How about a breath of fresh air?

Jim Redwine Featured Local Columnist

For about 200,000 years, Homo sapiens did without air-conditioning. Other than opening or closing the animal hide, reed or cloth flap covering their cave or hut openings our ancestors did not worry about the atmosphere, whether inside or out. Sitting beside a fire pit or chimney, people were happy to simply huddle together when it was cold, probably in groups of 10 or less. When it came to keeping cool we just opened windows. This provided untold benefits that humanity appears to have now lost sight of.

Fresh air, reduced utility costs and portals for tossing out dirty dishwater disappeared. We began to regurgitate air previously breathed by others, and which sometimes contains mold spores and other unhealthy elements. Remember Legionnaires Disease that was traced to air-conditioning units for large buildings such as hotels and convention centers, and which was and still is particularly deadly for people 50 years of age, people with weak immune systems, those with lung problems and smokers. Sound familiar?

When combating COVID-19, fresh air and warmer weather make sense to me. And while I chose not to pursue a graduate degree in psychology, I can confidently assert that better mental health results from fresh air rather than social isolationism made even more isolated by closed windows.

We used to be able to rent a hotel room and eat at restaurants while enjoying the ambiance of open windows. Then pencil pushers began to control every aspect of our days and nights by requiring windows that could not be raised. This may be good for corporate earnings but it is anathema for human health, physical and mental.

If governors and state legislators want to do some real good at no cost to taxpayers, they can require that all windows be openable. They can still have locking devices available. Under the Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution these issues are the province of the states.

Should we be concerned that as people watch the economy continue to slide toward 1929 levels they might be tempted to jump out, a couple of bars on the outside of windows should discourage such impulses while still allowing for fresh air.

I know that simply opening windows suffers from the anti-governmental approach. It is inexpensive. It has proven effective for a couple of hundred thousand years. And it puts control in the hands of the public, not bureaucrats. In spite of these political drawbacks, I still recommend it.

— James (Jim) M. Redwine was born in Pawhuska, Osage County, Oklahoma. He is a graduate of Pawhuska High School, Indiana University, I.U. School of Law, the Indiana Graduate Judges College and the National Judicial College. He lives at JPeg Osage Ranch in rural Osage County, Oklahoma with his wife, Peg. Jim and Peg have 3 grown children, 7 grandchildren and one great-grandchild.