An open letter to our 'good neighbor' who installed the COVID-19 Death Scoreboard Sign at Shermer and Walters in Northbrook:

I would like to share some of the feelings of the community. Many of us are appalled and I can no longer watch and remain silent. For the record, I will defend your right to speak (or post a sign) but by doing so you have invited public discourse.

Mr. Good Neighbor, you are not a "scorekeeper" as you portray yourself to the media. Sir, your actions have fanned the flames of incitement. Your actions are shameful for politicizing the deaths of Americans and for using their deaths to further divide our community and to serve your own self-righteous purposes. You have taken advantage of the Village of Northbrook and people's emotions by using a loophole in a village ordinance to post a political sign on public property.

Mr. Good Neighbor, you wrote, "The sign shows the number of people who have died from COVID-19 in the US, and it points out that Trump is the current president." Your sign says "We're #1" and lists the deaths of Americans and posts "Donald J. Trump" at the bottom of the sign. And what was the point of that, sir? Your point was to make the sign a political statement. Your message is to blame the president for the deaths of more than 200,000 Americans. Do you really believe that ALL the unfortunate deaths in our country are President Donald Trump's fault? Forget the fact that the virus started in China and spread around the world. Do you honestly believe that all the deaths in the U.S. are President Trumps fault? If that is the case, then we would need to indict all leaders across the globe for the pandemic because thus far there have been 1.2 Million deaths worldwide.

Mr. Good Neighbor, you write in another post that "I am a scorekeeper." Well, we have been suffering as a nation for eight months, sir. We see the numbers every day. We do not need you to keep score for us. And a few sentences later, you go on to write: "The purpose of the scoreboard was to influence other people. Not me." and "I hoped to remind them to wear their masks, wash their hands and social distance." So you admitted that your goal was to influence us. But you did not really "influence." You poured fuel on the fire and incited outrage and discourse. Because if you really did want to influence and remind people to wear masks, you would have written those exact words on the sign. You would have written on your sign, "Please wear a mask, wash your hands and social distance."

Mr. Good Neighbor, you also write that you are "Saddened that so much of the attention was not because people were thinking about those who have died in the pandemic" Sir, we appreciate you concern and everything, but we have all been thinking about the people who have died. We are heartbroken. We hear and read stories every day. Many of us have lost friends and loved ones or have worried about friends and loved ones who have been sickened by the virus. And we have been thinking about how to continue to live our lives and protect our families, our children, our schools and our jobs at the same time all while living with this pandemic. We have all been affected for the last 8 months in countless ways. We really do not need you to further tell us what we should be thinking about.

But since you find it so important for us all to be "thinking" about the more than 200,000 deaths on your Scoreboard, I have to ask: Did YOU ever think about how the children in our community might be negatively affected or possibly even traumatized by seeing daily death counts on your "billboard" growing everyday? I suppose we should thank you for sharing with

our children that every few days another 1,000 people in our greater community have died? Our children don't understand that all of the deaths aren't here in town. We are not heartless here in Northbrook, Mr. Good Neighbor. But thank you for the public service announcement.

Mr. Good Neighbor, you said, "And there have been several protests against the sign because some people don't want to be reminded of the pandemic or don't want President Donald Trump to be held accountable." Sir, no, that is not true. First, we all have 1st amendment rights and the right to dissent publicly. Second, there have been protests not only against the sign, but there have also been rallies by Northbrook Patriots in support of the President, in support of police, fire and law enforcement, in support of the safe opening up of schools and the economy, in support of being good citizens and in support of getting out the vote. People are tired of being called a racist or any other name if they dare to disagree with you or what you believe, Sir. And third, we are reminded every day of the pandemic. It has affected all our lives. It has caused us all to suffer in many ways. And we do want those responsible to be held accountable, but this pandemic is not about one person as you suggest. It is up to each one of us to work together to defeat this virus. Therefore, it is unfair and inaccurate to place all the blame on President Donald Trump. We all need to wear masks, wash our hands and practice safe social distancing. The president is not the only one responsible for those who act irresponsibly. President Donald Trump needs to be, and has been, held accountable for that which he can control; but remember he does not have the power to mandate at the state level. Unfortunately, the truth is that tens of thousands of people would have died regardless who was president. You know that to be the truth as well as I do. For you to politicize the deaths is shameful and undignified regardless of how much you dislike President Donald Trump.

And lastly you wrote: "This is not just a sign; it is a memorial. I am only a scorekeeper." It is certainly not a memorial because you are using it for political purposes. For you have taken advantage of more than 200,000 unfortunate American deaths and the suffering of millions of others in order for you to make a political point and incite and divide our community while arrogantly insulting our intelligence.

I only hope that when you go to update the sign next time with the new number of deaths, you remove the politics and modify the sign to say "Northbrook is saddened by the loss of (insert total number)! Please wear a mask, wash your hands and practice social distancing. If you aren't willing to do that, Sir, then please take down your political scoreboard and stop dividing our community by politicizing the deaths of our relatives, friends and fellow Americans.

Jeff Kaminsky