Waiting for Oblivion

Imagine that you and your friends are standing around one day in an open area when, surrounding you from higher ground, a group of snipers begin picking you off.

Your leaders hurriedly tell you to retreat inside the fort, perhaps the Alamo, so that you can regroup and think things out.

The fort is safe for sure.

When you go outside the fort, the snipers start picking you off. One by one.

Your leaders tell you to get back inside the fort, which you do. Your leaders tell you to stay inside the fort so that you can be safe.

This is a new kind of sniper, they tell you.

When you suggest taking some men out to take the sniper down, your leaders quickly pooh-pooh that idea. 

They reinforce again and again:  This is a new kind of sniper. We don’t know anything about this sniper.

But they are damn sure that they know that you should wait inside the fort.

Indeed, they don’t really have much of a plan except to wait.

They tell you to wait inside the fort for a couple of months until the snipers go away.

Then it will be safe, they reassure you, to go outside the fort.

You comply, but with reservations.

You wait the prescribed amount of time, then go outside the fort;  but the snipers are still there. And they start picking you off one at a time.

The leaders tell you to go back inside the fort. They tell you that you didn’t wait long enough inside the fort. They blame their failure on you.  They tell you that if you had obeyed and waited longer the snipers would have gone away. When you ask them why the snipers will go away, they just tell you that they will.

In fact the leaders become a tad indignant when you question them, because, well, they are the leaders, and they went to all the right schools.  Plus, they are not accustomed to being questioned and challenged.

They then tell you that this guy from New York City named Captain Fauci is going to rescue you if you only you stay inside the fort.  They say that he is going to show up with a special weapon that will take down the snipers.

They haven’t invented the special weapon yet, but he, Captain Fauci, promises that they are  going to have it.  So your leaders tell you to wait some more.

Your leaders also tell you that you don’t have weapons good enough to fight this sniper.  Actually, they don’t even talk much about those weapons.  They occupy your time with nonsense; they bring forth carnival acts to entertain you.

When you ask your leaders why you and the other lads and lassies inside the fort can’t run out there and storm the snipers, they tell you that your weapons won’t work.

Meanwhile in another town there are other people who are in the same fix that you are in, except that those people decided not to wait inside the fort. They decided to storm the snipers. They took losses, for sure, but they beat the snipers. The snipers are gone. The snipers have been defeated.

When you tell your leaders why we can’t do what these other people did, they have no answer.  

Instead they ask you to stay the course.

Why will the snipers go away, you ask.  What will waiting accomplish?  Why don’t we just storm these snipers now?  The other people did it; why can’t we?

Your leaders have no answer. They ask you to wait for the cavalry.

In time, you are getting weaker and weaker. Your food supplies are running out.

What will happen if the cavalry does not show up? What if the cavalry shows up with a weapon that doesn’t work?

What your leaders are asking you to do is gamble on an unknown when there is a known solution that will work.

Your leaders are rolling the dice.

Many hope that the leaders know what they’re doing.

Since most people value conformity over confrontation, the majority of the people go along.

But you are aren’t so sure.

You start to grumble.  You also tell various people that hope is not a plan.

Your leaders, rather than listen to your concerns, send thugs around to threaten you.  They prevent you from talking.  In fact, they limit your ability to talk.

You try to pass a letter around that you have written explaining your position, but the leaders confiscate it.

They tell your friends and neighbors that you are peddling crackpot theories that will get everybody killed.

In vain you try to explain to your family members and friends your position.  You don’t think it is logical that the snipers will go away.   You can’t think of any logical reason why the snipers would do that.

Since everyone is getting weaker waiting inside the fort, it will only be a matter of time before people will be too weak to fight at all.  

Maybe it would be better, you explain, for everyone to take their handguns and storm the snipers, take some losses, and defeat them. 

You notice that there are huge boulders around the fort,  You suggest that some of the men go out and hide behind that outer defense.  That way you can get closer to the snipers and pick them off.  The more men that are out there, the better chance you have.  You figure you could knock out half the snipers.  That would permit more men to advance.  It would feed upon itself and allow you to knock out even more snipers.  A logarithmic effect would take place so that in the long run less people would die.  

You pull out your jack knife to give a visual example.  You open the knife then gently close it applying even pressure on the blade.  When the blade reaches a critical point, the knife snaps closed.  That’s what will happen when we reach a critical point, you explain. The snipers will be defeated.

The leaders say no.  They explain that they are saving lives by remaining in the fort.  In addition, they say, more people risked outside the fort means that more men will get wounded.   This means that healthy people will have to go out and retrieve them and that will mean more lives at risk.  

You try to explain your plan again.  You tell the leaders that more lives will be lost if you sit still.  You remind them that defensive wars are almost always lost.

Your plan sounds so logical to you, that you have a difficult time comprehending why others can’t see that.  Why would people place their faith in these leaders?

Then the leaders explain their theory.

The snipers prey on people.  If there are no people outside the fort, because everyone is inside the fort, the snipers will themselves die of starvation.  The snipers, they explain, can not survive without healthy productive people to prey upon.

The leaders gussy up their argument with fancy graphs and something called an R-naught value.  

They even bring in Captain Fauci, and his boss, General Gates, via teleconference to explain the R-naught value.  While they talk about the R-naught value, another friend of theirs, Colonel Cuomo, dresses up like a chicken and runs around in the background like, well, a chicken with its head cut off.  Colonel Cuomo ramps up the fear.  He says that at the end of the world is at hand.  He says that he is the canary in the coal mine.

