Saturday, June 4, 2011

This'll Kill Ya

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 31:  A man speaks on his mo...Image by Getty Images via @daylife

There was an out-break of diphtheria in Inuvik, Northwest Territories, Canada in 1976.
I was living in the Yukon at the time and remember the wave of fear that rolled across the North.

The hospital in Whitehorse quickly announced that a special clinic would be held for anyone who wished to be inoculated.

I suppose they should have known what was going to happen.
After all, the North has a large indigenous population and the Aboriginal people haven't forgotten how their ancestors were almost wiped out in earlier epidemics.
 The rest of us had parents or grandparents who remembered a time before there was a vaccine. It is a deadly disease.

The next day after work I joined the procession of people wanting to be vaccinated.
As our endless line of quiet, frightened souls shuffled forward, a doctor, probably cranky because he was missing his supper, came out of the clinic and stood on the porch looking at us.
Suddenly he put his hands on his hips and shouted, "GO HOME! IT ISN'T ALWAYS FATAL!"

Thirty-five years later I had a 'deja vu all over again' kind of a feeling when I read  Monte Sonnenbergs editorial, Benefits of cell phones far outweigh the risks, St. Catharines Standard, Thursday, June 2

Though the disease in question isn't diphtheria - it's brain cancer,

and the problem isn't that it is contagious, it's the fact that more and more studies are linking brain cancer to cell phone use,

the message to suck it up and quit worrying is the same.

Here is a little bit of Mr. Sonnenberg telling us to 'go home because it isn't always fatal':

TheWorld Health Organization study says the incidence of certain types of brain cancer has doubled over the past twenty years for regular users of cell phones in Scandinavia.
However, even if the rate in this part of the world has doubled, it still represents a very small percentage of the population...

Not everyone who comes down with brain cancer dies of the disease.

Gee, thanks, Mr. Editor.
We feel so much better now.

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Debra She Who Seeks said...

Yeah, it's all well and good until it's him or his family who contracts it. Then he'll change his tune. But so long as it's anyone else . . . who cares, right?

The Episcopagan said...

Well that's how I feel but the comments on fb have been split. Interesitng topic though.

Doug Jamieson said...

It's interesting to see how we humans use this "not always fatal" reasoning to continue with self destructive behaviour. Remember the resistance to seatbelts? Quitting smoking?

Could denial of climate change also be in this category?