The kids aren’t getting smarter — or any more responsible


A friend sent me this picture a little while ago. I immediately asked whether she was still there, and could get me another shot without that car in the way.

She said it wasn’t hers; she had gotten it from a Tweet:

I checked with the guy who posted it, and he said he took the picture at about 3:30 p.m. today.

That’s the same spot pictured in this previous post, at 5:48 p.m. on Sept. 9.

The earlier shot was less… impressive, if that’s the word you want to use.

It almost seems irrelevant to ask, but how many masks do you see? No, I don’t see any, either.

What does one say about this kind of indiscriminate, homicidal behavior?

I dunno. Here’s what Chris Trainor of The State had to say:

Oh, one more thing: I don’t think they’re waiting to get into Subway. It’s about the bar next door. But that’s just a guess on my part, based on what I was told the last time. I asked Lee Snelgrove, and he didn’t know — he was just riding by…

57 thoughts on “The kids aren’t getting smarter — or any more responsible

  1. Ken

    Let’s get off this “irresponsible kids” kick, ok? Irresponsibility knows no age. I passed a bar several weeks ago where there was a large group of between 50 and 100 biker dudes and dudettes huddled at the entrance. Nobody wearing masks. Many of them gray beards. Not kids. Lots of high chrome Harleys parked nearby, not the type of wheels kids usually can afford.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Next time you see that, get us a picture.

      This is what people keep showing me.

      Maybe folks need to see what you’re seeing, to better complete the picture…

      1. Bob Amundson

        There are plenty of photos from the biker rally in Sturgis SC, a “super spreader” event that may have led to 260,000 Covid cases. Stupidity knows no bounds …

    2. Brad Warthen Post author

      Ken, in case you see this…

      I’ll approve one of your comments when it’s about the subject, and not about any of your interlocutors here on the blog.

      The ad hominem rule. Which I really don’t think should be so hard to understand.

      What you have tried to post THREE TIMES was just marginal, so initially I just deleted it — in light of the previous warning — rather than putting you on moderation status.

      But when you tried it the second time (never mind the third), you made the moderation list.

      I know it bugs you that this is my blog and not yours, and I’m sorry about that. But, you know, it actually IS my blog. And sometimes I reach the point where I decide to act like it.

      I’ll be glad to respond to further inquiries via email, if you will simply share with me a valid email address. Of course, your real name would be nice, too. Perhaps one of the pseudonyms you’ve used over time actually IS real; I have no way of knowing…

  2. Doug Ross

    One year into COVID, had we known that it by far impacts the elderly and those with co-morbidities more, would we have taken a different approach? Schools never should have been closed based on all the evidence we have now that transmission is extremely low. The impact of that decision – especially starting in the fall semester will have serious effects for years to come. Remember when everyone freaked out about it spreading on packages, gas pumps, etc. Totally false.

    The number of times the “experts” were wrong in the past year is unbelievable… both in terms of how it spreads, who it affects (remember all the Spanish Flu analogies — that was completely wrong), and the predictions about how long it would take to create a vaccine should cause great skepticism in the future. Last year, there were so many experts who condemned Sweden for its approach and held up Germany as a shining star. Check out the case and death charts now for both. Five years from now, Sweden will be held up as the gold standard.

    1. Barry

      I think we might do some things differently. I think that’s expected. When you face something different or new, most people will make mistakes.

      I’m not sure we’d do a lot different with schools. Schools have approached COVID differently- with many making local decisions (which I think is what most of us prefer).

      I have one child who was at home for the fall, and is back at school now. I have one that was at home in the fall, and is now hybrid, which is what she’d do every year if given the choice.

      My wife’s school has been hybrid for some time now. From the outside, they look like a success. But they’ve been a mess. She has 2 coworkers out now with COVID – one that has it for the 2nd time). I lost count on how many teachers they have that have quit because they have health problems or they live with someone who has health problems. They can’t take the risk – even if COVID doesn’t make them sick. They are worried about passing it along to a family member at home.

