Farewell to the Handshake
Greetings are forever changed. Due to the invisible enemy called Coronavirus, humans will no longer be able to grasp each other's hands as a symbol of mutual respect and admiration. Just as September 11, 2001 changed the manner in which Americans continued their daily lives, so will the post COVID-19 society.
So what will take the place of a handshake? Over the years we’ve seen the adoption of the “fist-pump”, the 80’s “high-five” and the 90’s Oakland A’s “arm bashing”. Maybe nothing at all. Maybe the post corona people will bow to each other, or simply nod in recognition.
But what will we lose? Is touching another human being at all beneficial? As a private investigator I’ve developed the skill of reading people by their nonverbal cues. Oftentimes, I read their eyes, their body behavior or how they carry themselves. With various interactions I’ve been able to learn a lot from the way one shakes my hand. Whether its firm, soft, limp, turned to the right, or early release says much about the person's attitude and behavior. For example, someone who rotates their hand slightly after grasping mine so that their hand rests on top, is an indication they want to exert dominance. Conversely, if the grasp is limp, or not completely web to web, this may be an indication of lack of confidence or uneasiness in their current environment.
Thus, people like me that rely on nonverbal cues will sorely miss this tool. On the other hand, not having to touch another person's nasty hand may prevent possible death from the invisible enemy...so that’s a good thing. -RJD
Policing the COVID-19 Society
I used to really enjoy police work. I would look forward to coming to work, donning my uniform and patrolling the town in my cruiser. COVID-19 has changed that. In my 2020 book Abolish the Police I outline several police practices that could be replaced by the use of technology. I argued these practices would be implemented in the all-to-distant future in an effort to eliminate the need for police service. When I wrote it, I never thought they would be adopted so soon and under these circumstances.
For example, due to Coronavirus many police departments have discouraged placing suspects under arrest in favor of summonsing. According to The MetroWest Daily News in Massachusetts “Police departments across the region are issuing summonses for nonviolent crimes rather than arresting suspects.”
They went on to justify the new policy by blaming the courts. “With courts closed to all but emergency hearings and arraignments for the foreseeable future, the new practice will lead to fewer people spending time in police department holding cells.”
Notwithstanding, first responders including police are required to show up for work and respond to calls. Many of those calls are medical emergencies that require an immediate response. COVID-19 requires all of us to “gown up” before offering medical aid. What a pain. In effect, response is marginally delayed to everybody because of this invisible enemy.
In spite of the new staffing and gown protocols, I tried to think of why policing the Coronavirus society was so depressing. I realized the primary reason was because of the lack of personal interactions with the public. I never thought I’d admit this, but I really enjoy communicating and interacting with members of the general public. However, with the highly infectious monster, social distancing is the order of the day. Nobody wants to approach their fellow man to share a joke or a cordial greeting.
One welcome byproduct I’ve noticed are more waves I’ve received. More people have offered a friendly hand wave toward my marked cruiser as I drive by. The only other time I remember so many was the weeks after 9/11.
MetroWest Daily News Article:
Blog posts are written by Rob Disario and include opinion editorials about policing and private investigations. Other topics include tips and tricks to protect yourself, thoughts for today, new products and product reviews. Rob's opinions are his own which are protected by the first amendment to the Constitution of the United States and do not reflect any other entity, affiliation or person.