I don’t know who is dumber or more irresponsible: Robert and Jason Turner, the owners of Ace Speedway, the fans who flocked there on June 6, or Alamance County law enforcement. All three colluded in launching what Plato called a “Ship of Fools,” made up of a misguided and incompetent crew. Ace Speedway is headed for the rocks and shoals of COVID-19.

By holding races on May 23, May 30 and June 6, the speedway’s owners relegated their customers’ health to collateral damage in service of profit in much the same way the occupant of the White House had demanded a large, unprotected audience in Charlotte to cheer his rants. The Turners further took the low road by falsely labeling the race gathering a “protest,” thus, using a slimy technicality to get past the governor’s guidelines, and polluting the essence of the wave of righteous protests.

By ignoring social distancing and mask wearing, the fans are risking their own, their families’, and their older friends’ lives. Some are willing to take the risk, out of a belief in conspiracies — the virus is a hoax — or anger at alleged government control of their freedom, distrust of science, or a self-absorbed disregard for the effect of their behavior on others. Regardless of the motivation, they will reap what they sow.

In the service of reelection, perpetuation of the good ole boy network, and political inclination, the sheriff and district attorney of Alamance County have offered a tepid, half-hearted response to clear violations of the governor’s regulations. Their unwillingness to respond to the sham of calling a car race a protest is testimony to their collusion.

The pandemic is not a game, a political hoax or a contrived limitation of individual freedom. It is a threat and it is out there waiting for us. All we have done thus far is attempt to limit the spread, nothing else. There currently is no vaccination.

Sponsoring, attending or failing to regulate a simple thing like a car race is not so simple.

It is an indictment of our responsibility toward our fellow humans and a ticket to come aboard the Ship of Fools.

The writer is an author and consultant who lives in Greensboro.

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