Several years ago, Houston got hit with some major flooding, and that caused people 250 miles away to panic, and buy up all the gas in the area..
But some people decided to gather up goods, and drive down to Houston to see how they could help out. The company I was working at during all of this put together a sizable team of volunteers and they headed south with trucks filled with food, water, diapers, etc..
A lot of people from Louisiana came to help Houston, because when Katrina hit Louisiana, a lot of Texans drove down and helped those folks out.
It sounds so nice when you read about it, people helping each other out, acting selflessly, and it gives you hope that, as a species, we’re better than we first appear to be..
At first glance..
But change things up a bit, say, instead of flooding far away, lets consider a serious flu, one that hasn’t really made any significant impact on the population, at last count just over 2300 cases have been identified in a country of over 325 million, with 50 related deaths. (check back in a month and lets re-visit these numbers..)
Lets jump back to something bigger than the flooding in Houston, lets go back to Hurricane Katrina. Over 1800 people DIED from that storm and the flooding that came from it. Millions, thats right MILLIONS of people were left homeless because of Katrina. But unless you lived near the Gulf Coast at the time, you weren’t having any problems buying groceries, you weren’t watching videos of people in Georgia stabbing people over a case of bottled water, because you, and me were watching all of that happen far, far from where we lived.
The news media has once again caused a panic in our country, why we still call this nonsense ‘news’ is beyond me, in any case, the COVID-19 coronavirus is a big deal, it’s serious, and as we all see now, it’s global. It’s not a death sentence, predictions are it has a 2-4% mortality rate, but that number is largely made up of older folks with underlying health issues.
Why doesn’t the news say ‘well, we’ve had 50 deaths, out of 2300 cases, but last year somewhere between 36 and 51 million Americans caught the flu, between 17 and 24 million of those cases required medical visits, of those between 370,000 and 670,000 required hospital stays, and between 22,000 – and 55,000 DIED of the flu’ (I pulled these stats from cdc.gov)
I’ll tell you why, because causing a panic amongst the population is great copy, there will be countless stories that will all start because the news caused simple-minded people to rush out and hoard hand sanitizer and toilet paper..
During the Vietnam War, there are many documented cases of the Viet Cong entering a town, or even small villages, and rounding up civil servants, local politicians, teachers, taking them off into the jungle and executing all of them. I always wondered why they’d do something like that when I was younger. I think, now that I’m older, they did it because they didn’t want ‘the people’ to be influenced, taught, ruled by those the VC had determined weren’t fit for the jobs, the ideology was all wrong for them. I kind of feel like a Viet Cong right now. This virus is going to kill a lot of people, but our ‘news’ is going to end up killing a lot more if they keep causing panic.
Even if I could wave my hand and erase all the news media, and start fresh, there’s no easy solution. You cant have a government-run news system, nobody would ever trust it. You can’t have a commercial news media, because then those outlets seek only to further their own agendas, and accuracy in the news be damned. There’s no easy fix, but people, truly, we have to demand drastic changes to the ‘news’ when this virus stuff is behind us…
Otherwise I’m putting on my black pajamas and creeping out into the Jungle..