      They’ve had no success getting subs.- none. I know they were hoping that some folks who say COVID is no big deal would work as subs- but of course they don’t.

      When a teachers is out, they have to combine classes and ask other teachers to double the students and of course everything that goes along with that- which is a mess.

      Saw an AP poll from earlier in the week that said a majority of Republicans are not planning to get the vaccine. That’s the highest group of any in the poll. Vaccine skepticism.

      67% of the US population plans to get the vaccine. But Republicans and those without college degrees lead the groups that say they won’t get the vaccine.

      Some 23% of Republicans said they would “definitely” not get vaccinated, while another 21% said they “probably” won’t get the Covid-19 vaccine when it is made available to them.

      Four in ten non-college graduates also say they definitely or probably won’t get immunized.

      Only 7% of Democrats said they would refuse to be vaccinated, with 82% having already been vaccinated or planning to do so.

      1. Doug Ross

        Do we have the same contempt for blacks who will not get vaccinated as Republicans? The numbers are in the same ballpark for those who will not get it. Their rationale (past horrendous experiments done on blacks) doesn’t make any sense when the vaccine is being given to all races.

        Fauci and Biden have done us no favors with their Debbie Downer attitudes. Biden says we will be no better off until Christmas while Fauci talks about double masks ONE YEAR INTO THE VIRUS! With the volume of shots coming in the next few months, we should be in good shape no later than the 4th of July.

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          Do we have the same contempt for blacks who will not get vaccinated as Republicans?

          No. Not “same contempt,” because the situations are so different. Black anti-vaxxers are at least basing it on something, even though the something is irrational.

          Oh, and if you’re talking about problematic white people, don’t just say “Republicans.” Remember, we have Bobby Kennedy’s boy out there, too.

          Me, I try to leave skin color, and to a lesser extent party, out of it. I have little respect for people who can the vaccines not getting them — especially if they are people who have to deal with the public. As I expressed here:

          Whether you’re working at Publix or a hospital — actually, this applies especially at a hospital — you, like anyone else, are free to make the irresponsible decision not to get a shot. But if you do, you shouldn’t expect the store or the hospital to continue to employ you. And that applies to black, white, left, right, what have you…

          1. Doug Ross

            “Black anti-vaxxers are at least basing it on something, even though the something is irrational.”

            That makes no sense. ANY decision to not get the vaccine is the same – wrong.

            1. Barry

              I don’t know if I call them wrong. It is what it is.

              I’d urge anyone to get the vaccine unless they have a medical reason not to do so- and only they would know that. I wouldn’t know that so I am not running around calling them wrong.

              I think it’s interesting that those that self identify as republican- who are white- currently seem to be the most skeptical of the vaccine.

              A brief look at social media shows some crazy, really crazy conspiracy theories regarding the vaccine circulating on a good number of right wing sites. Of course not all of those are republicans.

              I saw this yesterday in response to one person on social media encouraging people to take the vaccine.:

              It’s “the mark of the beast”
              It has “aborted babies in the vaccine”
              It will “change your DNA”
              It allows “the government to control you”

              and more. I wish I could say I read those posts and saw hundreds of people debunking that garbage. I did see some of that. But I also saw a lot of folks agreeing.

              1. Brad Warthen Post author

                Barry, I call it wrong.

                The only exception is what you mention: “unless they have a medical reason not to do so.”

                Of course, that might not be as clear-cut as we’d like. I kept getting contradictory information about allergies with regard to the vaccine. But by the time my appointment had arrived, the info I had was overwhelming telling me it was OK, so I went ahead.

                What sort of contradictory information? Here’s an example. I had kept reading up on the vaccines, and read over and over that unlike the flu vaccine, this was not grown in egg — which is what makes most flu vaccines deadly for me. But then, when I was signing up my parent for their shots, and filling out their questionnaires online, one of the questions was whether they had an allergy to egg. I figured that was because they had lazily included questions from a flu vaccine questionnaire, but I thought I’d check. So when I had my parents and Publix getting their first shots, I asked the tech who was giving one of the shots why that question was there, and she said, “Because this is made with egg.” I told her I thought she was wrong about that. She said she would check it, but by the time I left she hadn’t gotten back to me, and I was busy with my parents and didn’t try to go find her.

