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It’s hard to pillage while pushing a wheelchair

Courtesy of Peter Rosenberger

Since it’s hard to pillage while pushing a loved one in a wheelchair, it’s a good bet that few of the rioters were family caregivers.

The incessant need to rage withers under the strain of caring for a disabled family member. Dealing with a developmentally disabled child repeatedly screaming through the night curtails the ability to head downtown and light fires. A spouse facing her 80th surgery overrides the need to loot Macy’s, steal a Gucci purse, or deface a treasured monument. A mentally-ill family member cursing and striking you, or a father with dementia who seems to have bowel movements in every room except the restroom — leaves little strength for vandalizing.  Stressing over an addict/alcoholic circling the drain consumes too much of the day to allow for rioting.

Some of America’s 65 million caregivers could probably work in a peaceful protest. The caregiver and loved one can simultaneously get some fresh air, participate in a good cause, and get some exercise. Burning down the system, however, simply takes too much energy.  It’s all about the math — the number of hours one logs in the emergency room is in direct proportion to how much time can be allotted to destroy the property of others.

Plus, after the riot, you’re still a caregiver — except now the local pharmacy smolders in an ash heap, the ambulance services grow sparse, and the nearest grocery is in ruins.  With too much to destroy and so little time, rioters can’t be bothered with that type of perspective. Quotas of carnage must be met, otherwise there will be trouble at the home office of Antifa. 

Suffering, heartache, and injustices come in many forms. Slow deaths are still deaths. Fomenting professors don’t include this kind of reality in a syllabus, and instead give class credits for anarchy. While so many in the media seem to goad the fighting over who gets custody of the cow, the political class grab their stool and bucket …and milk that bovine for all its worth. 

All the while, the slow tide of age, disability, mental illness, and addiction rises around us — regardless of our colors, ideology, or economics.

Many of those hurt in the riots look at a lifetime of caregiving needs. Those who lost businesses and life savings face aging and decline without financial resources. Those who lost their lives at the hands of looters now leave families to deal without a family member or provider to help with inevitable caregiving needs.

Who do those caregivers loot and rage against? There is no “Tomb of the Unknown Caregiver” for them to desecrate.

As rioters and anarchists don their uniforms and punch their clocks while heading to another day of marauding, someone might want to give them a heads up. A stealthy and inevitable challenge approaches. It’s called “reality,” and it is no respecter of persons.

Plunderers might want to save up their energy, because that reality states, “If you love someone — you’ll probably be a caregiver. If you live long enough (particularly after a tough day of ransacking), you’ll need one.”

Peter Rosenberger is the host of the nationally syndicated radio program, HOPE FOR THE CAREGIVER. He and his wife, Gracie (who has recovered from the COVID-19 virus) live in Southwest Montana.

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