The most recent column by Reg Henry appearing in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette concerns how much fear is generated in the news lately, especially focused on the spread of the Ebola virus. He handles the topic with his usual aplomb while poking gentle fun at the fear mongers. http://www.post-gazette.com/opinion/reg-henry/2014/10/22/Reg-Henry-The-fear-factor-is-one-frightening-trend/stories/201410220046
I am not such a nice guy as is Reg. I may not even possess a poking gentle fun gene in my body. My purpose here is to mock and ridicule and deride and denigrate the fear mongers.
Is Ebola a threat? Sure, if you come into direct contact with the bodily fluids of someone unfortunately affected. I make it a practice to stay away from the bodily fluids of others regardless of infected status. Though, in light of my illustration employing Kim Kardashian, I might be willing to subject myself to intermingling bodily fluids with her.
In recent days there have been similar postings to Facebook pointing out, for instance, that singer Taylor Swift has shed more boyfriends than the number of Americans contracting Ebola in this country or a similar comparison with the number of Rush Limbaugh marriages (or divorces…take your pick). I even volunteered my own, without illustration, noting that Texas Governor Rick Perry has approved the execution of more innocent men than the number of Americans dying from Ebola here.
Then there is “it is what ISIS” in Iraq, and Syria, and, if you believe the alarmists, soon to be appearing in a suburb near you. I’m just wondering how they get here. Maybe, along with the tanks, guns, and other military hardware left behind in Iraq by our own American troops a stray C-17 Globemaster or three may be found. That possibility is subject to a severe logistics problem, though. Each of those huge planes has a capacity of only 105 paratroopers, a number that could easily be disposed of by those zealous patriots protecting Cliven Bundy.
Then again, they could hi-jack an ocean liner. Since Italy is relatively close I suppose an Italian liner is a realistic target, but then they have the probability of crashing on the rocks and being abandoned by the Captain. Or, if their aim is one of the behemoths operating for the benefit of U.S. departures they face either the potential for a never ending cruise due to problems with the ship or massive intestinal disorders bound to turn the adventure into one shitty mess. (Just like our invasion of Iraq, metaphorically speaking)
Now I am shamefully admitting to a guilty pleasure of mine, being a more than rare visitor to MSNBC’ s Hardball with Chris Mathews. In my defense I find Mathews himself both amusing and puzzling and odds are that any questions he asks of his guests will be answered by Chris himself. (Who needs guests, eh?) And when I do watch I first tune in during commercials on Jeopardy and then mainly to watch the Sideshow segment, often entailing clips from late night comedians poking fun at politicians.
That said, on Wednesday October 22, the day a mad gunmen killed a Canadian soldier and began shooting up that nation’s Parliament, Mathews discussed with his guests this act of terrorism and its effects and ramifications.
First I will not deny the tragedy of the soldier losing his life and the absolute terror experienced by the people possibly in danger from the continued onslaught. But, despite the apparent religion of the shooter, himself now dead, reports are he was also a long time drug abuser probably acting alone.
But Mathews and company, especially Mathews, speculated on what if terrorists chose to shoot up public places in the U.S. like malls. He feared the resultant disruption to the nation’s economy.
HUH? I don’t know that people stopped going to theaters after 12 died in the Aurora slaughter in 2012. Or that they stopped going to McDonalds after 21 humans were gunned down in one in San Ysidro, Calif. in 1984. Or that they stopped going to cafeterias and restaurant buffets after Luby’s Cafeteria in Killeeen, Texas was the site of 23 murder victims in 1991. And Virginia Tech still draws 31,000 students to its Blacksburg campus despite the horrific deaths of 32 students and staff members in 2007.
Hell, so far as shopping malls are concerned, the day after Thanksgiving is more dangerous than terror attacks. See this headline from TIME magazine from 2013 ballyhooing the news that only one person had been killed in the usual insane Black Friday assault on stores by unarmed shoppers. http://business.time.com/2013/12/02/calm-black-friday-only-1-death-15-injuries-attributed-to-big-shopping-day/
FDR famously said in his first inaugural address that the
Only thing we have to fear is fear itself.
For the twenty-first century those words now become
The only thing we have to fear is the fear mongering of craven politicians and irresponsible media.
Kind of lacks the same ring, eh?