The Beacon can now be delivered each Thursday to your smart phone, tablet or computer. To subscribe or purchase single digital issues, go to bvibeacon.com and click the link at the top of the page. Beaconites are glad to be able to offer this new service at a time when residents are mostly stuck at home, but in spite of the pandemic they also plan to continue printing physical copies of the newspaper and distributing them at grocery stores and other businesses that remain open.
‘The new normal’
During the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and the 2008 housing crisis — the two events that, during one Beaconite’s lifetime, have most impacted the world — he was both too young and too sheltered to appreciate the magnitude of either. But with the novel coronavirus, his experience is the exact opposite. Being a journalist, he has to pay more attention than the average observer, and what he has observed feels surreal. It feels surreal that so many people can lose their job in a span of weeks, and it feels surreal that friends who just a year ago shared in the carefree merriment of a college education winding down, are now pulling half-day shifts in hospitals overflowing with patients and underequipped with ventilators. Despite the fear and uncertainty posed by this pandemic, through the course of his reporting the Beaconite has been inspired by the rapid innovations undertaken by various sectors of society, and by the kindness and solidarity the crisis has evoked from friends and neighbours. As Virgin Islands schools have been forced to close, teachers and parents alike have taken it upon themselves ensure children receive a quality education online, and after-school programmes built upon face-to-face interaction have committed themselves to adapting their services to this new learning environment. The response to the pandemic here and across the world, also has revealed some less heartwarming things about the human condition. Selfishness seems ubiquitous among shoppers clearing out aisles of toilet paper and hand sanitiser, and earlier in the month, even with mounting evidence of the coming crisis, people in cities across the world defied the advice of experts and flocked to bars and other cramped social spaces, giving the virus a boost. But observing the pandemic and accompanying crisis so closely has mostly made the Beaconite feel lucky: lucky to be in good health, lucky to have a stable income, and lucky to have friends and family who he loves and are always down for a quick FaceTime. He wishes everyone else similar good things as well.
When a round-the-clock curfew was announced last week, a Beaconite thought to stock up on groceries at 6:30 a.m., hoping that she’d be one of few to show up so early. Something in the back of her mind told her that wouldn’t be true. Sure enough, residents were already lined up in front of grocery stores. The gravity of such a situation has the reporter slightly shook. Though her intuition tells her that she’ll be fine, each day she reminds herself to do what she can for others. When she heard that her mother, who is nearly 1,700 miles away, was feeling a little sick, she started to cry. Her heart goes out to all those who are losing people to this virus. Stay safe and healthy.
A Beaconite admires the way many members of the community are helping out their neighbours affected by the current crisis, such as donating food and supplies for vulnerable people, supporting local businesses by ordering takeout and gift cards, fostering animals from the Humane Society, and coming together in social media groups to readily exchange useful information. However, she doesn’t enjoy how some self-appointed “community police” seem to have nothing else to do but spy on those violating whatever guidelines they believe they should be following in terms of social distancing, and viciously judging each other for the smallest infractions. This is an extraordinary situation that no one here has faced before, and most people are doing the best they can. There is no place for judgment.