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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 4/29/09

Swine Flu: The words of Gavin DeBecker ring true

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Message Mary MacElveen
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According to in their email alert on Tuesday morning they spoke of pandemics, citing: “When Congress debated President Barack Obama's economic stimulus package earlier this year, the Senate removed, at Republicans' insistence, a provision to spend an additional $900 million for pandemic flu research and prevention.”


I am a firm believer of prevention and if we are speaking of $900 million dollars, one must think of the billions of dollars that can be spent in the aftermath of any pandemic, natural disaster or a terrorist attack.


They (the Republicans) quibbled over this amount when a Republican president, namely George W. Bush increased the deficit to record numbers and where we have spent close to a trillion dollars in the war in Iraq?


In watching the media’s coverage of the ‘Swine Flu’ story, already they are doing one heck of a job scaring the bejesus of we the people.  We are seeing masks being worn and while it may be warranted health wise, the images translate to us we are in a dire emergency.  Are we?


The AP has reported, “A full-scale pandemic — if it ever comes — could be expected to claim the lives of about 2 percent of those infected, about 2 million Americans.” Please take note of the operative phrase within their article and that being “if it ever comes”


While 2 million deaths are hard to conceptualize should the Swine Flu have its way, let us compare those numbers to the Spanish Flu of 1918 and according to Wikipedia they wrote that: “It is estimated that anywhere from 20 to 100 million people were killed worldwide,” Try wrapping your brain around those numbers.


In reading the AP, they too are doing their fair share of scaring the day lights out of their readers when one reads that this Swine Flu, "would sicken 90 million Americans, or about 30 percent of the population. Of those, nearly 10 million would have to be admitted to a hospital, and nearly 1.5 million would need intensive care. About 750,000 would need the help of mechanical ventilators to keep breathing."


Let us not get ahead of ourselves and be terrorized as we were after September 11th, 2001.  By the way, the AP states that the government cited those numbers.  Who in the government did so?


As the media again is trying to scare us, one can take heart where the government is stockpiling “antiviral medicines, speeding the production of vaccines and laying down basic public health guidelines.”


At least the AP goes onto write, “Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said Monday that the U.S. is preparing as if the swine flu outbreak were a full pandemic. It is not at that stage and may never reach it.”


As with any scare that has hit us, I have always quoted Gavin DeBecker who wrote “The Gift of Fear” and this is by far one of the most salient opinions we must all listen to today: “We all know there are plenty of reasons to fear people from time to time. The question is what are those times? Far too many people are walking around in a constant state of vigilance, their intuition misinformed about what really poses a danger. It needn’t be so. When you honor accurate intuitive signals and evaluate them without denial (believing that either the favorable or the unfavorable outcome is possible), you need not be wary, for you will come to trust that you’ll be notified if there is something worthy of your attention. Fear will gain credibility because it won’t be applied wastefully.” 


Here is a little lesson for the media and politicians who try and scare us, but one of the most important lessons we can come away with: Should this not turn out to be the threat that any of you are trying to relay to all of us, when a real threat to our health and safety occur, will we listen to you? I prefer to call it the “Chicken little syndrome.”


This is where we need to let the healthcare professionals and the scientists at the Centers of Disease Control do their work.  They are after all the first responders to any pandemic that has the ability to take lives in the millions.  Let us listen to them instead of the media that tries to cower us.


A special note to any politician that is trying to equally frighten us, you were elected to serve we the people; not terrify us.


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I am a writer who currently writes pieces for my own blog I have been published by, and I was a guest on the Jay Diamond Radio Show on WRKO in Boston and have (more...)
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