Editor's Note: Daniel Uhlfelder made headlines when he donned an all-black grim reaper costume in a bid to make his fellow Floridians and tourists take seriously the threat posed by the coronavirus pandemic. Uhlfelder channels the mythological character once again in this opinion piece. The views expressed are those of the writer and not of InsideEdition.com.
It’s not easy being the Angel of Death. Very few people want to hang out with you, you rarely get invited to people’s homes and never am I welcome to join you on vacation.
Normally, I am delighted when Government and politicians slash spending on healthcare or take steps to furlough employees who have their incomes and benefits cut. I revel in the hardship and austerity their policies cause and the devastating impact this has on the elderly, the young and the most vulnerable in communities.
Under normal circumstances, I would be shoulder-to-shoulder with your elected officials as they make decision after decision which prioritizes private wealth over public health and, at the behest of high income lobbyists, channels money to multinationals and offshore investors at the expense of "Mom and Pop" stores, restaurant staff and cleaning crews. I am normally ecstatic to see a computer system set up at a huge cost repeatedly crash and fail to let Florida families and unemployed workers even register for the basic safety net of unemployment checks.
These are the conditions which I favor, but this now doesn’t seem like a fair fight.
Residents of beach-side communities have been diligently following the rules and advice of medical professionals – social distancing, lots of Lysol, face masks and staying home but for the essential trips and visits. So, it doesn’t seem fair that their efforts to protect themselves and their loved ones are now being undermined by the politicians’ misguided decision to open the beaches and start a tourist stampede - many from Georgia and Louisiana, states identified as COVID-19 "hot-spots."
I have long considered the beaches to be my least fruitful hunting grounds. The salt water, fresh air, physical exercise, and mental happiness this place generates does me no favors. Access to these wonderlands of "health and vitality" is normally a "no-go zone" for me, except to pick off those who fail to heed the lifeguards’ warnings and flags.
Local communities are in long protracted fights to make these beaches open for all. They want to spread the benefits of good health to as many people as possible. They are pushing back on the greedy and privileged few who want to see beaches closed off, privatized and access restricted to those with the money not those who need them most – the young and the elderly.
My recent trip to Florida’s beaches taught me two things.
First, the people want to "Stay Safe" and they want to be able to responsibly enjoy the weather and the beautiful environment where they call home.
But secondly, they are being mislead by their Government and politicians into thinking now is the time to return to normality. They are being deceived into ignoring the stark reality that by opening the beaches to tens of thousands of tourists - many untested and from infected communities - you are inviting death and disease to walk amongst you.
I know. I was there.
The Florida Grim Reaper
Daniel Uhlfelder is an attorney and the founder of Make My Day PAC. He lives in Florida with his wife and children. Of his decision to write his op-ed in the voice of the angel of death, Uhlfelder said: "I chose to write this piece as the Florida Grim Reaper so people will understand the severity of this global pandemic. We are approaching almost 100,000 reported deaths in this country, but there is no plan in place to stop people from suffering and dying."