I.C. MURRELL — Word of the year? You guessed it: Addendum

Published 12:09 am Friday, April 10, 2020

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By now, the word “coronavirus” is deeply engrained into the English language.

We know how to guard ourselves against it, as well as the damage it can and has inflicted. But who’d ever thought rounds of golf would be threatened?

While it is not (yet) criminal to go from one friend’s house to another in Jefferson County amid the pandemic, it is not permissible for anyone to go out to The Babe for 18 holes. That’s an amendment to Port Arthur Mayor Thurman Bartie’s “Stay at Home, Work Safe” order.

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If you’re keeping count, that’s two amendments to the order.

The latest went into effect the same day Jefferson County Judge Jeff Branick signed his seventh addendum to his seventh amendment, which basically nixed the fifth addendum that shut down golf courses, driving ranges and golf training centers.

And I thought closing the doors of a church was changing the game.

Like many politicians, Bartie and Branick bear a similar conscience: Neither one wants to put his constituents in harm’s way. The last thing either wants to do is enact a knee-jerk reaction to any word of caution or fear that will throw the recreation benefits of our communities out of whack.

Right now, Port Arthur doesn’t have as many options for recreation opportunities. Politicians, though, cannot be blamed for making tough calls to limit the use of equipment to slow or stop the spread of a hideous, invisible thing (although seeing basketball backboards without rims is a sad sight). That’s why they’re elected.

Because of tough calls, however, those who can find peace and mental/physical fitness in an outdoor stroll only golf can provide is limited. Sure, basketball can’t promote social distancing the way golf can, but that’s just it — golf can.

So can fishing, but our waters have not been closed. Why is golf any different? We don’t know … yet.

We’re all going to remember not only how we responded to the crisis, but how government — any government — did as well.

We still live in a society where one group will have and another will not. It’s enough of a shame not all of our healthcare workers were properly equipped soon enough to come face-to-face with this sickness.

The trickle-down effect from Washington to local small businesses concerning how much is needed to rehire workers is carrying some dire consequences. A pandemic was declared 30 days ago, so that’s been 30 days that businesses have had to lay off employees.

Small business owners know how their money flows. The federal government? Well, that’s a mystery. Either the U.S. has a great credit line, or money indeed grows on trees and is minted, or both.

Whatever the case may be, any additional money is good money right now. It’s not like we back up our dollar bills with gold anymore.

Knowing that coronavirus exists is one thing. How we respond to it is another. How we perceive the response is a whole different issue.

One way or another, the response impacts this open-ended crisis. Somehow, healthfully and prudently, there must be an end.


I.C. Murrell is the editor of The Port Arthur News. He can be reached at 409-549-8541 or at ic.murrell@panews.com.

About I.C. Murrell

I.C. Murrell was promoted to editor of The News, effective Oct. 14, 2019. He previously served as sports editor since August 2015 and has won or shared eight first-place awards from state newspaper associations and corporations. He was born in Memphis, Tennessee, grew up mostly in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Arkansas at Monticello.

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