Imagine living in a world where you are so influential you could save hundreds of thousands of lives with just one impassioned speech. You could say something like, “My fellow Americans, we’ve all had our differences, but this is one time when we must set aside our differences in the interest of saving ourselves, our families, our fellow citizens of our country and our fellow citizens of the world. Forget about yourselves and do the right thing. Wear a mask, wash your hands, maintain social distancing and get vaccinated. If everybody does their part we can beat this thing.”
Donald Trump lives in such a world. With those words, unadorned by his usual stab at the Democrats and RINOs, he could have saved perhaps a hundred thousand lives or more. Imagine living in a world where you could have been a hero just that cheaply. Then imagine living in that very same world and blowing that chance and being too stupid to even notice. That is also the world Donald Trump lives in.
What kind of world has Trump created by missing that chance? Take H. Scott Apley, 45, for example. He’s devoted to Trump. He’s an anti-vaxxer. Apley is a staunch conservative and devout Christian. According to his social media activity, Apley thinks COVID isn’t going to affect him or his family. He may need a gun to protect himself at Walmart but he doesn’t need a mask. God will take care of COVID and leave the bad guys to Apley.
Last May, Apley posted an invitation for a “mask burning” being held at a bar in Cincinnati, saying, “I wish I lived in the area!” Before that he posted a news article about giveaways and incentives meant to encourage people to get vaccinated. Apley’s assessment? “Disgusting.” Apley also thought so-called vaccine passports were a violation of his Constitutional rights.
Apley even compared mask mandates in Germany with Nazism. He also referred to Baltimore health commissioner Leana Wen, who celebrated the good news released this spring about the Pfizer vaccine’s efficacy, as “an absolute enemy of a free people.”
Ordinarily I would encourage you all to write to this Dickinson City Council member and Texas State Republican Executive Committee member and teach him the facts of life and science — except for one thing. I’m afraid I misled you by referring to H. Scott Apley in the present tense, brothers and sisters. Apley died Wednesday morning at 3am of COVID-19. He died just five days after posting a meme on Facebook questioning the wisdom of getting vaccinated for coronavirus.
Like millions of Americans, H. Scott Apley was another example of someone living in the thrall of Donald Trump and, like a growing number of Americans, he lost his life because of it. I am not going to waste my time mourning this loss, nor am I going to encourage any of you to mourn him. But being stupid isn’t a crime, and it certainly isn’t a capital crime, and the innocent people he affected won’t deserve the potentially fatal consequences of his ignorance either.
There are a million stories in the naked city of anti-science ignorance. H. Scott Apley’s has been another one of them. And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.
Robert Harrington is an American expat living in Britain. He is a portrait painter.