Tales from the ARVInn 1

by: Robert Nalley | Complete Story | Last updated May 30, 2024


Chapter 7
The Government Gets Involved


Chapter Description: As with anything affecting many people, governments must respond. For this event, those responses led to years of trouble and disturbance for many places. Eventually, sound judgement led to settlements that were helpful.


Tales from the ARVInn--Government Gets Involved

 

When the Age Regression Virus first struck in 2048, the US government, along with many others, first reacted by clamping down on travel to and from the countries where it appeared.  This slowed the spread internationally, but eventually the virus made its way into the country.  By the end of 2049, cases had appeared in all but two states.  The economic dislocation caused by the worldwide trade shutdown persisted for another fifteen years in varying degrees around the world.

The rapid spread and unknown nature of the virus, along with an end result which terrified many, led to all kinds of extra-legal reactions.  Like with anything unknown, wild and fanciful exaggerations were soon spread by many who had no idea of their truth.  There were cases of shootings and beatings of victims or those accused of creating/spreading the virus.  Some communities attempted to shut themselves off from all contact with the outside, leading to areas where it was closer to an insurrection than a health problem.  Most of these situations resolved themselves as people began to need things which were no longer available, although there are a few areas which remain self-restricted even today.

For the most part, the government initially reacted cautiously, but used emergency powers to provide medical assistance, once the needs were discovered.  Mask requirements and extreme sanitation provisions were soon in place.  As the medical profession quickly developed treatments, including sedation and intravenous feeding, based on the earlier experiences in other countries, materials for these were given high priority and made available as fast as they could be obtained and distributed.  That this happened largely in a matter of weeks was responsible for greatly reducing the number of “child-like” individuals resulting from poor medical treatment, as opposed to a number of poorer economies, where the initial number of such cases was quite high and still serves as a drag on their societies to the present time. 1                       

One of the reasons the government acted rapidly, even though cautiously, was that several prominent political figures or their family members contracted the virus.  Additionally, several major political contributors also were affected by the virus, either directly or through a close family member.   Their ‘pull’ might have been self-interested, but it aided many others more quickly as a result.   2

What to do with the recovered victims was the cause of much public debate.  For many, putting the victims away was proclaimed, lest they infect others.  This soon was abandoned, as victims were found to be unable to spread the virus by themselves.  Others simply wanted to treat victims as they appeared, as children, taking away their status as adults.  Some of those loudest in proclaiming this approach quickly retracted their statements as they or someone close to them contracted ARV. 

As with any disturbance to the established order, there were those who sought to build power and/or wealth from it.  Financial scams, for treatment or cures or prevention, went into high gear, as were the fund-raising efforts of those who sought to make it a political cause, blaming the opposition party or some other country or group for an ‘attempt to subvert our nation.’  The rather apolitical nature of the disease, along with plentiful statements from all manner of medical experts and thoughtful leadership at the national level, took the wind out of those sails as well. 

At the national level, attempts were made as soon as 2052 to pass legislation aimed at protecting ARV victims.  There were so many conflicting ideas, medical and political, that it took a decade for meaningful legislation to pass.  In the interim, many local and state ordinances, statutes and laws were put into place to help victims, which eventually gave direction to the national effort.

Other countries were even more poorly prepared than the US.  Armed conflicts broke out around the world, as uneasy neighbors blamed each other for spreading the disease.  Often, they gave new meaning to the term “child soldiers” as victims either defended themselves or were conscripted into the armies. Some were simply continuations of religious/tribal conflicts that had been going on for decades or more; others were cynical political efforts to steal resources from a neighboring country.  Revolutions broke out in several countries, especially those with repressive regimes.  Some were helped along when a strongman contracted ARV and was removed.  Others happened when ideology couldn’t cope with the new reality and demands for personal freedom. 

