Cydney Baron

We are not telling you to be afraid, we’re asking you to be informed.

It’s inevitable that when a news outlet shares updated pandemic or protest information that they will instantly be met with at least one commenter accusing them of spreading hate for fear.

While I cannot speak for all news sources I can say that far from preaching paranoia, I am encouraging my community to embolden themselves with the information they need to keep themselves and their families safe.

In tornado season we tell where the tornado is and when experts think you’ll need to take cover. We’re not telling you to be afraid, we’re giving you all of the information the experts think you need to know to weather the storm.

Sure, there will be some who hold that “stirring things up does no good.” But I beg to differ.

In the case of racial tension and riots, “stirring things up” has sparked much-needed conversations. It has served to shine a light on our country’s values and history as seen by everyone who has lived it, not just one group. “Stirring things up” has provoked people to think through their beliefs and better articulate their arguments in defense of those beliefs. It has given parents an opportunity to begin important dialogues with their children.

Where the pandemic is concerned, sharing up-to-date information is a matter of individual and community safety. We want our community to know what the experts are saying, what precautionary measures they’re advising, and how the pandemic is impacting their neighbors. We want to share what community leaders are doing throughout this time. Ultimately, we know that decisions are yours to make. If, for example, you choose not to wear a mask, we want it to be because you made an educated choice of what was best for you and not because you didn’t have all the information.

Yes, locally the survival rate is high—a fact pointed out by most of the commenters who believe we’re “spreading fear.” That may be the case, but we’re still going to share information of local, state and national importance. Statistically, most people survive tornado warnings but we will likely never hear a meteorologist say: “98% of you will survive this so we’re not going to tell you who is in the path of the tornado.” Even those who are not afraid of contracting the virus deserve to understand the impact on local economy, on 401Ks, on the upcoming election. The effects of this pandemic are far-reaching and we would be doing a disservice to our community by not sharing that information.

In the midst of all that is happening in our world, we’ve found good news, too. We’ve found people coming together, people working to make a difference, and we’re sharing those stories, too.

In uncertain and chaotic times, a lack of vital information would do more harm, than good.

Cydney Baron is the editor of the Claremore Progress.

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