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Chester County Press

Editorial: The jackals and the lemmings

07/20/2021 04:06PM ● By Richard Gaw

“Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity."                                                                    Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

He is a forever teenager living in the basement of his parent’s home that contains a bed, a desk, a lamp and a lap top computer. Last month, he held himself in high praise for receiving thousands of comments to his social media post declaring that the COVID-19 vaccine produces an electromagnetic field at the site of the injection.

Then there is the man who is the father of two schoolchildren, who spends his evenings drenched in the sweat of false narratives by TV pundits who claim that the COVID-19 vaccine will alter the course of the man’s DNA. Within minutes, he shares the news with every one of his social media friends, and by the next morning, his post has been shared with hundreds of strangers.

Finally, there is man categorized as the angry uncle at the family reunion, telling anyone within earshot that the COVID-19 vaccination actually contains implants, microchips and tracking devices, all designed in order for the U.S. government to watch our every move. No one at the reunion is particularly alarmed at the angry uncle and no one challenges him to back up his testimony; they know that he is a gardener tossing seeds onto pavement in the hopes that they will take root.

These three men, while fictionalized in caricature in this editorial, are in fact microcosms for what is truly real, manifested in legions of theorists who pull the levers of communication in order to provoke and pontificate -- hooligans masquerading as prophets holding court at a traveling clown show of denial and debunking, peddling their untruths onto anyone willing to take the bait.

In the process, they are killing Americans.

Hard against the flimsy argument of theories, the facts speak for themselves. To date, COVID-19 has claimed the lives of more than 605,000 U.S. citizens and infected over 33.7 million more -- both the worst in the world, according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.

And yet, while 57 percent of Americans have received at least one vaccination dose and about half are fully vaccinated, a recent poll revealed that 30 percent of adults in the U.S. have not gotten a vaccine against COVID-19 and have no plan to do so. Their reasons are many and often ludicrous, but of those who reject vaccination, a recent ABC News/Washington Post poll estimated that 73 percent of them claim that U.S. officials are exaggerating the risk of the new delta variant, and nearly 80 percent believe that they have very little risk in getting sick.

On the heels of this defiance, recent data from the Centers for Disease Control said that more than half of all new COVID-19 cases in the U.S. have been traced to the delta variant, which is believed by experts to be passed more easily to others than any strain of COVID-19 that has come before it.

In counties across the nation where COVID-19 rates are at their highest, there is a direct correlation between positive cases and the unvaccinated; 99 percent of the people who died from COVID-19 related causes in June were unvaccinated, Dr. Anthony Fauci said recently.

We live in a world where the concrete facts of science have been pummeled by flimsy argument, blind faith and arrogant skepticism practically since the time hieroglyphics appeared on stone walls, a fact that has been amplified by the modern tools of communication we have been given.

There is little surprise here. Unfounded blather deemed hypothesis and punctuated by exclamation has always drawn more moths to the flame than equations, substance and truth. The sound of the jackals on the prairie has – and will always -- attract the lemmings. 

And yet, none of us – those who prescribe to facts and those who spend their lives refuting them – are immune from prophecy. As the delta variant begins its assault on our nation, the strength and vulnerability of our convictions and our decisions will be revealed, in the statistical form of who survives and who does not.