A few weeks ago, many of us on Twitter were scoffing at protesters against lockdown. John Waters and Gemma O'Doherty (no relation, I hope) had brought people to stand outside the Four Courts in Dublin to break the regulations governing social distancing.
They were roundly abused and laughed at, rightly I thought, for they claimed a civil right to endanger themselves and others.
And the key worry about Covid-19 is that it is infectious before it shows symptoms. So, you can't claim not to have it and then go out in public with confidence that you are not passing it to someone else who will take it home to their parents.
We were hearing the same claims from groups in the United States about the need to preserve their citizens' rights, regardless of the danger.
People had died to defend those rights, so it was already clear that the rights themselves were more important than personal survival.
Again, many of us mocked those rednecks. In some of their protests, they stood apart, according to social distancing regulations, but still the epidemic accelerated its spread.
The cheerleader for this protest was Donald Trump, the US president. He was tweeting that he wanted states "liberated".
Now things have changed and the freedom to protest is not regarded as eccentric, but socially responsible. Huge numbers are on the streets, probably including many of those who sneered at the Right-wing libertarians who gathered to object to the lockdown.
The issue that entitles them, they believe, to disregard the pandemic is racism.
This has been building as a huge concern, and a police officer accused of murdering a black man on the street by kneeling on his neck was inevitably going to anger people not just in America, but around the world.
That's because this happens so often. And when the irritant is added of an insensitive and bullish president, who thinks only of his own public image - ludicrous as it is - the rage deepens and extends.
Enormous crowds of people in the US are breaking curfews to stand together in the streets to protest against racist and brutal police forces. They are showing the courage to face violent state forces.
But they are also being reckless with their own health and the health of those they love by adding to the spread of an incurable disease.
They are spreading contagion among each other and people will die as a direct consequence of that.
And that was ridiculous and contemptible when Right-wing headcases were doing it for the right to assembly alone, but it is clearly, they think, more acceptable when the concern is racism and police brutality.
I would not be with those protesters. I will not be joining any of the protests here against racism where they breach the health regulations, because I could not live with myself if, for the sake of protest on any issue, I brought the virus home and infected my wife.
I know something of racism. I have seen the abuse that people have been subjected to for being black, Asian, or Jewish.
I have lived and worked in Asia and Africa and seen how some of my white colleagues relished their contempt for those around them. But I do not, for instance, accept that the PSNI is racist.
We have better equality legislation here than in the rest of the UK and Ireland. At some of the weekend protests, police officers were abused and harangued by members of the crowd for doing their job of reminding people of the regulations. I want the police to be just and personable in their dealings with people, but I also want them to be free to do their work without prejudice and interference.
The police have gone a long way in saying that they would be standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the protesters, but for the pandemic regulations.
They have a clear interest in defending professional standards of policing. They have their own history of brutality and sectarianism and they have outgrown it through reform.
They have done what the US police forces must do. They must be monitored to be sure they uphold that standard, but it would be absurd to deny them respect for what they achieved after demanding that they do it.
It would be a serious pity if the PSNI, which can be a corrective example to the loutishness of American policing, was caught up in an upsurge of general, ill-considered anti-policing sentiment, or worse, wrong-footed into using force to defend officers, people and property.
Images came from London of the police being chased by a crowd. That can't be allowed to happen again. No police force is going to accept that.
On Saturday, some twerp here was arguing with police officers that they should address him as a person, as if their offence was being in uniform and approaching him in a professional capacity. There is a video of it on Twitter. That is just nonsense.
Those police officers were there on my behalf as a citizen entitled to their protection. The argument of the organisers is that the protests in Belfast and Derry were socially distanced, no different from the queues at Ikea, for example, which are legal.
Well, there may be anomalies in the regulations, but those who, myself included, wanted the sacking of Dominic Cummings for his comings-and-goings up and down England do not now have a leg to stand on if they insist that, ultimately, all that this comes down to is personal discretion.
The Black Lives Matter protests now include the argument that the state does not have the right to legislate for social distancing and the restrictions on numbers who can meet. That is the logical inference of what they are doing.
Some cite the higher numbers of deaths of black and Asian people from the coronavirus as evidence of racism, too. They may well be right. Covid-19 discriminates. And that may be a consequence of more black and Asian people being pushed to the frontline against it. But while those social structures continue, then black and Asian people will continue to die in greater numbers.
Black lives matter. They have been treated as if they don't. People have a right to be bloody angry.
But we also have a right to protection against the virus until we have a weapon that kills, or neutralises, it.
If protesters were just risking their own lives, I would have more respect for them.
They have no right to risk anyone else's.