A Special Place In Hell

Among those covering Russian atrocities — such an insufficient word — in Ukraine is Illia Ponomarenko, defense reporter for the Kyiv Independent, who on Saturday summed up the carnage:

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Let us begin by stipulating that our healthcare system sucks in this country. We’ve socialized our police and fire departments, most of our education, even water and power in some places. But if you break your arm or have a heart attack, you’re on your own.

For a small but significant percentage of us, that was an early issue with the covid vaccines: How could they possibly be free? Nothing else like that is — never mind “vaccine hesitancy”, you don’t dare call 911 for an ambulance for fear of financial ruin.

If the point of mass vaccinations is to limit the human petri dishes that a virus can thrive and evolve in, that’s a problem. But by no means the greatest.

Malevolent stupidity is the problem.

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Let’s start with some facts. The United States is again leading the world in new Covid cases. Florida alone accounts for more than one in five new infections stateside. More broadly, vaccination rates correlate with Trump voters by county, and you can guess which direction that goes.

Oh, and hospitals everywhere are reporting that the new cases they’re seeing are almost totally among the unvaccinated.

And the National Review has decided it’s all our fault.

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You could feel the ground shifting Wednesday afternoon. Something was different. Something had changed. Wherever this was going, there was no going back.

There would be consequences. Maybe not the kind we’d like, maybe not as soon as we’d like, but consequences nevertheless. Whatever the future was going to be, it would be something else now. The future would now be something that included this in the past.

The warnings had come true. Warnings for years, decades, generations. Warnings that if you kept looking the other way, kept letting things slide, kept letting them have their heads, kept moving on, this — this! — would happen.

And then it did.

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It’s really difficult to take it all in.

Not just the 340,146 deaths. All of it.

There was a news story making the rounds that the covid toll is so high now, it’s beyond human comprehension. This has not been a problem for us. We check the numbers every day.

Time was, not so long ago, that a typical weekday might see a thousand or fifteen hundred new corpses on the books. Lately, more like three thousand. One recent day the number jumped by more than four thousand.

Not hard to comprehend at all.

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We woke up Sunday morning to learn that Donald John Trump was still alive.

214,280 other Americans were dead from the virus he has ignored and belittled, but not him. Yet.

We check this number daily, Americans dead from Covid-19. We know this number is only attributed cases, that the real number is likely much higher, but the odometer is bad enough.

It was bad enough at the end of March, fewer than four thousand Americans lost, when we publicly wished that Donald John Trump would die.

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