The Kilgore Christmas parade has been canceled, and the response from the community was overwhelming support. We agree.
Maybe it was the photos and videos of the “A Very Derrick Christmas” event in Kilgore on Nov. 14 that did it. Maybe it is the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the area, maybe it was hospitalizations. Whatever the reason, we believe it is the right call.
Yes, it was an outside event, but people were 10-deep trying to get a glimpse of the events, and there was a mix of onlookers from infants to age 90 in the crowd. Masks were as common as the Easter Bunny. But coughs in the brisk night air were as loud as the laughter.
It’s apparent that if we keep having events like this, it will solidify ending a football season for Longview, Tyler, Carthage, Kilgore or any other area team. It is another step toward kids being home all day and doing remote learning.
We all want to get back to “normal,” but it is still too early. Why? Virus numbers are going up. People are getting sick, and hospital beds in Longview and Tyler are filling up again. And not just any bed — ICU beds.
We would encourage organizers in Gladewater, Hallsville and Henderson, which are still planning Christmas parades, to reconsider.
The fact cases are rising and more people are going to hospitals is a concern. It’s because East Texas is one of the best places in America to get a quick, free COVID-19 test. Why have our numbers been so high? Available testing, and a sick populous.
Longview Mayor Andy Mack took some criticism for not approving events on city property. He is doubling-down on that.
The list not only shows bed count in the hospital, including the ICU, it also has names. With names come faces — names and faces the mayor recognizes and knows. As he is looking at that list, doctors and medical experts are asking him, “Why are gatherings still taking place inside and outside?”
Let us remember one thing about this state we take for granted: The government has rules, the government makes legislative decisions, but the government is not telling you what to do at Thanksgiving, or while you pray, or while you get married and have a reception.
The government is not stopping a student section from having a good time at a football game, shopping on Black Friday, shopping at your favorite local business, going to your favorite restaurant or walking your dog in a city park.
In Texas, the government trusts we, the people, to make the right decisions, to use common sense, and the trade-off is the Texas economy and way of life are better than any of the other 49 states.
However, if we do not make better decisions as Texans and local officials, 2021 could start as a repeat of March 2020.
And that’s not the Christmas wish we had in mind.