Some Things Are Not Easy: Duane W.H. Arnold

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36 Responses

  1. directambiguity says:

    I wonder if there will be a study of the effects on people (depression, drug use, loss of homes, suicide, etc.,) caused by the economic shutdown so when we face the next pandemic they can make better decisions for all.

  2. Michael says:

    Thank you for this, Duane.
    I read somewhere this morning that part of the angst many are feeling is the death of certainty…the easy answers have failed.

  3. Duane Arnold says:

    I imagine there will be numerous studies, both about the effects of the economic shutdown as well as the impact of tens of thousands dying on families, friends, workplaces and so much more…

  4. directambiguity says:

    I hope small businesses’ can get PPP funding soon because millions of Americans are losing their jobs every single week.

  5. Michael says:


    My family has been directly impacted by the closing of small businesses.
    It is also directly impacted by the disease itself as there are two nurses in the family.
    We intensely feel the need for both small businesses to be able to reopen and to try to stay safe and keep this killer from spreading.
    We are all high risk.
    It is possible to acknowledge all the issues.
    It is imperative that we pray that God raise up some leaders with the wisdom to solve them.

  6. Jean says:

    “so when we face the next pandemic they can make better decisions for all.”

    There is no doubt that a country can always improve its preparation for and response to a public healthcare and/or financial crisis.

    Any inquiry would need to be based on facts, data, and science to be of any value. One of the biggest challenges our country faces is whether or not we as a collective can even agree that objective facts, data and science actually exist.

    I heard a “Dr.” who goes by Dr. Phil complain on a cable news channel last week before millions of viewers that 360,000 people a year die from swimming pools, but we don’t shut swimming pools down for that, but yet we are doing it for the pandemic. This seems like such a accessible argument to the masses, that I would not be surprised at all if it drew great applause.

  7. Em says:

    One morning last week i woke up to the sound of a huge bulldozer starting up right outside my bedroom window! Who? What? It shook/rattled the whole house for about 10 seconds and then abruptly shut off… Well it wasn’t an engine it was an earthquake of only 2.3, but very close by. High winds and earthquakes make one feel helpless and… puny?
    This earth continues on by God’s grace, mercy and His plan. My ” why” is why does most of the human race ignore God?
    Too busy being wise and noble? Or devious and cunning? Dunno
    God keep

  8. directambiguity says:

    “Any inquiry would need to be based on facts, data, and science to be of any value. One of the biggest challenges our country faces is whether or not we as a collective can even agree that objective facts, data and science actually exist.”

    I agree.

  9. filbertz says:

    Hail, hail the death of easy answers, the bane of our modern existence!! It is past the time to begin to embrace the challenge of thinking critically, deeply, teasing out the facets of understanding instead of relying on overly simplistic binary choices. The Church can lead this shift if we were to learn to ask better questions and follow up simple answers with another question that requires the other to go deeper. Instead of asking me where I fellowship (a convenient short cut to sizing me up and categorizing me), ask me “how” I fellowship. One leads to cookie cutter, the other leads to cookie sharing.

    Thanks Duane for a good conversation starter…

  10. filbertz says:

    We seem to crave a framework of thought that organizes everything into neat, orderly, predictable statements of fact. This is myth. Life isn’t like that in any manner.

  11. Duane Arnold says:


    Many thanks. Nuance requires thought. Binary choices require reaction. There’s a huge difference between the two…

  12. filbertz says:

    division and divisiveness thrives with binary choices…look at our current political and social divisions; each seems to be framed as either/or. Leaders of every cloth need to throw off such silly non-thinking and practice/expect more.

  13. MM says:

    Ironically, I think there is no way to not make this political in some form or another. Duane and Jean, no matter how you feel you are just presenting facts and such you still are drawing lines which determine sides of the issue.

    I too have family and friends deeply affected by this. Some have actually had the virus and survived. Just yesterday had a chance to visit with one of my friends who had it. Both he and his wife had fevers over 103 for multiple days and his comment was, “I was sure I was going to die.” He didn’t, and while still weak, is back at work to feed his family.

    Duane self-sacrifice varies between people. Some don’t know if they will be homeless by summer and for others it means staying at home. When does your/our patience end and action have to be taken.

    I remember a Holocaust survivor who said, “we prayed and thought God would stop the it, so we did nothing…”

    What do you recommend people do to help the coming projected 30-40% unemployed?

    You have a platform and an audience, while smaller than Dr. Phil, to speak from and to, so give the listener’s some direction.

  14. Jean says:


    “What do you recommend people do to help the coming projected 30-40% unemployed?”

    File for unemployment. Under the last federal package, unemployment insurance was increased by an additional $600/week on top of the regular state rate for I believe 8 weeks.

    I think people should be aware of two additional facts:

    (1) People who wish not to get infected also have civil liberties. There has to be a balance somewhere, so that everyone can eventually enjoy civil liberty.

