121. Traveling hot

Thursday December 3 2020

What is that noise? Is somebody riding a lawn mower on the highway? A glance in my side mirror reveals a small and very purple car approaching on my right. I’m no connoisseur of fine cars, so I have no idea of make or model. Actually, as this car passes, I take note that a full identification would be difficult for even a passionate auto enthusiast.

After all, that custom paint job could be best described as Day Old Bruise. The after-market spoiler kinda looks stapled on and more disturbing, the rear tires are two different sizes, one extending from the fender by a few inches and the other an emergency spare. As this little car accelerates to zip in and out of the lanes, the noise coming from it is disproportional to its actual speed.

Look, I don’t usually care what people choose as their daily driver, but when their aggressive driving affects the safety of the rest of us, I get rather judgey about all their life choices.

The driver was not doing anything illegal, yet was just skimming the edge of earning a citation for reckless operation. Willfully endangering other drivers on a highway is a misdemeanor crime which comes with the risk of fines, jail time, and losing your driver’s license.

Best side mirror view ever.

We know that about the dangers of reckless driving, right? If you get caught running a red light by a cop, you know full well you did something wrong and what to expect next.

So how about this? A couple tests positive for COVID-19 during a pre-travel screening, but still board a flight from San Francisco to return to their home in Hawaii. When they land, they’re both arrested and charged with second degree reckless endangerment.

The news headline sparked an outrage in me, but I’m not sure if I was targeting the couple who were so self-serving or that we’ve gone to a police state of arresting people who are guilty of spreading a virus. What about people traveling with influenza or norovirus or strep throat or gastroenteritis? Boarding a plane with any communicable disease is ill advised, so to speak, and common sense would guide most people to stay home. But still, it’s not illegal for those who do shed a virus during travel.

Unless you’re infected with a novel coronavirus responsible for a pandemic.

As I looked into this more, the news stories reveal that the couple, along with their four-year-old daughter, were placed in a quarantine area at the San Francisco airport when it was discovered they tested positive for COVID-19. They later left this area to board the flight to Hawaii.

Hawaii has strict requirements for anyone traveling to the islands. Those in charge are taking this serious.

Hawaii requires all customers entering the state to upload their testing results into the Safe Travels website for validation. Once you have scheduled and completed your approved test, you will need to create an account and upload your results prior to your trip. You must have your negative test result uploaded to the Safe Travels website for your departure from SFO. If you do not have your negative test result uploaded in time for your departure, you will have to quarantine in Hawaii for 14 days or the duration of your trip, even if you obtain a negative result after landing. To get started, visit https://travel.hawaii.gov/#/

united.com

As residents of Hawaii, this couple were certainly aware of these requirements. We might guess that they totally expected to be quarantined for the obligatory fourteen days once they arrived on their home turf, along with receiving some disapproving looks from island authorities. A possible reasoning was that it was better to be forcibly incarcerated on their home island than San Francisco, because hotel costs. But to be arrested and charged with a crime? Probably didn’t see that coming.

Is there anyone who would disagree these two people were in the wrong by choosing to board that flight knowing they were COVID-19 positive? What a complete disregard for the health of others. Multiple people were exposed to the virus over several hours, sharing recycled air while seated shoulder to shoulder. (The HEPA filters on these flights can only do such much to provide clean air among the captive audience.)

These two people broke rules that came with consequences. They’re in forced quarantine for two weeks, banned from flying again on any United Airlines flight, and they’ve been reported to Children’s Protective Services for an investigation into the safety of their daughter. And through social media justice, both are forever tagged as selfish assholes by people who don’t even know them or their circumstances.

But really, and it’s in everyone’s interest to be clear on this, was what they did truly a chargeable offense? Time to lawyer up and get some legal experts involved. We need to know with full clarity exactly what affects our civil liberties.

These are unprecedented times.

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