Neighborhood Narcs

Getting fresh air is all we have left. Looks like the neighborhood busybodies want to shut that down, too.

by Kerry Dougherty

I always liked the idea of Neighborhood Watch. You know, loosely organized groups of residents who keep an eye on things.

Sort of like homeland security for your street.

We don’t have an organized watch in my neighborhood, but we do look out for each other.

Here’s an example: I remember walking my dogs late one night when I saw a man I didn’t recognize trying to open a neighbor’s front door. It was locked and I saw him duck around the back.

Despite the fact it was after midnight, McKerry the Crime Dog went home, grabbed her phone, woke the neighbors only to learn that the “intruder” was the husband’s brother, visiting from out of town. They’d left the back door open for him.

“So sorry,” I whispered and hung up.

With the coronavirus on the loose we have a new, less friendly Neighborhood Watch at work: Busybodies with camera phones, determined to photograph, post to social media and circulate photos of folks they reckon are violating the six-foot social distancing rule. On beaches. In parks. Near ice cream stands.

I noticed my first Covid-19 tattletale a week or so ago when someone – either on Facebook or Next Door, can’t remember which – reported seeing too many cars in a driveway. This snitch helpfully named the street.

“What are they doing in there?” he or she wanted to know.

None of your business, I wanted to reply, but thought better of it.

This creepy activity has accelerated in recent days.

Over the weekend I received a complaint from a concerned reader of an open-air garden store parking lot that was jammed with cars.

News flash: I don’t care. It’s spring. People want to plant things. Let them.

Am I the only one who finds this sudden willingness to spy on each other a tad chilling?

The busybodies were out in force this weekend, snapping photos of beachgoers in bunches and posting them to Facebook.

I was on the Ocean View beach in Norfolk Saturday afternoon to see the USNS Comfort leave port. It was warm and blindingly sunny and lots of folks were out. I met friends there, but we drove separately. We arranged our beach chairs so far apart we could barely hear each other speak. Everywhere we looked others were doing the same.

Even so, it was a respite of relaxation in a stressful time.

I don’t doubt that some others were less careful, especially in Virginia Beach. Shoot, I’ve seen the photographic evidence. But there are better ways to get people to comply with social distance guidelines than having citizens turn informer.

For one thing, parents should control their kids during a pandemic. Mothers and fathers need to know where their offspring are and what they’re doing. Parents are presumably at home now so it shouldn’t be that hard to make sure teens understand what’s at stake if they act like fools with this virus raging.

Have a come-to-Jesus talk with your spawn. If it doesn’t sink in, take the dang car keys.

The City of Virginia Beach has never been shy about plastering notices all over the place telling beachgoers what they can and cannot do. Time to order huge social distancing signs – something like Six Feet To Beat The Virus – and post them EVERYWHERE. Especially along entrances to beaches and the boardwalk.

Cops should be issuing stern orders to break it up to folks congregating in large groups.

Excuse my cynicism, but it seems the goal of some of these amateur sleuths isn’t so much to get people to behave but to goad the governor into issuing some sort of draconian shelter-in-place order that closes the beaches, boardwalks and every single shop and take-out joint in the commonwealth.


Some are actually on social media calling for martial law to trap Virginians inside their homes.


People are scared. I get it. No one wants to get sick or to inadvertently spread pathogens. But most of us are social distancing. We’re washing our hands until they’re raw. We shop infrequently and we mostly stay home. When we’re at the supermarket, we give everyone a wide berth. We definitely aren’t going to restaurants, bars, movie theaters, gyms, bowling alleys or nail salons, since they’ve all closed. Our lives have changed dramatically and not for the better.

Going outside is all we have left. Looks like some neighborhood narcs want to shut that down, too.

When a virus is on the loose we want people to be as healthy as possible. With the warm temperatures, people ought to be outdoors: running, biking, walking and yes, even going to the beach.

You don’t boost your immunity by sitting inside watching TV with your hand deep in a bag of Doritos.

And you don’t improve your state of mind by spying on your neighbors.

Share this article


(comments below)


(comments below)


26 responses to “Neighborhood Narcs”

  1. Steve Haner Avatar
    Steve Haner

    On the other hand, if they want to spend their energy harassing hoarders, ratting out profiteers, that I might applaud.

