At the end of KDT Live, I often ask my co-host, Cary Burgess, “What did we learn today?”
It’s a concise way to end our weekday webcast, which often features guests from around the Hill Country, and it’s a good way to end the week. However, I have to admit that there was a lot I’ve learned about people this week — some great, some not so much.
When it comes to the “not so much” portion of this column, I would say that an increasingly irritating trigger for me is the casual dismissal of human suffering and life related to the coronavirus. As we’ve reported over the last two weeks, there has been a horrendous COVID-19 outbreak at Kerrville’s Waterside Nursing and Rehabilitation.
Here’s the trigger: “How old are these people?” This was from a comment and a message shared with us.
The implication, at least to me, is that because many of the residents of nursing homes are sick and elderly, they are expendable, disposable or their lives do not matter.
The worst thing about the coronavirus is that it has proven to be particularly cruel to the elderly. In Texas, 33% of COVID-19 deaths have been people over the age of 80 — many of those in nursing homes.
But we should be reminded that COVID-19 has proven to be an effective killer across many ages, and the one thing that we do know about it is that you just don’t know who is going to die from this.
During our reporting for the story on Waterside’s outbreak, we were told by a nurse that a lot of these people suffered because COVID-19 is so difficult to treat, and the nurse who was the source made it clear that there wasn’t a reason for them to die in that manner.
SO, WHAT ELSE DID WE LEARN THIS WEEK?
™ We learned that Glenn Rutherford, who helps sell memberships in Air Evac, the emergency medical helicopter service that operates out of the Kerrville-Kerr County Airport, was once the president of clothing brand OP — also known as Ocean Pacific. Rutherford was a guest on KDT Live to discuss why he’s so passionate about Air Evac, the Missouri-based company that operates air ambulances around the country. While Rutherford helmed one of the 1980’s biggest fashion brands, he’s actually more passionate about the air ambulance work than just about anything else he’s done, and one reason is the value — a membership can start at just $85 per year.
™Ӎ We learned that there are some people who believe that wearing a mask in public could cause your teeth to fall out from a lack of oxygen. That was communicated to the Kerr County Commissioners Court. There was also a suggestion that children are suffering brain damage from the masks because of the same reason — lack of oxygen. Neither theory is exactly based in the realm of fact or science, but it is amusing to hear.
™ We learned that the community partner’s task force to provide community updates on how to navigate coronavirus still doesn’t want to take questions from the media, which I think would be helpful from an accountability standpoint. Because, believe me, I have questions — lots of questions.
™ We learned that new Kerrville City Councilwoman Brenda Hughes is the pet parent to a blind and deaf Great Dane named Chance. Hughes and Chance were guests on KDT Live on Friday. Hughes, who has a huge heart for animals, rescued the dog from a breeder who had planned to euthanize the dog because of his disabilities. Instead, Hughes has raised a loving, if not rambuctious, dog that likes to sit on your lap — just like any other dog.
™Ӎ We learned from George Eychner that Kerr County Judge Rob Kelly will do the honors when it comes to lighting the big Christmas tree on the courthouse grounds at 6:30 p.m. today. You can watch the virtual ceremony on dailytimes.com.
COMMENTS MADE ON FACEBOOK
AND OUR DAILYTIMES.COM
We get a lot of impassioned pleas from people about limiting comments on The Kerrville Daily Times’ Facebook page, especially when it comes to deaths associated with COVID-19. Others have asked about comments on the newspaper’s website — dailytimes.com.
When it comes to Facebook, we try our best to monitor comments on our public facing social media platform, but there’s no easy way to do this as a media channel — like turning off comments.
We also have no power to stop people from sharing our content on their Facebook or Twitter page and then saying horrible things about the story, subjects of the story and us. Believe us, it would be nice, but it is easier said than done.
However, we have always deleted hateful or derogatory comments, and there’s a strong profanity filter on the page. There are ways to circumvent these, and that’s gotten some users deleted or banned. It’s not an easy task, but we try our best.
Secondly, we do not allow people to post comments without prior approval on dailytimes.com. If you do comment on a story — as a registered user or subscriber — they must be approved by someone here — usually me.
OVERHEARD ON THE POLICE SCANNER
Sometimes you hear the strangest things on the police scanner like this: “Can you ask if she knows where her teeth are?”
Louis Amestoy is the managing editor of The Kerrville Daily Times. Email him at email@example.com