get there.
Hopefully, one day our young students who are challenged by something not easily understood, will be able to look back on this period with pride and in the knowledge that everything was done to keep them safe during a difficult time for all Bermudians.