                Here’s the problem with a question like the one I asked: Not many people are allergic to eggs. Among those few, almost none are SEVERELY allergic to egg. For that reason, I sometimes run into medical people who tell me not to worry about the flu vaccine — until I tell them that I nearly died as a kid from getting a shot like that.

                Even if the vaccine DID have egg in it, you would have trouble finding a medical professional who had encountered a problem with any patient — because this kind of allergy is so rare.

                So I’ve been on my own in researching it. In the end, I was satisfied with what I’d found, despite that mistaken bit of into I got at Publix.

                But I can imagine someone who has such a rare condition and who isn’t confident about his or her research skills just deciding not to get it. Which is why I didn’t immediately answer Doug’s flat question, “Anyone who says they won’t get it is wrong, correct?”

                Because for a tiny minority of people, there might be a legitimate reason to be careful.

                But there isn’t for anyone else.

                The good news is, there are so few people with such a rare problem that as long as everyone else gets it, we’re good. We’re going to hit herd immunity…

                1. Doug Ross

                  Won’t does not equal can’t. Those who can’t have a legitimate reason. Those who won’t don’t. It’s simple.

                  Saying you won’t get the vaccine because there are microchips in it is no better than saying you won’t get it because of the Tuskegee Study from last century. No excuses for either ignorance… especially when blacks have been statistically harmed more by COVID.

                  1. Brad Warthen Post author

                    Yeah, that’s the respect that makes it particularly awful — black folks have fared so much worse. So those of us who care about that should be particularly committed to getting vaccinated.

                    But wait — what’s that — you say there are MICROCHIPS in it? Dang! Where can I go to have mine removed?

      2. Doug Ross

        There are plenty of states where kids have been in school all year… and the same goes for local private schools. The evidence is clear that they are not areas where it spreads. But the decision to follow “science” stops when people don’t like the data.

        Sorry, but 2 co-workers out with COVID isn’t justification for keeping kids remote. We’ve basically lost a year and a half of teaching. They basically have let the smart kids struggle through some challenges while ignoring those who need the most help because a small percentage of teachers MIGHT be at risk.

        1. Barry

          I realize you disagree.

          But let’s both admit it’s easier for us to disagree (or agree) when we aren’t having to make the decisions.

          The science is the science. But we are dealing with people, and their interpretations, and their opinions, and their family situations, etc.. It’s not that different than the vaccine acceptance. I’m comfortable with the vaccine. But a LOT of people- especially those that identify as white republicans are very skeptical- despite the science.

          For example, the husband of one of my wife’s coworkers has COPD. She’s a teacher Does she have anything to worry about? The science tells us that she doesn’t have a lot to worry about. But you are dealing with a human being who worries – not about herself- but if she passes something to her husband that – even a mild case could likely kill him. She’s just one teacher at my wife’s school. There are many other similar situations. So yes, the science is the science. But people still worry about their personal situation and realize that the price is awfully high to pay if they are the exception.

          Does it make sense to me? No really. Do I understand their concern? Yeah, I can see how some could be concerned. Sure. Doesn’t mean I agree with them.

          I have to say, i took the virus seriously all along. But when one of my best friends died in his early 50s from COVID in November, I started taking it a lot more serious from my personal point of view. He was healthy, He was energetic- much more so than me. He had no pre-existing conditions per his wife. He was a ball of energy. COVID wrecked his lungs like a flame thrower. He went from using his tractor to plow up the field beside his new house to a ventilator in 2 days- and dead in 2 weeks. He was the exception. But it happened to him.

        2. Brad Warthen Post author

          Doug, you’ll get a lot of agreement from Nicholas Kristof: “School Closures Have Failed America’s Children” is his column today.