    (2) When the ACA was passed, one of the slanderous lies that the right spread was that there would be death panels set up. Well, if the country is not opened up smartly and the hospitals are overwhelmed with patients, who will serve on the death panels which will have to ration ICU beds? New Orleans, NYC and Detroit barely made it with strict stay at home orders. What do you think would happen in a city where the virus spread without a stay at home order? And how long can hospital operate at 90-105% of capacity before you exhaust your healthcare workers? And when will hospitals open capacity to other diseases like cancer, and elective procedures which are a big source of revenue for hospitals?

  15. Duane Arnold says:


    Something has come upon us that is not easy to comprehend. A pivotal event of my formative years was the Vietnam War. Over 58,000 American lives were lost. The expenditure for the war was $168 billion (in today’s value, $1 trillion). That loss and expenditure, however, was spread over the course of eight years. In the present situation we have lost over 40,000 lives and expended over $2 trillion over the course of a couple of months.

    For now, we have been informed by reputable clinicians and scientists who are expert in the field of epidemiology that to halt the spread we need to take certain actions and precautions. My strong advice would be to follow their guidance, rather than to buy into political rhetoric or the uninformed opinions of talking heads on cable news.

    Yes, there is going to be pain, despite the measures to alleviate the suffering and financial loses we will all experience to a greater or lesser degree. The loss, however, of 100,000 or 200,000 lives will result in suffering untold.

    Much of this is political in origin. If, however, we make it political (rather than medical or scientific) in our attempts to assuage this pandemic, I believe we will fail and our failure will be measured in lives lost, futures blighted and divisions which will not be healed, possibly for a generation.

    In our own household, a third of our income has been voluntarily surrendered. Two of our neighbors are in hospital. Both of us are working with foundations to channel money to frontline hospitality workers, many of whom are immigrants. We all have to make efforts in our own spheres of influence to do what we can. Encouraging reckless or divisive actions that put lives at risk is, I believe, counter-productive…

  16. MM says:


    Do you really think unemployment insurance will fix it or maybe the US Government can bail everyone out financially? The truth is right now the USA debt is already 18 trillion dollars, where or from whom will all these funds come from?

    In the end it is always about community supporting community. You need to spend your earnings to support someone else. People need a place to earn their living.

    In a thread where many are implying they are the thinkers there sure seems to a lot of… well maybe you get it.

    It is complicated and it’s time to think of the consequences of all our actions.

    And quit posting about overwhelming the medical system. By now everyone gets that.

    I’m going to help my community survive the fallout, what do you say.

  17. MM says:


    I’m in the same age group so spare me the analogy, because this is completely different. This is an unprecedented moment in world history and a pivotal point in social management.

    I really have nothing more to add except I feel many are closing their eyes to the horrific tragedy looming at our door.

    BTW I’m not blaming either side, it is what it is. Just please stop thinking or implying you have the best answer to it all, I surely don’t.

  18. Duane Arnold says:


    I think the point of what I wrote is that we don’t have the answer…

  19. Jean says:


    The bills have already been passed, and another is eminent. People should apply for what they qualify for. Unemployment insurance, like other safety net programs, are never originated as a solution or goal, but as a bridge for a person in need to a better future.

    I’m helping my community by (1) social distancing, (2) working from home, (3) paying my taxes, which are substantial, (4) praying for my family, community and country, more than I ever have before, (5) trying to be nice to my wife, who has never spent this much time alone with me before, (6) staying in the Word of God, which helps me make sense of what is happening and through which I can endure and remain in the faith of Christ, and (7) staying connected via technology with other believers for our mutual consolation and building up during this most difficult time.

  20. Jean says:

    “The truth is right now the USA debt is already 18 trillion dollars, where or from whom will all these funds come from?”

    There’s an odd phenomenon in this country when it comes to fiscal discipline. In 2017, during an economic expansion, when the current Administration gave a tax cut weighted disproportionately in favor of the wealthiest Americans, the GOP and other Trump supporters were for the most part completely silent on the question of fiscal responsibility. This, despite the fact that during this economic expansion, as a result of the tax cut, the US incurred trillion dollar deficits.

    Now, at a time when working Americans are hurting from the pandemic, and so far it appears that wealthy companies went to the front of the line for limited small business PPP funds, GOP and other conservatives have once again found their fiscal responsibility voices in complaint against national debt, when the issue is funding for working class Americans.

    Question for the house: Why do conservatives have no problem when wealthy people are bailed out, but are indignant when working class people need help? Why is the income tax system in America so regressive? Why is health insurance and affordable high quality health care a benefit for the wealthy, but not a right for working people? Are working people expendable?

  21. Em says:

    Conservatives indignant when “working class” people need help? Best health insurance and other benefits go to government workers – working people? Bureaucrats?
    I had a college english professor who had a name for some of your accusations: “glittering generalities.. ”
    Your broad brush is one i find a tad sloppy, Jean…

  22. Jean says:

    “Best health insurance and other benefits go to government workers”


    Two things, check the Proxy Statements of any public company and you will see the benefits that go to the corporate elite.

    Second, government workers in federal government and many states have collective bargaining. I don’t begrudge their ability to collectively bargain for a descent living and retirement. If I did, I would also begrudge the handouts that go to so many private interests under the tax laws. If you don’t believe in the prevalence of corporate welfare, then you might look into it.

