[June 7, 2020] I live in Southern New Jersey; about two hours drive from New York City (to downtown Manhattan). My wife and I still have relatives, and many friends who live in the City, and they love it and would not live anywhere else. What surprised me was that many of them moved away temporarily to avoid the Coronavirus pandemic and are now staying away because of the riots, looting, and general mayhem engulfing the City. Did they run away? I think so, yes. And I also believe that good citizens don’t run away from problems in their City.
Your hometown is your hometown, good or bad. It is a place we have all chosen voluntarily, even if born and raised there. It is a place we can enjoy the many excellent localities to see, friends, to visit and to walk around and take in the majesty in this place we can call home. We know our homes and our neighborhoods, our communities, and the make-up of people, places, and activities. We are vested there, and we are part of making things better. When things are bad, we help out. After 9/11 and Hurricane Sandy, New Yorkers pulled together and repaired their City.
To “Getting out of town, now!” as many told me, hurt them greatly.1 They were perhaps distraught and worried. Now, they live in a small town or countryside, where life differs like night and day. Whether they are on a farm, the beach, or lake, or settling in with relatives or friends, life has changed but not necessarily for the better. Each of them expressed regret for leaving. They feared someone would think they are somehow cowards in the battle taking place in New York City. They are not present to lend a helping hand. But they desperately want to help. Their presence is missed friends and family, and they are no longer making a serious contribution.
What frustrates them most, by not being there, is they silently are saying they don’t care about the injustices they so strongly believe in correcting. They want to make their City better. Instinctively, they understand that the rioting and violence detracts from the message of the peaceful demonstrations that were so carefully and adoringly built. What do others see? By day, “peaceful demonstrator,” by night, “anarchist.” They understand what this means to those outside the City looking in. It means the demonstrators are not to be taken seriously; thugs rule the night. Peaceful demonstrations have become a euphemism for wanton destruction of property, murder, looting, and assault on the people who live there. They want none of it.
Living in the hard reality that New York City is under assault from looters, rioters, vandals, and criminals is tough. Good citizens don’t run away.
- The New York Post estimates that 420,000 of its richest residents fled the city. https://nypost.com/2020/06/03/bill-de-blasios-singing-imagine-while-his-citys-in-flames/