The sky didn’t fall…. again.

I used to see myself as far from being an alarmist.  Before uttering a response or invoking a knee-jerk emotion, I felt some pride knowing that I would first take the time to figure out what was being presented, then formulate an informed and measured response/decision/reaction.

Not any more.  I was pulled into the alarmist culture for the last half of a year.

Somehow, the “sky is falling” cries made it deep within my brain and took root, germinating and slowly developing into a plant of deep concern.  Health organizations and government agencies around the world were warning us to prepare for a pandemic of pandemic proportions.

To his credit, Mick Mayers over at Firehouse Zen blogged last April about putting the media hype on the upcoming tragedy into perspective. How right he was!

Katy bar the door!

Pronouncements and prognostications that fully one third of the U.S. population would become ill with the H1N1 virus, claiming the lives of hundreds of zillions around the world.  Especially at risk were those around me that I loved the most- the children.  Who will protect the children?

This wasn’t the first time I had been duped by these Chicken Littles.

Howabout that Avian (Bird) Flu of 2007?  That was to be a major event.  Although many were sickened and some lost their lives, it was not the end of days we were led to believe might occur.   Human cases of bird flu peaked in 2006 at 115, with 79 deaths. The number has since declined, with 73 human cases and 32 deaths in 2009, the WHO said.

This week, the World Health Organization (WHO) is still singing that tune, like the song you can’t get out of your head with a fresh report warning that the danger still exists.

Oh, and remember SARS?  That was back earlier in the decade.  We were taught to be careful of airline travelers and birdies.

And mosquitoes that bite the birdies.

And Canadians.  Especially Torontonians.

Just kidding abooot dat, my puck-lovin’ friends!

Although we should be happy that the cataclysmic apocalypse has not yet happened, the truth is that it still may at some point in the future.  So how effective will the warnings from WHO and other government agencies be?  Falling short on the previous readings of their crystal balls, methinks most will refuse to pay attention when the feces truly hits the fan….

So what’s a previously mild-mannered, even-heeled, children-loving firefighter paramedic supposed to do?

I know! I’ll check to see if there are any expiration dates on the case of N95’s up in the attic…


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John Mitchell

Firefighter/Paramedic and a Lieutenant in suburban Chicago

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