          As for me — well, as I think I’ve mentioned, this is one of those issues where I don’t have a strong position, kind of like the $15 minimum wage.

          Other people DO — they find one side or the other overwhelmingly persuasive. I just don’t.

          Whether kids are back in the classroom or not, I worry about them. As a father and grandfather, that tends to be the way I roll…

          1. Doug Ross

            The issue I have is that the mantra of “trust the science” is selectively applied. The science says schools are generally safe. Anecdotes about individuals are not relevant. People who have unique situations should make choices based on their personal situation and not impose them on everyone else.

            I have direct knowledge of the impact of the decision to close schools as a father of a high school teacher who has taught remotely from our home for the past year. The lack of engagement of the students combined with the decision to basically lower all the standards regarding grading has made the past year a joke. The kids who are self-motivated have minor issues. The others are heading for big problems.

            1. Barry

              “ People who have unique situations should make choices based on their personal situation and not impose them on everyone else.”

              I don’t disagree but I also understand that the decision makers are having to deal with countless people with unique situations.

              I mean they could just announce five days a week- you’ve got to be there – no choice, etc. – but then when 35 of their 60 teachers don’t show up for work, what is going to happen then? They already can’t get subs. Just close the school? Then we are back at square 1.

              My sense is that the leadership is not dismissing the science. My sense is that they are dealing with the reality of managing a lot of people who have unique situations.

              1. Doug Ross

                Five days a week are coming very soon… in Richland 2, within the next two weeks. We’ll see whether the teachers will accept science.

                1. Barry

                  again, I don’t think it’s a matter of not accepting the science.

                  I know that’s a very convenient boogeyman for you- but it’s not even an issue.

                  The issue has been individuals being worried about their specific situations- which often isn’t them- but a family member’s health.

                  Thankfully the positivity rate in a county like Richland is now under 6%., and slightly over 6% in Lexington and Kershaw counties. The 7 day average in all 3 of those counties are falling.

                  For example, in Greenville it’s slightly over 10%.

                  In Allendale, it’s 24%. In Edgefield, it’s 22%. So obviously any fair-minded person would see why individuals there would be more concerned.

    2. bud

      Per Realclearpolitics:

      Deaths per million population
      Sweden – 1,257
      Norway – 117
      Denmark – 406

      Clearly Sweden’s approach is failing bigly.

      1. Doug Ross

        Deaths aren’t the only factor to consider. We won’t know for years what the impact of lockdowns will have. UK , Spain, and France all did worse based on death rates. Why no condemnation of those countries?

        1. bud

          For the same reason I don’t compare apples to bar stools. Doug I’m not going to convince you so don’t bother responding. It’s pointless to waste my time.

          1. Doug Ross

            Ok, bud. Maybe you forgot you responded to me first. Sorry that facts get in the way of your opinions. Resume the bubble.

        2. Bill

          S**thole Countries!
          I’m feeling hungry, can’t see the reason
          Just had a horse meat pie
          Yeah when you call me
          I salivate like Pavlov’s dog…

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            Actually Bill, I think it goes “Yeah when you call my name, I salivate like a Pavlov dog.” Otherwise, not enough syllables. Or wait… isn’t it “Pavlov’s,” possessive?…

  3. bud

    Ironic isn’t it? The folks yapping the loudest about getting kids back in school are the same libertarian leaning loudmouths who once extolled the great virtues of home schooling. If one good thing comes out of this COVID disaster it will be that we can put this home schooling nonsense behind us once and for all.

    1. Doug Ross

      You’re kidding, right? Do you realize how many parents are going to choose to leave the public school system after the debacle of the last year? A whole lot more than who will switch from private or homeschool back to public schools.

      You’re a trip, bud. You think libertarian is an epithet when it continually demonstrates how much better it is than group think big government inefficiencies and lack of accountability. Keep pushing for the mediocrity of liberalism. Low bar, low results.

      1. bud

        Yep, the libertarian approach to the power grid in Texas has been a resounding success. I sure wish I had a $17,000 monthly power bill. And let’s be crystal clear on this, the fiasco in TX absolutely is a damning indictment of libertarian philosophy. Doug will provide some type of nonsensical spin. And Doug will be wrong.