This is really good theater, much better than Shakespeare; and the people in the fort seem mesmerized.

The R-naught value, you are told, by General Gates, is the number of people the sniper can pick off per day.  If we lower the R-naught value to a lower value, the sniper will get tired and go away.  The sniper needs to pick off at least one person per day to survive.  This is the way snipers behave based upon our experience, they tell you.

When you meekly suggest that maybe this sniper is different, you are told that what General Gates is stating is settled science.

A chorus of singers and dancers from Washington DC suddenly appear behind General Gates and Captain Fauci and start singing:

Settled science … Settled science … Settled science.

Why is it settled science, you ask the leaders.  How can you be so sure?  Only a short time ago, you told us to go inside the fort because this was a new kind of sniper, that you didn’t know anything about this sniper. Now, you seem to know everything about the sniper.

This question is not even addressed by your leaders.

You are told to shut up, that waiting inside the fort is settled science.

In the meantime, Captain Fauci and Colonel Cuomo ramp up fear of the sniper.

Their fear-mongering remind of you Rafael Resendez Ramirez, the railroad killer.  Do you remember him?  He was the hobo who was riding the rails around the nation, getting off and bashing in the brains of little old ladies in their houses. Since everyone lived within a mile of a railroad tracks, people were scared shitless that Rafael Resendez Ramirez was making a beeline to their house to get them.  You would flinch and run indoors every time you heard a train whistle.

As it turns out, that wasn’t even his real name. That was apparently the name of his uncle.  His real name was Angel Maturino Resendiz.

It also turns out that the fear was hyped up by the media. For sure, he was a threat, but not to the degree that the media portrayed.

You remember this because you are beginning to distrust your leaders when they tell you stay inside the fort.

You are beginning to distrust your leaders because they are not listening to common sense. 

You begin to wonder and ask yourself:  Are they dumb, or are they devious?

Then you discover that General Gates is making a fortune off the fact that this sniper is pinning you down in the fort.  He has business relationships with the companies that are developing the fancy weapon that Captain Fauci says is coming.

And Captain Fauci?  What about him?  Is he making any money off this?  What about any potential post-paid bribes to his kids?  Are there any unwritten agreements?

Of course people who ask questions are naysayers and wet blankets on the party.  To help quell any rebellion, you discover that the leaders have arranged a deal with Captain Fauci and General Gates to have a small amount of food shipped in each month to tide some of the people over.  It’s just enough to keep people pacified and unlikely to rebel.

But it raises the question:  If you are able to sneak in a little by printing up money, why not sneak in a lot?  

Again, things are not adding up.

Then one day, people begin to defy the leaders’ orders; they just can’t take it anymore.  They begin to walk outside the fort. 

The leaders try to intimidate these scofflaws by getting “patriotic” defenders to call them out as traitors.  When this does not work, the leaders switch tactics.  First, they begin shooting the traitors.  That’s right, the leaders take their own people out and then blame these deaths on the sniper.

This has the effect of proving the leaders correct.  You see, the leaders exclaim, do you see what happens when you go outside the fort.  You’re being selfish by going outside the fort.

Many of the pacified people go along and repeat what the leaders put forth.  The chorus line returns to sing:

Selfishness … Selfishness … Selfishness.

Of course, people are beginning to fatigue.  They are also reaching the breaking point, and the leaders know it.

So they switch tactics and begin to phase in the new program.

Ultimately, they need to resume the economy.

If all the people die, then the leaders who feast and thrive off the people will die as well.

So they come up with a ruse.

They get the people to wear helmets if they go outside the fort.  By wearing helmets, the snipers will not be able to kill them.  The helmets will protect them.  

So the mass of people do it.

It seems silly because the snipers could just shoot them in the guts.  Plus, if the helmets really worked, then why do we need to hide within the fort?

The leaders ignore the second question while pointing out that the helmets really work.

It’s settled science, they say.

And the chorus line returns:

Settled science … Settled science … Settled science.

Of course, you are unconvinced.

But you are also a tad confused.

What’s their real game here, you ask yourself.  Do they even know?  Are they making this up as they go?

There have been so many things the leaders have done that don’t make sense.

You have heard of several towns that were under siege that began using Kevlar to protect themselves against the snipers.  

Your leaders, though, denounced the Kevlar as unworkable.  They say that Kevlar really didn’t work at all, that the bullets used by these snipers are special bullets.

When citizens in your own town try to use them, the leaders won’t permit it.

The leaders say that Kevlar is a quack cure.

They even begin punishing citizens for using it.

But when it comes to the helmets, the leaders are all in.  They don’t question the helmets at all even when people begin raising objections.

To reinforce their position, the leaders get the big businesses in town to include the use of helmets in their advertising.

Helmet up, says one fast-food company.

No helmet, no ride, says another.

The helmets are hot and heavy, though.  They restrict the vision also.  

You can see how the helmets might be counterproductive.  They might give people a sense of false confidence.  

If people wear the helmets, they will not take proper care when going outside.   What they should be doing is watching where they go.

It makes no difference.

No one’s listening.

You can’t stand in front of a stampede.

And there is no common sense or rational reasoning when it comes to political leaders.

They play on people’s base fears.

Clearly they have an agenda of which you are not privy.

You’re just along for the ride.

 

 

Sincerely,

Archer Crosley, MD

McAllen, TX 

Sunday, August 2, 2020

Copyright 2020   Archer Crosley   All Rights Reserved

 

 

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