Ebola, Beheading: Two Epidemics, Similar Remedies

By | October 6, 2014 | 1 Comments

 

          

In the 14th century, the bubonic plague killed between one-third and one-half of all Europeans. People had no idea that plague was caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis, which was carried by rats and spread by fleas. They had no idea that microscopic organisms existed, much less that they caused disease.

Nevertheless, a few people had common sense. Among these was King Casimir the Great of Poland, who enforced closure of the borders. He required travelers to remain outside until it was clear that they were not infected. Apparently Poland was largely spared the ravages of the plague.

King Casimir the Great

In 1854 there was an outbreak of cholera in London. Despite the passage of five centuries, people still had no idea that microscopic organisms cause disease. Nevertheless, a few people still had common sense. Physician John Snow discovered that the outbreak was caused by water contaminated by sewage, and that it was clustered around the Broad Street pump. Snow removed the handle of the pump, and the epidemic subsided.

Dr. John Snow

It is not necessary to understand all the details of a disease in order to fight it. All that is necessary to save many lives is to recognize that the disease is communicable. That is, it can be spread from one person to another, either by direct contact, or by means of inanimate objects such as blankets – or the Internet.
Once the disease is seen to be communicable, measures can be put in place to isolate potentially infected individuals. King Casimir knew this in the Middle Ages. Yet we seem unable to grasp so elementary an idea, despite having lived all our lives in the so-called “scientific” era.
Isolate the infected.
King Casimir was not satisfied with protecting his family and court. He took his role as leader seriously. He acted to protect all his people by closing the borders.
The king took what he knew – that the plague was communicable – and acted on it. Thus he saved thousands of lives. He did what he could with what he had – which is an ideal we can all aim for.
But we are doing the opposite. For the first time in our history, we are bringing Ebola patients into the United States. Three health-care workers were brought in who were stricken with Ebola in West Africa, and more will surely follow.
President Obama is sending troops to Liberia to set up a field hospital. What will happen if some of them become infected? Will they be brought here under strict precautions, like the three health-care workers? Or will they be sent to military hospitals in Europe or the U.S., where they can infect other troops?
Who approved bringing in patients suffering from a disease for which there is no vaccine or proven treatment, and which is between 50% and 90% fatal?
Who had the authority to put at risk the lives of all those who flew, cleaned, and serviced the aircraft? Who had the power to put at risk all those who drove, cleaned, and serviced the ambulances? Who had the right to put at risk all the doctors, nurses, technicians, janitors, and other personnel at the two hospitals involved – as well as all those who would come into contact with these people?
And who approved allowing travelers from Ebola-infected zones in Africa to enter the United States without waiting outside during the incubation period? That is, who approved acting in 2014 in a way that King Casimir forbade in the 14th century? Now we have the first such Ebola patient, but undoubtedly not the last. King Casimir would be furious – why aren’t we?
In the novel “Executive Orders,” Tom Clancy describes an Ebola epidemic spread in America by terrorists. But Clancy was an optimist. We don’t need terrorists to spread Ebola. Our own government is doing it. Incompetent friends may prove to be more dangerous than malicious enemies.
I don’t know who made these crucial decisions. Do you? In a free country, we know which of our elected representatives are responsible for life-and-death decisions possibly involving us, our families and friends. But in an unfree country, we are forced to submit to nameless, faceless, remote bureaucrats who make these decisions for us. Welcome to America, 2014.
● “Experts” repeat endlessly that Ebola is spread only by direct contact with patients or their bodily fluids, so there is little to fear. But they also tell us that one of the physicians stricken with Ebola was an ob-gyn who had no known contact with Ebola patients.
● “Experts” tell us that there is no evidence that Ebola can spread by aerosol – that is, by the respiratory route. But they also tell us that this Ebola epidemic has killed more than all previous epidemics combined – a fact they are unable to explain. Yes, West Africa is more urban now, with more crowding. But is it more urban than it was only a few years ago, when epidemics were much smaller?
When we take the case of the doctor with no known exposure, and we add the massive scope of this epidemic, we are forced to ask whether respiratory spread may in fact be occurring. And then we are forced to ask whether the “experts” are being honest with us.
But why should they be honest on this subject, when the administration has been very far from honest on so many other subjects? Not a “smidgen” of IRS scandal? Fast and furious is a secret because of “executive privilege”? ISIS is the “junior varsity”? Al Qaeda is “decimated” and “on the run”? Yemen and Somalia are “successes”? On what planet? Truth is something external that we try to discover. Truth is not something internal that we fabricate to suit our own purposes. Many people learn this as children. Others never do, even though they may occupy high offices.
The fact is that thousands of immigrants, legal and illegal, are crossing our borders and arriving by airliner daily. The fact is that the incubation period for Ebola may be as long as 21 days. The fact is that the incubation period for Islamist fanaticism may be even longer. The fact is that no one knows who many of these immigrants really are, or where they come from, or what they were exposed to while they were there. Consider these news reports:

Online posts show ISIS is eyeing Mexican border, says law enforcement bulletin.
News report, 2014

Texas sheriff reports Qurans and Muslim-style clothing found near border.
News report, 2014

Border crossers come from Afghanistan, Algeria, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.
News report, 2014

ISIS terrorists may be operating in Ciudad Juarez, across Rio Grande from El Paso, Texas.
News report, 2014

I’ll see you guys in New York, said future ISIS head when released in Iraq.
News report, 2014

Only a fool or a liar – or both – would claim that we are doing our best to isolate our people from Ebola or homicidal fanatics.
Close off the source of infection.
Dr. John Snow was in a better position to stop an epidemic than was King Casimir 500 years earlier. Snow had been taught to think of diseases not as cosmic misfortunes visited on humanity, but as entities with knowable causes.
So Dr. Snow mapped the cases of cholera in London, and discovered that they clustered around the Broad Street pump. Not waiting for a complete explanation of the cause of cholera, Snow acted on what he did know. He removed the pump handle, and the epidemic subsided. He cut off the source of the contagion.
We know the source of the contagion of beheading and other manifestations of religious hatred. We see images of awful cruelty on YouTube and other Internet sources. We see them as disgusting and repellent. So it is difficult for us to understand that the weak-minded and the antisocial may see them as attractive and inspiring.
How else can we explain the man who had converted to radical Islam in prison? He beheaded a fellow employee in Oklahoma and stabbed another. True, we are grateful that another employee was armed and shot and wounded the murderer, stopping the rampage. But how much better and less painful it would have been to prevent the attack in the first place. We could have removed the handle from the Broad Street pump. That is, we could have systematically removed all images of beheading, and all exhortations to violent jihad, from the Internet, and we could have removed preachers of violent Islamofascism from prisons.
We tolerate the TSA groping us at the airport and confiscating our toothpaste and hair cream. We tolerate the NSA reading our e-mails and instant messages. We tolerate the IRS snooping into our political activities and even the content of our prayers. Yet suddenly we become terribly delicate, and we claim to see a First Amendment right to “free expression” in grisly videos and images of decapitation, and screaming incitements to mass murder.
It is bad to lie to others, but it is worse to lie to ourselves. These are not the actions of dedicated civil libertarians who revere the First Amendment. These are the actions of mealy-mouthed cowards who revere political correctness more than they revere human life.
● Control the borders, as King Casimir taught us. Refuse to admit travelers from West Africa who might have been exposed to Ebola, or travelers from the Middle East who might have been exposed to homicidal fanaticism, until they have been thoroughly screened.
● Close off the source of the contagion, as Dr. Snow taught us. Remove beheading videos and images from the Internet, and crash websites that spread lethal hatred. Remove preachers of violent Islamo-fascism from prisons. If decapitation is what these barbarians understand, let us decapitate their organizations by killing their leaders.
We can’t eradicate Ebola or religious hatred. But we surely can do a lot more to control them and protect our people from them. That is our solemn obligation.
Author’s Note:
But wait, you object. The director of the CDC, Thomas Frieden, MD, MPH insists that preventing travelers possibly infected with Ebola from entering the U.S. will not work, and might make things worse. Really? Who is Frieden?
He was New York Mayor Bloomberg’s commissioner of health. You know, the one who banned sodas over 16 ounces and ordered removal of salt shakers from restaurant tables. Earlier this year, he wrote another article for CNN condemning our high salt intake. Even the most timid person does not have the time or energy to be afraid of everything. What we choose to fear tells a lot about us. Frieden fears salt; I fear Ebola. Frieden fears obese children; I fear dead children.
It gets worse. Author of “Ebola” David Quammen claims we have no right to limit people from Liberia from entering the U.S., even on a temporary basis, because Liberia was founded by freed American slaves in the early 19th century. This may be a world record non-sequitur.
Quammen also claims limiting travel from Liberia would be “turning our backs” on its people. No, turning our backs would be refusing to send aid and medical personnel to Liberia. Insisting on bringing in possibly infected persons from Liberia is, in fact, turning our backs on Americans.
Outgoing Secret Service Director Julia Pierson was more interested in turning the White House into Disneyland than in protecting the life of President Obama. Current CDC Director Thomas Frieden is more interested in salt shakers than in protecting the lives of all Americans. Combining leftist ideology with incompetence produces a really toxic mixture.
Contact: dstol@prodigy.net. You are welcome to publish or post these articles, provided that you cite the author and website.
www.stolinsky.com

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