  23. MM says:


    You easily bypass and come up with some generality. You seem to always have a clean answer to everything and yet this is probably one of the dirtiest situations you will ever have to face.

    Personally I find burying my family members over the years, most recently last summer, is far easier than the conundrum all of us are now facing.

    Glad you’ve got it figured out.

  24. Jean says:


    I don’t follow you. What have I bypassed? Where am I being too general?

    I don’t have everything figured out. I do have some red lines, though. I would never say to someone in their 60s+, “Friend, you’ve had a long life. You need to roll the dice with your life to ensure the economic future of the children of this country.” That sounds a lot like the euthanasia policies in place in some places. In fact, I might go a step further, and say that as a country we need the memories and wisdom of our senior citizens and should value their contributions for the future welfare of our country.

  25. Duane Arnold says:


    Let’s keep the anger to a minimum….

  26. Em says:

    Dr. Duane, i suspect some of Jean’s posts are meant to goad. Most i let pass, but calling all conservatives heartless?

    Jean, as to corporate welfare… let’s place the blame for that on our politicians and us what votes them in. 🙉
    There was a time we had balancing restraints.. My daughter tells me Regan messed that up, but both parties are culpable
    Got a solution?

  27. MM says:


    I’m not angry at anyone here.

    Yes I’m frustrated with the statements made pointing out the faults in people like Dr. Phil and yet those same people are guilty of the same uninformed generalizations.

    I’m frustrated with the lack of concern for the lives which will be lost because they are being ignored in the calamity being brought on them, not from the virus but by their fellow humans.

    I’m frustrated because there seems to be by many the impression some miraculous answer will show up, whether it be from governments or from heaven.

    I agree this has been more than mismanaged, but I refuse to point a finger and say others are at fault. But like all wars, yes there’s the analogy, it’s the conscripts who ultimately fight it and die for it. We are those conscripts and will be the ones to extend a hand to the needy.

    You and I are God’s miracle for those in need. I hope we won’t need to be drafted.

    Stop complaining about the Dr. Phil’s, social shaming others and then start suggesting how we will answer someone’s prayers.

    That’s it I have no more.

  28. Michael says:

    We’ll see how this works in real life…Georgia and Tennessee are opening up next week.
    It’ll take a month to see what the cost will be…

  29. Duane Arnold says:


    We have to try and deal with facts, not aspirations. I share your frustration, but frustration outside of what we know, albeit limited, will do little good…

  30. Re: Georgia… fitness centres, bowling alleys, massage parlors, barbers, and salons can reopen this weekend? Oh vey… yes, we will see.

    Here in Cali, we were discussing the supposed May opening today. I don’t think it will happen until June. I was at work today and will be tomorrow. Our manger wanted to return, but the overall site manger asked him if he could continue to work from home and was denied access. He does nothing in the lab. We’re approved day by day, by work in a lab, doing reports from home after gathering data. Masks, gloves, social distancing, and wiping everything down with alcohol or hydrogen peroxide wipes after we leave our stations. I like the H2O2 wipes. I took a few with me when I had to fill up on gas last week, to wipe down the pump.

  31. Jean says:

    “We’ll see how this works in real life…Georgia and Tennessee are opening up next week.”

    Apparently, S.C. is opening up many types of businesses and venues today.

    Out of love for my country and its people, I hope and pray that these states will reopen in a wise and careful manner.

    As you said, Michael, time will tell. The reports will come in and a grade will be given. The reopening of the various economies in this country will be the defining decisions of this generation of politicians.

    Here in Iowa, our politicians are doing everything they think they can and should to keep the nation’s access to fresh meat accessible. We have been hit hard by several outbreaks in meat processing plants. Nursing homes also continue to be a source of outbreaks.

  32. Mike Ehrmantrout says:

    Here in WA state..things seem to be going much better…the Governor started early with the shut down order, and made it stringent..shut the schools statewide very early, and no fishing or hunting..that ticked off a lot of folks…but it actually started in our state and we were #1, then #2 for awhile in terms of cases. We’ve steadily seen a downward trend…we are now #16 in terms of infections and deaths. So it does appear to be moving in the right direction. As for me, this is hard..but honestly, I’ve seen worse in terms of living with a degree of deprivation, and I get a little irritated at the folks whining because they can’t get a haircut or a massage or whatever, claiming their very liberties are being taken away. *Eyeroll* So you have to sit and watch Netflix all day. I do feel for the parents of young children home schooling. God bless everyone.

  33. Duane Arnold says:


    Good report… many thanks!

  34. bob1 says:

    One of the advantages of knowing history is being able to put things in context. I’d say we are extremely fortunate to be able to help our fellow man with this, and so easily. In the past you might have shown your loyalty to your your comrades finding you dead in a mud puddle!

    I’m not trying to be cavalier, just pointing out how many advantages we have with this pandemic.

  35. directambiguity says:

    “It is imperative that we pray that God raise up some leaders with the wisdom to solve them.”


    Maybe we could just not pay the ones we have until they solve the problems.

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