I had a strong and bemused reaction when I read this on Tuesday.
My reaction was something like this: It’s the flu!! Why do we need policing???
Actually, the answer to the second is readily apparent to me. Policing…or, what this New York Times piece dubs “ad hoc” policing, is necessary because of the actions in question: people are becoming forceful and deceptive in order to be vaccinated against the popular demon of our season: Swine Flu. Which brings me back to my initial reaction: it’s the flu!! Seriously! Why does the public at large feel so pressured to be protected from it?
The answer to that is the media frenzy. What began as a few isolated cases dealt a problematic blow in certain areas of our country and the world. The confusing part of this story is that, as I understand it, more people die from the seasonal flu each year than have died from the Swine Flu so far. So, did the media just need ratings? Did this lead them to create a crisis, to blow everything so out of proportion that everyone, including the President, jumped on the pandemic paranoia train? Or, did some federal agency need an influx of funding that reimbursement for a vaccine in mass quantities would produce?
Wait…is there some sort of tracking chemical in this vaccine that the government can use to monitor us…thus the pressure for everyone to be vaccinated?
Okay, okay…that last one was a bit paranoid. In all seriousness, though, I’ve referenced before the pressure I’ve felt to receive the vaccine. Technically, I fall into a high-risk category, because I work in health care. I’m not worried, though, not even when my wife felt slightly under the weather today. I watch my dietary intake, I wash my hands, I take care of myself. I don’t need the virus injected into me to prevent me from getting it…that’s just sort of counter-intuitive in my mind.
Whatever the malicious motivation or sequential stupidity behind this event, however, it is difficult to not fall where my friend Christina did in her comment on my last post about Swine Flu, when she stated that “someone has an agenda.” Crowds all around the country are lying, cheating, and panicking to receive a vaccination against a strand of an illness with which our country (and the world) deals each year, convinced that their lives will be more at jeopardy than usual if they don’t. We wonder at why this is happening. I don’t think we need to look very far.
Hey, I think the media is doing us a favor!
They’re giving us information in bite-sized portions that we can handle with our short attention spans. We don’t have to think about it, just react (with panic and vaccines).
It saves us the trouble of thinking more deeply about less-easily packaged issues, like poverty, human trafficking, genocide… or even the family that’s suffering next door.
Thank goodness for the swine flu!