... the other Black experience

I was recently sick and with the recent hysteria over the H1N1 virus, I came to realize, once again, to what degree we live in a culture of fear. Now I'm not here to advocate anything except making decisions based on research, facts and sound judgment.

First it was the flu...months ago it was announced as a global pandemic and there was panic. Pandemic relates to how contagious this is, not how severe. At that time it was described as an intense cold or flu. It was contained to more southerly parts of the world and quickly forgotten by our media until flu season here began. Meanwhile, pharmaceutical companies started developing a vaccine.

And here's where it gets complicated, cause once again the public was engorged with fear. "I'm not getting the vaccine" most were saying. I was saying the same thing. But my reasons were not the same as most people. Here they are. I have doubts about a hastily made product for which there could not have been proper testing and for which the manufacturers are immune from any accountability. Too many unknown variables. (I know there are those of you dying to play devils advocate here, but hang on, I'll get to you.) Weigh that against a virus that I know will give me a week's discomfort, and that's all, and I gotta go with the virus. I'm a healthy young man, I wouldn't say the same for young children or the elderly or anyone at high risk, but my natural defenses work fine, so no vaccine for me. (Note:For ME) My decision couldn't be based on fact since there is no way of knowing if the vaccine is effective and safe or not, all I could go on was pharmaceutical companies' history and track record, which is patchy, and since they try to cover up their worst mistakes, unreliable. It was a judgment call, I went with the devil I know instead of the devil I don't know.

Most people who came to the same conclusion I did, expressed a general mistrust of the government. No reasons why, just a general fear. Our politicians may not always take care of our interests, we can even accuse them of gross incompetence at times, but people....THEY'RE NOT TRYING TO KILL YOU.

In recent weeks the media has begun reporting a series of deaths due to the H1N1 virus. Now everyone wants the vaccine, not because they've weighed the pros and cons and made a conscious choice, but out of fear. Autopsies for these deaths are pending, we don't know if there were other mitigating factors here. It's also been reported that the regular seasonal flu causes more deaths annually, but this seems to be lost on most folks.

Fear seems to permeate everything everywhere. It's supposed to be a natural warning of real danger, it's not supposed to be on all the time clouding our thinking. In this debate surrounding the H1N1 virus, there is relatively little risk of complications from the vaccine, conversely, there is little risk of dying from the virus itself. Either way you go, there is NO REAL DANGER, just some small risk management. So do your research and make the best decision you can for you and your family.

As I said before, I was sick recently. I had all the reported symptoms of H1N1 and I would describe it as an intense clod or flu, as was reported months ago, but without a definitive test, I don't know for sure that this is what I had. The probability is high, but that's all I can say. I stayed home a few days, rested a lot, drank lots of fluids, and got better.

I wrote this to talk about what seems is a chronic, social obsession with fear, not to talk about H1N1. The H1N1 issue is just the most current manifestation of this obsession, so I'll probably write another one on this subject again.

To all of you take care, and be well. And remember what JFK said, there's nothing to fear, but fear itself.

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