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Matchstick Men? 
3rd-Nov-2005 11:03 pm
The other day I wake up and see President Bush talking about how we're gonna plan to deal with the possible flu pandemic (avian flu).

It was kind of tough to follow what he was talking about since he didn't have an accurate "idiot sign" behind him when he was talking. You know, those signs that are on the wall/monitors behind him or hanging off the table/podium he is at. Those signs that tell you what great thing he is doing for all of us.

Anyway, I'm listening to him talk about his big plans on how to prepare. He had three main points in his plan: Detect, Protect and Respond. Not a bad list, but I have to tell you that I held my breath then I first heard him explain why we had to "detect." He said, "A pandemic is a lot like a forest fire. If caught early, it might be extinguished with limited damage; if allowed to smolder undetected, it can grow to an inferno that spreads quickly beyond our ability to control it." You can read about it and get a link to the video of him talking about it here.

So, you're probably wondering why I was holding my breath. Well, because I was afraid he was going to talk about 'prevention.' Now, usually that wouldn't be a bad thing, but when Bush compares a pandemic to a forest fire, prevention is a BAD THING. Why?

In 2002 Bush said the following about preventing forest fires, "We need to make our forests healthy by using some common sense ... We need to understand, if you let kindling build up and there's a lightning strike, you're going to get yourself a big fire." Seriously. You can read about it here.

Now let's formulate. Starting with Bush's idea that a pandemic is like a forest fire.

Pandemic = Forest Fire

Which could mean on a smaller scale:

Flu = Fire (the pandemic is many cases of the flu in this case and a forest fire is many trees on fire)

Now, how does a fire spread...it burns things. In a forest I think we can agree we're talking about trees. If a virus spreads it spreads through living things and we're focusing on it spreading through people. Now we've got:

Trees = People AND

Forests = Communities (lots of trees together equal a forest and lots of people together equal a community, right?)

Remember, Bush said that, "if you let kindling build up and there's a lightning strike, you're going to get yourself a big fire." We know he's basically saying trees are kindling for the fire following the lightning strike. So:

Kindling = Trees = People AND

Lightning Strike = Initial Infection (the lightning is where the forest fire started and the initial infection is where all the other people get infected, right?)

Now we can look at Bush's comments about preventing forest fires with the replacements based on his pandemic comparison. Now it's this:

"We need to make our communities healthy by using some common sense ... We need to understand, if you let people build up and there's a initial infection, you're going to get yourself a big flu."

Kinda scary huh? (and I don't mean that it actually reads how Bush sometimes speaks)

Crazy train of thought? Perhaps, but I'm not the one who said a pandemic was like a forest fire and thought the best way to prevent forest fires was to cut down swaths of trees, was I?

Like I said though, he didn't talk about prevention of the avian flu, so it's all good...I hope.
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