WHEN DOING NOTHING AT ALL IS RIGHT
Sometimes, the old adage, and even instructions during Marine Corps Officer Training, is not correct. In that adage, the words: “any decision is better than no decision,” means that sometimes standing pat or taking no action is almost always wrong, and that’s simply not true in life, as we face its changing nature day in and day out.
In 140 cities throughout the United States, as this is written, rioting and looting are taking place on a national scale never seen before or even envisioned before. That is not the case in Lake Geneva or any of the other communities around Geneva Lake. There is plenty of activity that could have motivated law enforcement to encounter the public and force, arrest, ticket or otherwise negatively apply the new emergency laws to ‘create more order.’ The word ‘order’ being interpreted by police officers on the scene while also subject to their own interpretations of citywide emergency measures. No arrests have been made for failing to wear masks or failing to honor restrictions set in place to keep human beings further apart (commonly referred to as social distancing these days).
Lake Geneva’s mayor, Charlene Klein, David Nord, the city’s administrator, Chief Mike Rasmussen of the police department and the alderpersons who have the ultimate decision-making power have joined together to remain quiet, peaceful, accepting, kindly and unaggressive, while so much of the country burns, either physically or psychologically. On Monday there was a rumor spread that indicated there would be rioting and looting in downtown Lake Geneva at three in the afternoon. That rumor was added to by people saying the merchants were all closing their stores at two p.m. to avoid the looming danger. There was no looming danger and there was no riot or even any large gathering of citizens or visitors. The city enforcement officials heard the rumor and did not send out units of either local or distantly called in any other police. No National Guard until were put on standby.
The City of Lake Geneva is choosing to sit this one out by being ready, but also by being very understanding about the special nature of this pandemic, and the country’s reaction to it. These are not ‘regular’ times’ and these are not the times’ when ‘regular’ decisions can be made that might cause even greater problems than the ones everyone is facing. The ‘knee-jerk’ decision to basically close the country down economically is proving to have been an extremely costly one and one that is demonstrating graphically that the United States, given the power to communicate with almost every citizen every minute of every day and night, can upend the very nature of the complex social structure we all refer to as civilization.
The Geneva Shore Report has been running one opinion/editorial article after another for the past two and a half months about this same subject. The two hospitals in Walworth County, Lakeland, and Mercy, are in an extreme financial crisis right now or staring at it, in the near future because whom among us would have figured that by declaring the hospital’s emergency centers for those contracting the virus that everyone else with other medical problems would simply avoid going to hospitals whatsoever? Mercy is at 20 percent occupancy and Lakeland is worse. A widespread belief system was altered about getting medical care, and it was done overnight without any understanding of what might be the consequences. Mayor Klein is correct. David Nord is right. Mike Rasmussen is doing a great job. The city council is lurking everywhere but taking no action, and they are right, correct, and doing a great job too. We wait, all of us living in and around Lake Geneva. We wait and we do so, making no decision at all.