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Prayer rally threatened public safety

by Del Cameron
| May 16, 2020 1:00 AM

In the May 8 issue of The Press, front page center, is an article concerning a prayer rally held at McEuen Park on May 7. It appears from that article and accompanying photos that virtually every established, official guideline to protect the public from COVID-19 infection, was violated. That Press article, I believe, as an understatement, was non-critical.

The crowd, estimated in the reporting, near 400 in number, included Kootenai County Sheriff Ben Wolfinger, who was there to lead the Pledge of Allegiance. WHAT? Many, if not everyone else there, may have believed that divine intervention would protect them. But the calling of law enforcement is distinctly secular.

Come hell or high water, that crowd, as a threat to public safety, should have been dispersed … by the police, clearly. Nobody in law enforcement, on duty especially, should have been there without bullhorn in hand.

Still, these folks, however misguided, were well-intentioned, to be sure. They had no right putting the rest of us at risk, but is that reason enough to treat them rudely? They might have been told, “Go home and may God be with you.” And, as we were taught in Sunday School, He would be with them there … or anywhere. You can take it to the bank.

Trying to get a handle on all this sorry business, I went to my computer and googled the word groupthink. BINGO! “Psychology Today” discusses the word and discusses it some more. I recommend it. One sentence, in particular, is brief and to the point: “In the interest of making a decision that furthers their group cause, members may ignore any ethical or moral consequences.” To repeat, “… may ignore any ethical or moral consequences.”

Some of those consequences can be rather catastrophic, like, for instance, international conflicts. “Psychology Today” cites the Iraq War as an example.

Finally, I have to ask why The Press joins in this foolhardy groupthink so easily. I mean to the point of promoting it? If that’s the case, why? There’s not a hint of integrity in that, journalistic or otherwise. If editors at this paper can make a case as to why we, in Idaho, should not be abiding by CDC and state of Idaho H&W guidelines, I, for one, would like to hear it.

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Del Cameron is a Coeur d’Alene resident.