The United Nations was able to help settle some conflicts, but others simply drug on until they ground to a halt in exhaustion.  The net result of the violence was nothing more than financial ruin for many and millions of needless deaths.  Several failed states resulted from this time, a few of which have still not recovered.  Other situations were solved by the mergers of previously independent nations, either under the leadership of one or by various forms of unions.  In Africa, the Mali League and the Republic of East Africa are two examples of new national structures which have since improved the lot of their citizens.  3                       

In the US, Virginia (2056), California (2056) and Massachusetts (2057) all passed strong protection acts to safeguard the rights of ARV victims.  Norfolk, New York City, Miami-Dade County, Santa Fe and a number of other cities of various sizes also established local protections.  Much of the Age Regression Victims Act of 2062 took its cue from these, along with ideas brought forth in other states and localities.  A 2054 federal court case in Illinois also helped establish a precedent by recognizing that ARV victims met the disability requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act.  A court in Norfolk, VA, in 2055 handed down the first local decision which recognized the property rights of AR-Adults; it was followed by many others.Since the passage of the Act in 2062, various amendments have enlarged the scope of protection to safeguard the economic and physical well-being of AR-Adults.  In 2063, the Office of Age Regression Support was established as part the US Department of Health and Human Services.  Its second Director, Dr. Leon Parscells (15/2008), was the first AR-Adult named to a major leadership role in the US after the legislation passed.  A former five-term Congressman from New York, he had followed that with a successful stint as an online personality in his popular blog/vlog series, “Culture Today.”  In 2066, financial affairs were specifically named as being available on the same basis as any responsible adult.  In 2073, additional funding was made available for supporting individuals who found themselves in abusive situations.  The Financial Act of 2076 established, among other broader provisions, a support fund for AR-Adults who were unable to support themselves, with revolving loans, financial counseling and increased job training.  The US Department of Health and Human Services has continued as the lead agency for AR-Adult programs, while the Department of Education has established, encouraged and supported many training programs, including programs developed by AR-Adults for other AR-Adults and for the public at large.  The US Department of Justice has an active AR-Adult Rights office which investigates complaints and oversees enforcement of laws and court decisions regarding AR-Adults.  4

ARVInn has benefitted from these laws over the years, as they have encouraged residents to begin or continue successful careers in a number of fields.  A number of physical training programs, counseling courses and job awareness programs begun here are now available widely through print and online media for AR-Adults and the public.  One of the ironic developments in society at large has been the flourishing of fitness programs for children, based on the accomplishments of a number of AR-Adults.  The Department of Education has found an actual increase in fitness levels among children exposed to these programs and the practices they espouse.  Assistance funding has allowed many who had no other means of support to have a better lifestyle and to become contributing members of society.  A number of on-campus programs at ARVInn, as well as many online activities, have benefitted from loans and job training funds and now are helping others as well.  A number of our residents have become entrepreneurs in their own right since coming here, through the support of these programs.

An interesting study done for the Center for Public Interest Research in 2103 found that the level of AR-Adults who were living below the poverty level had decreased by over 70 percent from 2070 through 2100.  This was also accompanied by the finding that the percentage of the American citizens living in poverty had also decreased by some 28 percent in the same time.  The study attributed the decreases for both to the application of the AR-Adult support legislation and the encouragement it gave to our population in general toward successful work efforts. 

The United Nations Declaration of the Rights of the Age Regressed in 2060 stated simply that those affected by the Age Regression Virus were due the same rights and privileges they had held before their infection and that those who became impaired were due the protections offered to everyone.  It called on the peoples and nations to exercise respect for their fellow citizens and support their efforts to live a useful life just as they would for anyone else, in a manner best suited to their talents and abilities.  It is difficult today to find a place where this ideal is not supported, at least legally.

While prejudicial conduct toward AR-Adults is not legal, like all prejudices, it can still be observed in daily life at the interpersonal level.  There are always those who do not respect the wishes of society and attempt to make their own interpretations supreme.  The continuing struggle is the same, no matter the prejudice.  It can only be hoped that the best qualities of humanity, the “better angels of our nature,” will triumph in the long run.  Where formerly there were numerous violations found, today each year brings only a handful of mostly minor occurrences, which continue to diminish.  Societal disapproval is the only consistent structure which can encourage this reduction.

Published in AR Review, 2109, by the ARVInn Foundation, Parkersburg, WV, USA.

Margo Talmadge; Written 21 January 2109

Images:

1 Public domain photo from PxHere.com

2 Freepik image from freepik.com

3 Montage freepik and imgbin

4 Image by veresproduction from freepik.com

 


 

End Chapter 7

Tales from the ARVInn 1

by: Robert Nalley | Complete Story | Last updated May 30, 2024

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