Ebola? Tuberculosis? H1N1 Flu? Terrorists?What, Me Worry?

By | August 7, 2014 | 0 Comments

Second patient with Ebola hemorrhagic fever flown home to U.S.
News report

Some illegal immigrants have tuberculosis, H1N1 influenza, and other diseases, but medical screening of immigrants is often inadequate.
News report

Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I am not certain about the universe.
− Albert Einstein

Do not attribute to malice what can be explained by stupidity or incompetence.
– Murphy’s Law of Motives

Years ago I read Tom Clancy’s thriller “Executive Orders.” In it, Clancy’s hero Jack Ryan has become president. He must deal with biological warfare planned in Iran. A particularly virulent strain of Ebola virus is grown in prisoners, who are then murdered and their organs pulverized. The toxic mess is inserted into aerosol cans, which are smuggled into America and released in convention halls. The resulting epidemic wreaks havoc, which Ryan deals with – and then deals with the Iranian planner of the attack.
The novel was entertaining, but unrealistic – or so I thought. Now my opinion has changed. As usual, truth is stranger than fiction. We did not need a fictional terrorist to launch biological warfare on us, nor did we need a fictional president to lead us through the crisis.
No, all we needed was a real president to set in motion a chain of events that carries the risk of accomplishing a similar, terrible result. Think about it. First Obama caused our immigration laws to be circumvented. Congress refused to pass the Dream Act, which gave legal status to illegal immigrants who claimed to have arrived as minors, but before a specific date. But President Obama issued an executive order putting the Dream Act into effect without benefit of congressional approval.
Predictably, people in Central America – and elsewhere – heard about the order, but they didn’t understand the expiration date. So they brought, or sent, tens of thousands of children and teenagers on a perilous journey across Mexico to the U.S.
The media show us countless images of babies in arms and young children, crying and crowded together in reception centers. But some reports indicate that the majority of the “children” are teenage boys, and graffiti of the violent, drug-dealing gang MS-13 have appeared on walls in immigration centers.
So many immigrants from Central America could not have crossed Mexico without the help of the cartels. What could be the motive? To infiltrate drug-dealing, child-trafficking members of MS-13? To infiltrate Middle Eastern terrorists? Who knows? But don’t bother to ask. The mainstream media aren’t interested in questions that might embarrass the administration. The media act less like investigative journalists, and more like government propagandists.
In any case, the flood of immigrants is not being adequately screened for health problems. Some have infectious diseases, including H1N1 influenza, tuberculosis, chickenpox, measles, hand-foot-and-mouth disease, Chagas’ disease, lice, and scabies. Some of them come from the Middle East, and Texas ranchers report finding prayer rugs on their land. Is it conceivable that the cartels might have entered into an agreement with Middle Eastern terrorists?
Perhaps even worse, at least 71 immigrants have been identified as coming from African nations where Ebola is now epidemic. How many more have arrived but have not been identified? Is it conceivable that people who have been exposed to Ebola are being brought here intentionally?
The incubation period for Ebola may be as long as 21 days, plenty of time to travel from Africa to the U.S. Airline passengers are not being screened, and those crossing the border from Mexico may not even be noticed.
I know the usual mantra. There is no treatment for Ebola, but epidemics often peter out quickly. Why? One reason is that patients usually die quickly, before they have a chance to infect many others. The disease is up to 90% fatal. Another reason is that Ebola is transmitted by close personal contact, not by respiratory spread such as coughing.
But the fact remains that the current epidemic in West Africa is the worst ever recorded. At least 887 people have died, and many more may be dead in rural areas. Again, why? One reason is that this time it is slightly less lethal – about 70% die. Thus more patients live longer and can infect more people. But is it possible that respiratory spread may be occurring? No one suggests this – perhaps no one dares to. Yet this might explain why about 100 health-care workers have been infected thus far, despite the most stringent precautions.
To me the answer seems clear. Send all the volunteer health-care workers we can to West Africa, with all the equipment and experimental treatments available. Isolate the area insofar as possible, to include suspending routine airline travel. But bring Ebola patients to the U.S.? Not only no, but hell no.
Is this an over-reaction? Possibly. Is the popular view of Ebola marked by hysteria? Definitely. But the antidote for over-reaction is correct action, not lethargy. The antidote for hysteria is reason, not apathy. When the problem involves a highly fatal, communicable disease, doing nothing is not an option – at least, not for those who take their obligations seriously.
We have reached the point that we need the help of Murphy’s Law of Motives. We need not imagine a pact between the cartels and Middle Eastern terrorists. We need not imagine a conspiracy involving the president, the secretary of Health and Human Services, the secretary of Homeland Security, the commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, and the director of the Centers for Disease Control.
All we need to do is to recognize that stupidity and incompetence have the power to overcome all other forces – and to ignore all contrary information. Specifically, who approved bringing the two Ebola patients to this country? In fact, who approved allowing any Ebola patient to cross the border, much less to be transported on an airplane and then an ambulance? Who took responsibility for the lives of all those who will come into contact with these patients, and the lives of all those who will come into contact with these people?
In short, who – if anyone – is in charge here? Who is in charge of the security of our borders? Who is in charge of our security from terrorism, including bioterrorism? Who is in charge of our security from communicable diseases?
Can we continue to exist as a free nation, or continue to exist at all, if our government seizes the power to control everything from light bulbs and toilets to dishwasher detergent to what our kids eat for lunch? And now, in the name of fighting obesity, it claims the power to ban school bake sales.
But at the same time, the government neglects its duty to secure our borders from terrorists and those carrying highly lethal diseases. And speaking of borders, at what point do stupidity and incompetence cross the line into dangerous and potentially lethal recklessness?
Ebola , cupcakes no.
Contact: dstol@prodigy.net. You are welcome to publish or post these articles, provided that you cite the author and website.

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