Daniel Aldrich in Experience Magazine: I Flew to Texas to Watch Bull Riding on an Aircraft Carrier During COVID
by Matt Crossman, Experience Magazine
Mitchell pops off the ground and circles around to the back of the bullpen, where he sits down and catches his breath. He’s fine, or at least as fine as a man can be after he gets thrown off of a bull, lands on his head, and then gets rammed. Even by Professional Bull Riders standards, the crash is spectacular. It’s historic, even, because of where and when it happened. Mitchell is the first cowboy in the history of the world to get thrown off of a bull …
On the flight deck of an aircraft carrier …
… in the middle of a pandemic.
“The reality is human beings are social creatures,” says Daniel Aldrich, director of the Security and Resilience Studies program at Northeastern University, who has extensively studied the relationships among social connections, death, and disasters. Early in the pandemic, Aldrich gave interviews in which he criticized the term “social distancing” because he thought it sent the exact wrong message. He prefers “physical distancing.”
Aldrich points to research showing that participation in a community is crucial to helping humans endure disasters. If we all locked ourselves in our homes and never left, that would kill the virus. But we would pay a steep price for losing our social networks, because it’s not a zero-sum game, no matter what histrionic Twitter scolds might say.