In Marysville Today No One Got Ebola

Obama hasn’t had much to say about gun violence despite an overwhelming amount of deaths compared to Ebola

Today, Paul Allen announced that he’s donating at least one hundred million dollars to Ebola research. President Obama has appointed an Ebola Czar and today he hugged the brave and heroic nurse who contracted Ebola but is now cured. The world over people are remarking that we are treating Ebola the way we should have treated AIDS in the 1980s. Despite the media’s absolute paranoia about Ebola, it is somewhat inspiring to watch as various governments, individuals, and organizations come together to stop a global problem from becoming worse.

Since 1976 there have been 7,842 known cases of people getting an Ebola related virus. Of those, 4,494 people have died from it. Over half of those deaths have been since March of this year. The Ebola virus while not nearly the pandemic that some reports would have you believe is most definitely an increasing danger that we need to put our various resources towards stopping in its tracks. And let me be clear that I’m glad we are making these efforts to contain and eradicate the Ebola virus.

Today in Marysville, Washington a young man walked into his high school and shot five people, killing at least one and critically injuring others before turning the gun on himself. Unfortunately, such an event is nothing new. We average four of five school shootings a month these days. And school shootings account for an incredibly small percentage of gun violence overall. We hear more about school shootings because they are considered more tragic and more frightening as they strike at the youngest among us and those we care for the most. Our children are precious and the idea that they are becoming used to the schools we drop them off at going into lockdown is a tragedy in and of itself.

Every year 30,000 people in America alone are killed by people using guns. Guns are so easy to get in America that even Mexican drug cartels come north to get their weapons. Two out of three of these gun deaths involve only one person. The amount of suicides committed using a firearm is staggering.

Almost three times as many people shoot themselves every single year as have ever been infected with the Ebola virus in the last 38 years. Even our yearly gun deaths from homicides outnumber the number of people worldwide infected by the Ebola virus. More people were shot and killed today in Marysville than have been killed by the Ebola virus in America.

And yet absolutely no one expect President Obama to appoint a Gun Control or Mental Health Czar. No billionaire is going to spend one hundred million dollars to help curb the epidemic of gun violence in this country. Paul Allen, who is an amazing philanthropist has put $500,000 towards local gun background check Initiative 594. Or to put it another way, he’s given .05% as much towards gun control as he’s giving to stop Ebola.

Whether you want to blame lack of gun control or lack of mental health care (and I really don’t understand those who aren’t capable of blaming both), practically nothing whatsoever is being done by politicians, billionaires, or organizations to stop your child’s school from being the next place a disturbed person chooses to start firing his gun. But don’t worry, they probably won’t get Ebola.

– Jack Cameron

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Did This Post Just Give You Ebola?

fearbolaNo, it’s not that I’ve given up on this ‘posting every day’ thing after only a week. I’ve decided taking weekends off is a good idea and yesterday I was sick and figured you didn’t want to hear all about my body doing all the things that bodies do when they’re sick.

For the record, it wasn’t Ebola. Of course it wasn’t Ebola. Ebola has killed exactly one person in the United States. That was in Texas. I’m in Washington State. There is virtually zero chance for me to get Ebola any time soon. The same is true for you.

And yet, if we go by media coverage, Ebola is EVERYWHERE and we’re all in constant danger of getting Ebola. A recent poll shows that nearly 40% of Americans are ‘very concerned’ about a major Ebola outbreak in America. In Maine, a teacher who attended a seminar in Dallas, miles from the nearest of the three infected patients has been placed on leave out of fear of Ebola. Again, there have been THREE cases in the entire country of 280 million people and only one death. To put this in perspective, there have been more Popes in the last three years than there have been deaths in America from Ebola.

Hunter S. Thompson’s final book of original material was called The Kingdom of Fear. The title refers to post-9/11 America. We are told over and over again what we need to fear whether it’s mass shooters, ISIS, or Ebola. Each of these things make for great television. They all pass the old ‘If it bleeds, it leads’ test. And they all have virtually zero chance of having a direct impact on your average American unless of course you include the fear of these things.

This isn’t to say that things like Ebola or ISIS or mass shootings aren’t bad. They are. And there are definitely things that we as a country should do about them. However, if you are not directly involved in these things, there is no reason for these things to occupy much headspace and you sure as hell have better things to spend your time worrying about.

The problem is that the news doesn’t really get anything out of telling you, “You are eight times more likely to get married to Larry King than you are to die of Ebola in America.”  At that point, any further talk of Ebola likely isn’t going to interest you all that much. Whereas going into detail on how death from Ebola happens and how there’s the faint possibility that someone on an airplane somewhere might have Ebola and they could be ANYWHERE is much more likely to make you keep watching.

So what’s to be done? A friend of mine recently asked people on Facebook where they might find an unbiased source of news that wasn’t part of some partisan agenda. No one had a good answer for them.  The solution I’ve found is simply to not allow fear to dictate your feelings on a given topic. If you find that there’s a lot of fear about something in the media, take a closer look. Do the numbers match up to the hysteria? Is this thing directly affecting you in any way right now? If not, what chance is there that they will? Rather than buying into headlines that end in question marks like “Does A Missing Passenger On A Plane Have Ebola?”  Ask questions of your own.

– Jack Cameron