        1. Barry

          My sense is that you may have some people choose homeschooling after this but from everything I’m seeing, I think this is taught people how they do not want to be dealing with homeschooling

        2. Doug Ross

          Which libertarian politicians implemented the policies in Texas? I’ll wait for the answer.

          Much like the student loan “crisis”, adults making dumb financial decisions isn’t a problem the government should fix. Those who got the high bills were either greedy or dumb or unlucky. That’s life.

          Now let’s talk about the great successes of big government over the past year related to COVID. Talk about exposing blatant stupidity and inefficiency. The worst states are the ones run by Democrats. Cuomo has been exposed as a Trump level egotistical fraud.

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            “Which libertarian politicians implemented the policies in Texas? I’ll wait for the answer.”

            Watch out, y’all! I think Doug is about to be VERY particular about the definition of “libertarian”… 🙂

            1. Doug Ross

              just let libertarians run the government for 4 years. let’s see how that works out. We know what Democrats and Republicans have done.

              1. Guy

                If only your worldview was shared by more than 11% of the electorate, you would totally be in business…

                1. Doug Ross

                  It won’t ever be.. because there are too many Democrats who believe the government should exist to provide cradle to grave dependence. And too many Republicans who believe we need to spend trillions on phony “wars” based on some misguided notion of American exceptionalism and a imaginary duty to serve as the world’s cop.

                  All I can say is that both groups are responsible for what we have now… it’s not libertarians.

          2. Guy

            CDC statistics disagree with your assessment on Covid. The Dakotas were by far the highest per capita rate of infected in the US. Top states per capita with Covid infections:

            1. ND
            2. SD
            3. RI
            4. UT
            5. IA
            6. TN
            7. AZ
            8. OK
            9. WI
            10. AR

            So, Rhode Island and Wisconsin made the top 10. The rest are not known for their Democratic leanings, am I right?

              1. Doug Ross

                and I am taking about the government response which has been abysmal in NY, NJ, CA, IL, and MI. Cuomo should be recalled and Newsom will be.

                1. Barry

                  The SD Governor was on a Face The Nation this morning.

                  She didn’t handle the COVID questions well.

                  The GOP gov of West vIrginia has talked about the bad job SD did.

                  1. Doug Ross

                    Yeah, and Cuomo write a self-congratulatory book in the middle of killing thousands and then covering it up. And the liberal media lapped it up.

                    Democratic governors killed their small businesses and have destroyed the education for tens of thousands of kids. But, really, lets talk about South Dakota.

                    1. Barry

                      Cuomo is incompetent.

                      So is the South Dakota governor – who is being held up by many on the right as a shining example- who is likely running for President.

                    2. Barry


                      The GOP in Arizona is right now trying to pass a law that says the legislature gets to review election results and appoint their own electors if they find problems ….

                      …. effectively taking any election reviews out of the hands of elections officials and turning it over to the GOP.

                1. Doug Ross

                  Truth and facts tend to be a unique take these days. When you don’t have to adhere to being spoonfed by your media, it opens up the ability to use logic.

                  1. Guy

                    ???? I was replying to the bizarre statement that infections don’t matter. Please expand on your point.

  4. Mark Stewart

    So UofSC has traded in their campus mental health day for a super-spreader off-campus option. Wonderful…

  5. Bryan Caskey


    Per Richland One’s Office of Communications:

    March 8, 2021: Elementary school students transition to 5 days a week of in-person instruction. Middle school students and 9th-grade students transition to 4 days a week of in-person instruction.

    March 15, 2021: High school students in grades 10-12 transition to 4 days a week of in-person instruction.

    March 22, 2021: Middle school students transition to 5 days a week of in-person instruction.

    March 29, 2021: High school students in grades 9-12 transition to 5 days a week of in-person instruction.

    Bottom line: Everyone is going to be back in school full time in about 30 days.

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