Monday, March 16, 2020


Matt Colvin, a Tennessee man who saw an opportunity when COVID-19 fears sparked panic buying of hand sanitizer, is facing an investigation for his actions, and the stockpile that he didn't donate has been confiscated for redistribution.

“We will not tolerate price gouging in this time of exceptional need, and we will take aggressive action to stop it,” Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery III of Tennessee said in a news release.
Because Attorneys General like to be able to stand up and slap someone down in the name of protecting the public.

[Mr. Colvin] said the outpouring of hate has been scary for him and his family. He said people have incessantly called his cellphone, posted his address online and sent pizzas to his home. His inbox was flooded with ugly messages, he said. One email he shared with The Times said: “Your behavior is probably going to end up with someone killing you and your wife and your children.”
It remains to be seen if any investigation will be opened into the threats and harassment. I'm not holding my breath.

Death threats have become just a part of the online landscape in the United States. And for people who do Bad Things, like selling things for lots of money that people think should be inexpensive, the threat of murder is often spoken of as justified.

But in the end, the calculus is simple. Taking advantage of a panic to make a few bucks (or even a few hundred thousand bucks) is taken more seriously than threatening to kill someone. I wonder if, as a society, there is an understanding as to why.

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