Friday, October 2, 2015

Some People Just Want to be Afraid

Not actually Erin.
Picture by KJ Photography
& is used with permission.
It has been a year since I last talked about the Dallas Ebola scare. What's happened since then?

Answer:  Not much, and that's a good thing. Since the outbreak started, there have been only two deaths from Ebola within the United States:
  1. Thomas Eric Duncan, the Liberian citizen who came to Dallas and started the whole fear of pandemic within Texas; 
  2. Dr. Martin Salia, who became symptomatic within Sierra Leone and who was then medevaced to Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha. 
In other words and put very bluntly, No one who died from Ebola contracted the disease in the United States. No one who contracted the disease in the United States has died from it. In fact, as of 11 November 2014, there have been no cases of Ebola within the United States, period. 

This stands in stark contrast to the 11,296 deaths from just Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone since the outbreak began last year. 

What's the reason for this contrast? As it turns out, there are many:
  • We eat meat that has been processed from healthy livestock, not meat taken from animals in the jungle whose health is unknown. 
  • We use gloves when treating the sick and handling the dead. 
  • We observe infectious disease protocol (quarantine for the sick, cremation of the dead).
  • We wash our hands. 
  • When we are sick, we go to doctors and we listen to them; we don't murder them because we think they are spreading the disease

In other words, we have this very simple yet game-changing advantage known as Not Living In Africa. I realize that sounds racist, but it's not meant to be; I'm just stating that it should be obvious that the First World has it better than the Third World. 

I said all these things a year ago, based upon what I read from the World Health Organization, the Center for Disease Control, and Health Canada. And yet I was told that I was a fool and a liar (and sometimes even a traitor) because I believed the political appointees of a corrupt administration. 

Well, it's a year later, and I (and the CDC, and the WHO, and CH) have been proven right. So why did some people insist upon panicking, upon believing the world was lying to them, that Ebola was airborne and we were all going to die?

Some People Just Want to be Scared.

I can't put it more plainly than that. Some folks are going to choose to panic despite facts:  we see it whenever there's a mass shooting (This proves violence is everywhere, despite the fact that it's dropped to the lowest level in decades) [1] [2], and we see it on the other side of the aisle as well (The government wants us all to die, despite the fact that government is run by functionaries with families who would also die).

So what do you do?

Ignore the Fearmongers
Don't waste valuable oxygen debating people whose minds are made up. So long as their panic doesn't directly affect you, let them stress out. If it helps, think of them as your personal canaries; anyone who is panicking is not thinking clearly, and those people make mistakes. Let them make your mistakes for you, and learn from them. 

Keep Watch and Make Educated Decisions
Don't get your news from one source; get them from as many sources as possible, preferably ones that politically oppose one another. That way you get a better picture of what is really going on, rather than what you hear within an echo chamber.

As an example, let's assume that the CDC is somehow politically compromised and is covering up the Ebola threat in Texas. In that case, check what Health Canada and the Mexican National Institute of Public Health have to say about it, because which do you think is more likely:  that they'd be in on a conspiracy to hide the truth from their citizens, or that they'd issue warnings like "Don't go to Texas" if there was a legitimate concern?

Tend To Your Preps
The wonderful thing about prepping is that it gives you something to do. Panic results when we are afraid, but don't know what to do with that adrenaline-fueled fear. Tending to your preps allows us to channel that energy into something productive (because having preps is always a good thing), meditative ("I am going through familiar motions and that calms and focuses me"), and reassuring ("If something goes wrong, I know I am ready because I have these things to sustain me and this plan to follow.")

Act With Purpose
If you're doing something simply because "something must be done," you are panicking and wasting energy, time and resources. Instead, be able to elucidate why you are doing something and how your actions will accomplish your goal. If you cannot, you aren't acting; you are reacting.

Do Not Fear
Because I am a massive nerd, I cannot let this go by without referencing one of my favorite quotes:
There is a huge difference between having fear and being afraid.  It is perfectly okay to have fear; that's just part of living. But being afraid keeps you from acting. Instead, admit that you have the fear, and that it is acceptable to be afraid, but do not let it rule you, your decisions, or your actions.

Take solace in faith. Tend to your preps. Don't listen to Chicken Little.

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