Friday, May 1, 2009

Have no fear!

Okay, if I don't blog about this, I am going to go nuts! I'm talking about the swine flu. It is ridiculously out of hand!!!!

**Let me preface with a disclaimer: These are purely my own opinions and observations. If you don't like them, that's fine. Oh, and this is chock-full of sarcasm! So don't say I didn't warn you or get all over my case if you don't like what you read.**

First, let's lay out the facts. I found a great website called worldometers, and according to them the current world population (at the time of writing this blog) is approximately 6.76 billion. Confirmed cases of swine flu, worldwide, as of today? 331. Yes, there are other suspected cases, and this is spreading, I won't deny that, buuuut...that still only makes swine flu a 1 in less than 20 million people worldwide thing. (I'm no math genius, but I did check my calculator 3 times.) Yet, this is still being called an "epidemic."

I'm sorry. I have a hard time calling something that is 331 out of 6.76 billion people an epidemic. Back in January, we had a Norovirus outbreak here in our county; many friends of mine, and our entire family (with the exception of me) all had the stomach flu. However, was it all over the news? Were people scared to travel or go out in public places? No. It wasn't a big deal. People got really sick, but they got over it. And I'm sure it affected more than 331 people. (Yet once again confirming that the world doesn't really care about poor little Clatsop County.)

Let me put it in other terms. You have a higher chance of walking outside at night and getting mauled by a bear than contracting swine flu! Yet people still go out at night. You have a higher chance of getting in your car today and dying in a fatal car crash. Yet the same people who are so concerned about swine flu are happily getting in their cars and driving to and fro. If we're talking raw numbers and probabilities, then this all seems completely ridiculous! People are taking calculated risks that are much, much higher, yet are more afraid of the thing that is actually a much lower probability. Kinda hypocritical, if you ask me, but whatever.

I talked to an ER doctor today while I was waiting to pick Seth up from school, and he said there is no more threat than with any other flu virus -- its still influenza. He said like any virus, you will get sick, but most people will be just fine, and the only ones to worry about are those with already-compromised immune systems. It was funny... He then went on to tell me that someone came into the ER last night because someone they knew worked with a Mexican, so they wanted to be sure they hadn't contracted swine flu. After a check-up, the doctor told the patient that he didn't have the flu, he had paranoia and xenophobia. (Xenophobia, for those who don't know, is fear of foreigners.) The patient was very worried and asked, "Is that bad?"

See, but that is the problem. We have become such fear-based, media-fed people that we are afraid of anything and everything we hear, see, read, or are told. Forget that the source may be heresay or biased or a "mountain made of a molehill." Its the flu, people! Its not armageddon!!! (That won't happen til after Jesus comes back....not to worry.) So what makes this so much worse? NOTHING!! Except that the media has taken this and run with it, and blown it up into epic proportions, feeding off the fear our society buys into so readily. (Hey, they have to put food on their tables too, so who cares who they scare in the process, right?)

I am not one of those people who buys into the fear and the hype hook, line, and sinker. My kids and I aren't going to miss out on life experiences all because of some minute (1 in more than 20 billion) chance we are going to contract the flu. Oh no! Not the flu!! I just get more and more frustrated, irritated, and jaded by the media all the time. And by the people who can't recognize all the baloney for what it really is. I'm not saying the flu isn't happening or that it isn't scary. But its not nearly as major as the media is making it out to be. Why can't people see that??? I just don't get it....

I don't get how people can be so governed by fear. If its danger that is immediate and/or strongly factually based, that's one thing. Then yes, I take it seriously and am cautious. But if I don't really have a reason to fear, then why should I? Life is too short to worry it away. I dunno...maybe my frustration with this is primarily based on the fact that I am a Christian and trust Him when He says He hasn't given me a spirit of fear (2 Timothy 1:7). And what does fear add to our lives anyway? (Luke 12:25-26) Ultimately, what will be, will be. We can't change that. So why hide ourselves away and let fear govern our lives? To me, its just not worth it!

Okay, sorry this was so jumbled and sarcastic. This whole swine flu thing is just driving me INSANE!!!!!!

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