CAULDRON BOIL CAULDRON BUBBLE
Essentially, Lake Geneva is shut down. With the exception of filling stations, construction work, liquor stores, and the big box operations, life inside the city is basically dead, except on the weekends. Weekends are a different matter altogether. Last weekend the town was full. Cars were parked up and down Wrigley Drive, Cook Street, Broad, Main, and even Geneva Street. People filled them, eating away in their parking spots, mostly on Wrigley, taking in the “drive-in movie” effect of being able to gaze out over Geneva Lake and watch the fishermen in boats offshore, the rise of the Rivera Pier Complex and its redevelopment, the birds, the other people walking by, usually with dogs, and more.
The parks were closed, Flat Iron and Library Park, but the police tapes were lowered and crossed by hundreds of people, sitting on park benches and anywhere else someone’s bottom could find to occupy. The police were on hand, but wisely kept the peace and gently replaced yellow tape here and there but took no action against either violator of the park closure rule or social distancing. Once again, the police conduct in the community is all about keeping the peace and also attempting to tamp down as much of the opposed positions this virus has created. The parks will remain closed but there will be no tickets issued or arrests made unless things get out of hand. “Out of hand” will be defined by the police, of course, but I think everyone living in Lake Geneva and visiting it have come to find the judgment of this department something to admire.
The two opposing forces have become defined as those who support strict rules to keep the town closed, and the state around it, and those who support opening up the city for business again. Health is the issue for one side, primarily, and the economy is the issue for the other. Which danger is the greatest and how should the dangers of both events be handled? The city council did not take up the issue of what is being represented by what is happening in the “closed” parks. Civil disobedience is a very difficult issue to handle since the forces that might oppose it (in this case the police) are very small in number compared to the population in general. There are no more than ten Lake Geneva police officers on duty during the weekends in the city. The town this last weekend was packed with a few thousand. Do the math. If the people do not want to be controlled, even for their own good (in the people’s definition) then the police are helpless to oppose them, unless many more officers are brought in. The result of civil disturbance across America, through history and today, is one of the fairly peaceful events, conduct, and demonstrations. The civil disturbance does not have to go in that direction, however, and we see the result of wise police policies being applied in Lake Geneva because of consideration of other directions such disobedience can follow, particularly if it is met with violence on the part of police or military.
What can happen, and it is not uncommon in other countries not so bound together in tradition or law, is called an insurrection. Insurrections lead to revolutions. Both of those words come steeped in blood. The virus has not finished increasing in numbers and the economic effects of the shutdown have just begun to be felt. It is incumbent upon all citizens to remain as calm and peaceful as possible, even if confronted with road or other kinds of rage that is going to become more pronounced. Things are stirring.
Everyone must adapt and remain caring and flexible in attitude and conduct.