    1. LarrytheG Avatar

      yep – there is a bit of a feeling of ” if I have to suffer, you do too” !!! 😉

      I camp and am registered to camping groups and there is an ongoing back
      and forth about whether or not people should try to camp and it’s already
      led to a bunch of closures Nationally and in many states because of al lot
      of folks who felt that they could escape the epidemic by taking a long vacation and it’s turning out that a lot folks see this as selfish and endangering others if you’re actually moving from place to place and interacting with a lot of others in the process – it’s reall _not_ “sheltering in place”.

      We have a very nice walking trail in Fredericksburg and people who are tired of being cooped up are walking it – more than ever before – and the city is warning of closure if the crowds don’t thin.

      We walk in a park – have for many years but in the last two weeks I have never seen so many people – not one or two – but clots of people – some families but others 10-15 in more than one car… and trash and dog poo in plastic bags thrown to the side of the road – I’m expecting closure there also.

      1. Nancy_Naive Avatar

        I have a live-aboard boat capable of long offshore passages. But, where to go? Just out? Better to watch reruns of horse races.

  2. Nancy_Naive Avatar

    “Have a come-to-Jesus talk with your spawn. If it doesn’t sink in, take the dang car keys.”

    Are you going to drive them back to class in Lynchburg?

  3. djrippert Avatar

    Once upon a time Angela Merkel claimed that 70% of Germans would eventually be infected by the Coronavirus. Once upon a time the WHO claimed that COVID-19 would have a 3.4% fatality rate. Extrapolations were inevitable. 70% of Virginia’s 8.5M people is 5.95M. 3.4% of 5.95M is 202,300. Over 200,000 deaths in Virginia alone? Yes, that justifies a lot of liberty erasing government intervention.

    Nowadays the only people who seem willing to make predictions about COVID-19 deaths by state are International Health Metrics and they say 2,053 Virginians will die of COVID-19 by August 4, 2020. That’s a far cry from 200,000+.

    We now know the most vulnerable are the elderly, those with health issues, etc.Retirement / nursing homes are locked down and heavily monitored. People with COVID-19 are quarantined. Those who came into contact with COVID-19 patients are isolated. Navy hospital ships have been dispatched to both coasts. Field hospitals have been constructed. Industrial companies which had not been compelled to make ventilators are now being compelled to make ventilators (we’ll see how that goes).

    The early government reaction in the face of endless unknowns was warranted but now what?

    The CDC estimates that 61,000 Americans died of the flu in the 2017 – 2018 season, longe before Coronavirus became a household word. Few even noticed. Would the number have been 30,000 if we shut down the economy? Who knows but nobody even considered shutting down the economy.

    It’s time to start planning a step-by-step reopening of the US and Virginia economies. The risks are understood.

    1. LarrytheG Avatar

      I agree with some but disagree with other – primarily because virtually every single mainstream epidemiologists is saying that this virus is different and deadly and if we underestimate it – many people will die that did not need to.

      The other thing is the narrative about the “elderly” as if most of them lived in nursing homes and that simply is not the case.

      Question – how many people are over age 60:

      55 to 59 years 13,469,237
      60 to 64 years 10,805,447
      65 to 74 years 18,390,986

      Question – how many people live in nursing homes?

      About 1.5 million people live in nursing homes in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And more than 10 million Americans — mostly people 65 or older — need long-term services and support to help them with daily activities,

      So – we can’t really tell 30 million people that they cannot leave their homes not even to get groceries or doctor appointments, or get haircuts, etc.

      We’re trying to make decisions on impressions not data.

  4. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
    Reed Fawell 3rd

    “With the coronavirus on the loose we have a new, less friendly Neighborhood Watch at work: Busybodies with camera phones, determined to photograph, post to social media and circulate photos of folks they reckon are violating the six-foot social distancing rule. On beaches. In parks. Near ice cream stands.”


    A significant portion of any large cohort of human beings truly enjoy and thrive on being activists players enforcing a police state. That is why we have so many police states. For example, your typical radical leftists, or not so radical ones who empower them.

    1. Snitches get stitches.

      1. djrippert Avatar

        Or end up in shallow ditches.

