There are currently more than one million confirmed coronavirus cases in the United States, and so far 60,945 Americans have died. That's more than the total US casualties in Vietnam, which is apparently what we compare deaths to when they make no sense and were preventable if our leaders made better choices.

This is devastating news, but fortunately we have Ben Shapiro to put matters into grosser perspective. Have you considered, for instance, that most of the dead are really old and practically dead already? No? Well, that's probably because you're not a tiny sociopath who adores the sound of his own grating voice.

Here's what this fool said on Dave Rubin's YouTube show.

SHAPIRO: The easiest thing you can do is say all damages caused is caused by the pandemic. All the good things that are happening, like you being alive, that is caused by me. Sort of the Gretchen Whitmer strategy in Michigan.

That is not Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's “strategy." That is how Donald Trump operates. We have it on video, but conservatives like to pretend all Democrats share Trump's Whitman's sampler of personality disorders. Shapiro agreed with Rubin that Democratic governors are big hypocrites because they don't intend to keep their states locked down forever. Andrew Cuomo is even talking about a phased reopening of New York. However, Cuomo's plan is based on data and science. He's not rolling dice like Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp.


SHAPIRO: The obvious truth is we're all making actuarial deductions about what is the cost in terms of how many human lives, how many years of life.

Uh, no, that is not how any responsible governor is approaching this issue. They are trying to resume normal societal functioning while limiting the number of COVID-19 infections and deaths. They are also prioritizing the safety of the most vulnerable.

SHAPIRO: That is an actual issue in actuarial tables. If somebody who is 81 dies of COVID-19, that is not the same thing as somebody who is 30 dying of COVID-19.

No, asshole, it's exactly the same thing. They are both human beings. We're not going to get into actuarial science here, but suffice it to say Shapiro doesn't know what the fuck he's talking about. Shooting a senior citizen isn't suddenly a D felony just because the person's old.

SHAPIRO: If grandma dies in a nursing home at age 81, and that's tragic and that's terrible, also the life expectancy in the United States is 80. So, that is not the same thing.

This is why no one admits their loved ones to an assisted living facility with the motto: Just So You Know, The Life Expectancy In The United States Is 80. It's a little off-putting. This also isn't how "life expectancy" works. People don't shut off at 80 when their AppleCare warranty expires. There's also a significant difference between dying peacefully in your sleep and dying painfully while hooked up to a ventilator.

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My eldest aunt passed away three years ago at 87. She was able to spend her last few moments with her niece, who combed her hair one last time. She probably preferred that to a couple weeks of violent coughing fits before dying alone because no one was allowed in the room with her.

SHAPIRO: In moral terms, you want to save every life you can. At the same time, to pretend that it is of the same, it is the same calculation, the age of the person, no public policy acts like that, not a single public policy in America acts like that.

People of all ages are at risk from COVID-19. People in their 30s and 40s have suffered strokes. Relatively young people have also suffered longterm organ damage. They might not make it to 80. But even if this were exclusively an “elderly disease," Shapiro is the same guy who shouted that the “death panels are coming!" like a rightwing Paul Revere who opposed affordable health care. He also made the following comment about abortion in 2017:

SHAPIRO: A first-trimester fetus has moral value... more value than just a cluster of cells. If left to its natural processes, it will grow into a baby. The real question is, where do you draw the line?

Apparently, Shapiro draws the line at 81. Like most anti-abortionists, Shapiro doesn't fully grasp that the “natural processes" for a fetus's development requires the mother's ongoing care and personal sacrifice. People are flipping out over the shutdowns and they haven't even been inconvenienced for nine weeks let alone nine months. They also aren't denied coffee, booze, and deli meat. COVID-19 has pulled back the curtain on most conservatives and we're seeing how “pro-life" they actually are.

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Stephen Robinson

Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He's on the board of the Portland Playhouse theater and writes for the immersive theater Cafe Nordo in Seattle. Tickets are on sale now for his latest Nordo collaboration, "Curiouser and Curiouser," an adaptation of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass." It promises to feel like an actual evening with SER (for good or for ill).

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