Pig flu, pig head


The CDC just released a zombie apocalypse preparedness memo on their blog and hoards of Americans are now scrambling around in terror over the fact that the CDC would give credit to such a thing.

Okay, maybe it hasn’t been in terror, but a lot of people are most certainly taking it seriously.

Sad to say, but the post by the CDC was actually a joke.  Well, not even so much a joke as a backhanded way of trying to make Americans prepared for actual emergencies facing us every day.  And they said just that in the opening lines of the post:  “maybe you’ll even learn a thing or two about how to prepare for a real emergency.”

What does this have to do with the pig flu you ask?  A lot.

By pig flu, I am of course referring to the 2009 H1N1, which raised a very serious issue in our culture, that being that in our paranoia over things we should not be paranoid about, we completely disregard the things that should actually cause us to worry.  The zombie apocalypse included.

The CDC recognized this when 2009 H1N1 made the news:  people were rushing out to buy HAZMAT masks and unnecessarily throwing away their pork products, all the while ignoring what they needed to do to actually protect themselves from the virus, and (more disturbingly) the more deadly Influenzas A and B.  In response to this alarming trend to ignore real concerns in favor of ones that we should not worry to much about, the CDC issued a statement in 2009 that hysteria over things that we should not be made hysterical about inspires us to ignore real issues that threaten the safety and lives of ourselves and others around us every day.  And boy does it ever.

Anyone remember when people were so paranoid about the possibility of a biological terrorism that they began buying gas masks and duct taping themselves into their homes?  Countless people across America fed so strongly on that paranoia that they ignored basic safety and closed off all of the air inlets to their homes, many of whom died of suffocation and carbon monoxide poisoning.  And I’m sure we all know someone who has considered (dear God, please don’t say actually followed through with) not giving their child innoculations due to unreasonable concerns about the very rare, possible (and some unproven) side effects.  Daily we see horror stories in the news about situations like this:  someone is so concerned that they will get the superbug that they refuse to take their antibiotics and develop pneumonia and die; a couple is so worried over the BPA scare that they refuse to sterilize their baby’s bottles “to be safe,” only for the baby to get deathly ill with ecoli  poisoning.  Somewhere, at some time, we stopped listening to our professionals and our own common sense.

I recently read an article that old and previously dormant diseases are now cropping up again, such as old strains of tuberculosis and whooping cough; and that this was undoubtably a direct result of the decrease of people receiving immunizations out of a growing (unproven) concern that thermosil causes autism.  What is sad about this is that the people we want to protect the most – our children, our family, our friends – are so negatively impacted by unreasonable paranoia.  If the zombie apocalypse were to ever happen, I’m pretty certain it would not get out of control by some randomly occurring, bizarre mutant toxin.  No, it would come of people’s ignorance – of disregarding basic matters of safety and health in the name of having our dangerously close-minded and opinionated hysterics.

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