  5. Jane Twitmyer Avatar
    Jane Twitmyer

    Sounds awful … so few people up here in the mountains we just don’t have that problem!
    BUT I would suggest that if the Pres had not been in denial for so long we might not have so many people that don’t listen to our scientists.
    Just call me “lying Nancy”

    1. Nancy_Naive Avatar

      He contributes to, but is not the cause of, science denial. Science denial is easier than learning.

      1. Jane Twitmyer Avatar
        Jane Twitmyer

        That referral to ‘lying Nancy’ was to Nancy Pelosi …

        1. Nancy_Naive Avatar

          Okay, so?

          1. Jane Twitmyer Avatar
            Jane Twitmyer

            Not you … Nancy
            Your comment made me think you might have thought I was critizing you.

        2. Nancy_Naive Avatar

          Feel free. Not getting a volcano sacrifice.

  6. Fear is rarely the driver of our best actions.
    As someone who relies on beach as my “yard,” I’m frustrated that neighbors are calling officials, asking to shut beaches and parks. I neither underestimate this virus nor ignore any measures to slow its spread—have been doing so since Mar 9. I also don’t underestimate the drastic measures already undertaken—we have ceased to function normally to stem spread. People will die, and the few who are too many and too close on beach will only move to a living room. I can’t control that, and don’t believe that social distance can be 100% perfectly executed. And it probably doesn’t need to be.
    But keeping everyone inside is worse for transmission. Conduct yourself as if you are infected and stop the hyperbole of neighbor narc.

  7. I guess I’m lucky in that almost no one can see what we’re doing on the majority of my family’s property (without trespassing, of course). I have one neighbor who can see my house during winter time but they, like we, mind their own business.

  8. djrippert Avatar

    Larry Hogan issued a stay-at-home order for the state of Maryland a couple of hours ago. It sounded pretty harsh but then I heard some of the details. Outdoors exercise is OK for example.

    However, the differences in action between Maryland and Virginia are starting to widen again.


    Stay at home order: Not implemented
    Educational facilities closed: Yes
    Non-essential services closed: Not implemented
    Travel severely restricted: Not implemented


    Stay at home order: March 30
    Educational facilities closed: Yes
    Non-essential services closed: March 23
    Travel severely limited: Not implemented

    As residents of Maryland’s most populous jurisdiction (Montgomery County)
    and Virginia’s most populous jurisdiction (Fairfax County) look across the narrow Potomac River at one another they must wonder, “Is our governor right or is their governor right?”

    1. Do you know if the governor of Maryland has closed the metro stations located in Maryland?

      With all of the [stated] concern about crowds and large numbers of people in confined areas, I have been continually surprised that the nation’s mass transit systems have not been shut down.

  9. I can tell you that a few hundred Richmonders had the same idea Sunday to head to Maymont Park. Here’s a photo I took of the Italian Garden. The park is huge, so it never got crowded. Park management closed off sections where space was tight and people might cluster together. Visitors had enough sense to keep social distance.

    I’m very glad the Governor’s stay-at-home order allows for people to engage in outdoor activity.

    1. “allows”

      Am I the only one who bristles at the thought that our magnanimous governor is allowing us to wander through public parks?

      1. LarrytheG Avatar

        take a break. geeze. Northam is doing what most other governors are doing and what the Feds are doing. about their parks.

        Here’s the problem. WE People are pissed off at what has happened and get even more exercised when the Govt steps in and makes it even tougher for us. Why the NERVE of our leaders, we are a “free” people and we do not put up with this crap!

        But we really sound like a bunch of bratty kids not adults… in a very serious time where we really need to grow up and deal with this as adults.

        We’re getting a glimpse into how many of us feel about ourselves – and that picture is not flattering for some of us. There are others that are rising to the occasion and do remind me of who we, as Americans are capable of being when the chips are down.

  10. Gubner Gump’s stay-at-home order does nothing but shut down Liberty, restrict the beaches and limit Campgrounds. Yawn, nothing has changed.

  11. Nancy_Naive Avatar

    Isn’t Pro-Life just an extreme example of meddlesome busybodiness?

  12. johnrandolphofroanoke Avatar

    After June 10th how many jobs will be left to return to?

    1. Nancy_Naive Avatar

      All of them. You could shut down for a year and it outdated spin up in a month.

Leave a Reply