Over the weekend a handful of Southern California beaches were opened to allow desperate people to get outside and into the sun after being locked up for more than a month due to the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic.
Surfers surfed, boogie boarders boogied, and swimmers swam at Newport and Huntington Beaches. People were happy. They laid in the sun and listened to music, walked, jogged, and communed.
Predictably, some people pushed the envelope of their new-found freedom by collecting on the beach with their friends, some keeping a six-foot distance, while others remained in their family groups of six or fewer people.
The City will continue to provide the current level of public access to beaches and parks this weekend. Police officers, lifeguards and park patrol staff will be watching for group gatherings and other behaviors that defy the state order. For more: https://t.co/fm2WYTo6G1 pic.twitter.com/U8g9q5OiNB
— City of Newport Beach (@newportbeachgov) April 23, 2020
And equally predictably, photographers and scolds brought their best Karen-like admonitions and telephoto lenses to rewrite the history of what actually happened on the beaches of death!
As in Jacksonville, Florida, where a photographer using a longer telephoto lens made the beaches look more densely packed than they actually were. One photographer got the iconic photo from Newport Beach, apparently sold it to Getty, boxed it up, and called it the truth. It wasn’t.
Photographer Mindy Schauer posted this cool-looking photo of the beach crammed with people at 3:30 in the afternoon.
Photo taken from the Newport Beach Pier on 4/25/20 with a 300mm lens at 3:30 pm. Photo by: Mindy Schauer/scng
— Mindy Schauer (@themindyschauer) April 26, 2020
Everyone used this photo to depict the density of the people on the beaches of Newport Beach. The Newport City Council has called a special meeting to discuss closing the beaches again based on this photo and the outrage it caused.
A special City Council meeting has been scheduled for 3 p.m. Tuesday, April 28 with 3 agenda items related to coronavirus response and recovery, including developing a committee to guide business reopening and temporary weekend beach closures. For more: https://t.co/zxsu661QaH.
— City of Newport Beach (@newportbeachgov) April 26, 2020
It was the same script as Jacksonville, Florida.
Remember this photo?
— Colleen Beckett (@cbecketts) April 19, 2020
As I explained, the beaches were not nearly this crowded in Jacksonville, but that didn’t stop people from calling those beachgoers “morons.” The Mayor of Laguna Beach even invoked the fake news from Jacksonville to justify keeping his city’s beaches closed.
That’s what a long telephoto lens will do.
In fact, this is what the beaches looked like at the hottest point of the day, one hour later in Newport Beach.
RIGHT NOW: This is the scene from #Air7HD in Newport Beach, CA as the #COVID19 death toll surges in Southern California
— Chris Cristi (@abc7chriscristi) April 24, 2020
Granted, some people were too close and we have no idea if they were family members, which was allowable, but you’ll note that many people observed social distancing rules.
This guy noticed something was not quite right about the media depiction.
(btw it's a 1.5 miles & a 30 min walk) pic.twitter.com/WRnaEZ1Jnn
— Jon Paul Uritis (@JpPope) April 27, 2020
Still, few saw those photos showing more social distancing like this person, who saw only the Getty image.
This person had a subtler message.
— Dar Dixon (@dixon_dar) April 26, 2020
Conservative writer, thinker, and movie-maker Dinesh D’Souza suggested we find out what happens before damning these people to hell.
Instead of making idiotic speculations—“You’re all gonna die”—let’s see how much herd immunity has developed and what the risks of a second wave of infections really are. Observation over media hysteria! https://t.co/px0QJzWAB6
— Dinesh D'Souza (@DineshDSouza) April 26, 2020
This guy had a message for those second-guessing his decision to be on the beach:
This guy sums up what many of us are feeling. pic.twitter.com/SWj7XDpsVR
— vestigial Brimley twin trucker hat (@dirtytruckerhat) April 26, 2020
The moral of the story is that there appear to be fewer careful consumers of news than there are people on that beach.
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