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Shell Shocked: The price of isolation

By Staff | Aug 11, 2020

Art Stevens

What crime did I commit to be placed in isolation? Why is food being left outside my front door? Why can’t I go out to the yard to exercise with my fellow inmates?

At prisons throughout the country, being placed in isolation is considered an extreme punishment. It’s meant for those who flout the law, carry out violent acts and have a total disregard for law and order. Being placed in isolation is a many centuries old policy.

So why am I in isolation? What heinous crime did I commit to warrant such an extreme punishment? The answer, my friend, isn’t written in the wind. It’s written in the genetic makeup of a virus gone rogue.

I am alone most of the time these days. I live in fear. Should I wander out of my isolation cell I could die. Literally. That’s why I and millions of fellow isolationists endure isolation. It’s the only way to survive.

Many mass murderers are placed permanently in isolation cells because of the fear that they would inflict harm on other prisoners or that other prisoners would inflict harm on them. These murderers are merciless, sadistic and incorrigible. And so is the coronavirus. Unfortunately, unlike those mass murderers who are caught and placed behind bars permanently, the coronavirus never went on trial. It should have. Any sane jury would have found it guilty of first-degree murder.

But the virus got away. It laughed at the human race because it knew that it couldn’t be contained and placed somewhere where it couldn’t harm us. We allowed it to wander the earth and instead of the virus living in isolation we are.

And even though the clear thinking people around us take whatever steps we’re told to in order to survive, others out there ignore those steps completely. They congregate publicly without masks and social distancing. They quickly catch the virus and spread it to others. And people die. And yet they continue to spread the virus.

I take no chances. I stay at home, wear a mask, wash my hands, social distance, use sanitizers, use disinfectants and play by the rules. I may not like it as a normal way of living, but I can deal with isolation. Look at the positives. I’m not wearing an orange jumpsuit. I’m not confined to a five-by-five cell. I can actually leave my isolation chambers with caution and wariness. I can eat well cooked meals. And I can go anywhere I please should I want to.

All of my friends and family members do as I do. They’re not out partying in crowds. They’re not out cajoling at the beach among hundreds of sun worshippers. They’re in isolation too. They want to live as I surely do too.