“Those who are unaware they are walking in darkness will never seek the light.” (Lee)
As we distance ourselves for protection, re-evaluate the cost of society and modern living, and watch the world sicken around us, our comfortable cores are changing. Realigning to strange, empty highways. Working from shelter. Dodging the paths of others and relying on social media for social connections.
Simply breathing is simply betraying.
Our route as humans is under redirection. Through division. Through suffering. Through climate change. Through rage against the system.
All harmony has been lost. Our doctors and healthcare workers and survival resources risk their lives on the front line, lacking the necessary personal protective equipment I once lauded and promoted. Unemployment could rise to 20% in the country, could be worse if we reach mythic levels. Grocery stores are bare of essentials and comfort now. We hunker down in our hovels waiting for the sky to fall, watching the stocks crash to unforeseen depths and wishing we had chose differently.
Chose pragmatically. Proactively. Protectively.
Please note that I didn't say"conservatively". We need to spend our resources for human survival, just do it better.
Kingdom of Sorrow
The American Kingdom spends trillions on soldiers, bombers and bullshit annually, and was overwhelmed and undone by an unseen bug in a week or so.
It should be obvious where the real battles lie - deeper inside.
Yet, our fearless leaders call for us to "get back to business", like feudal Kings who have lost patience with their ailing peasants.
The Kingdom requires your supplication and servitude, or the Kingdom as we know it won't survive. It wasn't built to be closed. It wasn't built to stall. It wasn't built to fall.
There seems no end to this. The peasants get a $1200 survival check as pacification, as the King speaks of Churches packed with asymptomatic carriers and prayers alike on Easter. A mass infection event filled with nodding paupers and coughing patients.
Welcome to the New Dark Age - a time of silence, fear and tyranny. The ignorance and barbarism of our early years never really faded, and has been given a fake-tan-kissed face and grace by scepter.
A pulpit from which he can serve lies and twisted truths to his fawning followers.
A self-imbued royalty and piety.
From his gold-plated tower, the Orange King watches, seethes and dismisses all that doesn't suit or serve him.
The Ubiquitous Bugs
Those of us paying attention knew a virus could destabilize our world, and warned everyone, even published content about it, but did little was done in preparation. Too few dollars spent. Too few people employed (in fact, support staff for emergency preparedness has been fired and reduced under the Orange King).
Too few people taking possible catastrophe seriously.
In 2007-2008, I worked with CIDRAP, Dr. Mike Osterholm, and Dr. Marguerite Pappaioanou at the University of Minnesota, providing project support for an Avian Influenza project/center. I wireframed one of their first web experiences, and learned a lot about Infectious Diseases, their hotspots, global highways and public health headaches while working around the topic. Coincidentally, I was forced to leave the job due to reduction in funds for my contract.
However, deep respect of their work in public health and infectious disease prep carried into my professional life at 3M Safety.
In 2015 - 2016, I built a website for a disposable respirator stockpile management program. You can find the brochure here, but the website has since been taken down, redirected. The proud company I worked for at that time was trying to get ahead of crises like COVID-19. It developed programs with their respiratory products to keep us from reaching the point we're currently at.
Sadly, the program never really took off (ie. few entities took advantage of stockpiling respirators at a reasonable price before the crisis hit), and was eventually de-prioritized, mostly forgotten. I imagine where my life would be now if those health and safety areas I/we championed were ever taken seriously by the masses.
If funding to hospitals and preparedness programs wasn't reduced or cut outright.
If my emergency preparedness blogs and content were ever shared as real warnings and alerts to an aware public.
If resources went toward driving prudence, instead of affluence and arrogance.
If there was less noise and lies, and more truth and clarity.
Hindsight is 20/20, but historical clarity is worthless if we never learn from our mistakes, and do our best to not repeat them.
Throughout time, human civilization has been rocked by plagues and pandemics. The list is too long and gruesome to recall here, but the COVID-19 pandemic could eventually rank on that list.
As of this writing, we're at
COVID-19 Cases: 428,948 humans
Deaths: 19,152 humans
Recovered: 110,047 humans
Global Population: 7.8 billion humans
Comparatively, this virus shouldn't be worth a sneeze, but it is dangerously contagious and brutal. It will kill more than the common flu before humans have it under control with testing or vaccinations. It will ruin lives. It may ruin my own. The situation should not be taken lightly by anyone, much less our leaders.
Where this goes - and how many future virus storms we'll endure before we get our #humanfirst priorities right - nobody knows. I'm no seer, but that's clear to me.
This isn't a righteous "I told you so" moment; this is recognition of the dark reckoning ahead. I face this painful reckoning and correction, just like the rest of my friends, family and frenemies are.
I did my best as a voice for truth with the platforms I have had and currently control, but truth is irrelevant when lies are in charge. My recession of voice is proof of that consuming void.
Let hope be your flashlight in the coming darkness.