Force Majeure

Yes, “Force Majeure” is defined as an unexpected and disrupted event that may excuse one party from a contract. In our present circumstances of the pandemic panic, I think that I will change “contract” to “contact”.

We all need contact unless we succumb to the “failure to thrive syndrome”.

Yes again, food, clothing, and shelter are the necessities for life, but growth (emotional, psychological and spiritual) also depends on “contact” with our fellow sisters and brothers on this planet we call home. We love to be loved and we love to love others.  (Think of the second greatest commandment).

The various jurisdictions who have imposed quarantine guidelines limiting our constitutional rights got it backwards.

Quarantines are for the sick and it is indeed tyranny for the well.  In good old Ben Franklin’s letter to the Pennsylvania colonial governor (that was really about taxes) is a line that is often quoted:

Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.

In Gumshoe’s humble opinion, I think that Ben’s quote is relevant for our present-day circumstance. Another quote that I have taken to heart during my police career is from Professor John A. Shedd’s book, “Salt from My Attic”:

A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are for.

I think that the professor is telling us to get off our collective butts and go out and do the things we want and need to do! (Unless you have underlying and compromising health issues). Sitting around only cause you to rot like an uneaten banana. Before Gumshoe steps off this soapbox, I have a true tale from the Vietnam era, circa 1968. It was reported that an  unidentified U.S. Army Major told a news reporter:

It became necessary to destroy the town to save it.

The major was talking about the grim decision that commanders made when the Viet Cong overran a city in the Mekong Delta (about 45 miles southwest of Saigon).  The decision was to aerial bomb and to artillery shell the city of 35,000 civilians regardless of casualties.

Somehow this past paradigm seems like what is happening right now to us physically and economically.

Do we really need to destroy (maybe decimate is a better word?) our human character and livelihoods.  Life is always a calculated risk no matter what.  None of us will leave this earth alive unless you are an astronaut.

I pray:  “God help all of us and please don’t abandon us in this time of need”.  Amen!

Remember to love the ones who love you and “especially” the ones who don’t.


Danny Pitocco
Danny Pitocco
RETIRED (as a Detective with the Snohomish County Sherriff’s Department, Washington State), Danny has over forty years of law enforcement experience across city, county, state and federal levels of government, including service as a Special Agent for the DEA, US Department of Justice. He’s a decorated law enforcement veteran, and recipient of the "Detective of the Year" award for Snohomish County, Danny is a certified composite artist and has testified as an expert witness in the field of narcotics and modus operandi of particular crimes in state and federal courts in California, and has given testimony before federal grand juries. Danny served four years of active duty in the US Marine Corps and loves Jesus as his personal savior.

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  1. My thoughts on this are that we have to get back to normal. Whether we wait six months or we wait till tomorrow the COVID19 virus will still be with us just Like the flu that we don’t hear the stats of how many die of that every year. But we are learning and we are living our lives without fear. It was right for the government to shut everything down for the length that it has to slow down the spreading. Families probably got together regardless of the shut down. But we have to move forward. I think there will be a new normal.

    • In deed a new “normal” will evolve Linnie. All lives are “essential” and all jobs are “essential”. Folks will automatically adjust as all change is inevitable virus or not!

  2. Danny: As is so often the case, when the pendulum of change moves it generally moves too far. I think in some cases that occurred in this current crisis. It is hard to know what the right level of reaction is or should be even if all the facts were known, and I doubt they were in this instance. What is yet to come, the re-opening of our economy will be even trickier and it is unlikely that every level of government will get it right. The saddest part of this whole thing is to watch the two major parties and the media play out their partisan positions to the detriment of the citizens and the welfare of our country.

    • Politicians as well as partisan pundits who put anything else before what’s best for America (Americans) are misguided at best; self-serving at worst.

      Lincoln has it right (based upon scripture), “a house divided cannot stand”.

      Thanks Ken for your wise insight as always my friend.

  3. In my humble opinion, I respectfully disagree with your humble opinion Mr. Gumshoe.

    Social distancing is not the same as quarantine, and it’s not just for compromised populations.

    “This virus does not discriminate based on religion, race or gender. The spread of the virus will only be halted when we as human beings come to practice social distancing while supporting our communities, loving our neighbors as yourself.”

    • Dear Anonymous, thanks for your pithy comment, but perhaps you missed my larger points, i.e., surrendering our civil liberties (refer to the first amendment); losing livelihoods (refer to self worth and providing for ones family); personal risk (refer to everyday life). Social distancing has its place for “compromised” individuals (health wise or for the faint of heart).

    • Oh my. I may not agree with you, but my thoughtful (and respectful) comment was neither pithy nor anonymous.

    • Dear R. Marie,
      My apologies regarding addressing you as Anonymous. You made some valid points on the “micro level”in which there is no disagreement between us. My view was on the “macro level”.