On dangers in schools

Heartbreaking visuals and stories from Texas this morning as we woke to news of yet another school shooting in the USA. As a parent hearing these things, you always subconsciously put yourself in the position of those who sent their kids off to school on what should have been just another normal day, only for things never to be the same again, and you take special care to tell your kids that you love them as they head off to class.

And yes, my kids also go through active shooter and lockdown drills at school. They shouldn’t have to.

Sure, we can’t protect our children from everything, but there’s no justification in the incomprehensibly wicked act that we are hearing about today. Neither from the individual, nor from the laws and institutions that made it possible for it to take place.
And yet there will be plenty that will claim that this is a false flag; plenty more that will argue that it’s a price we have to pay for keeping our “freedoms” intact.

You don’t have to listen to them. Today or any other day.

The cartoon above isn’t from today. People can argue that “freedom” point until they’re blue in the face.

I’ll happily listen to their arguments on masks. I recognise that masks aren’t perfect. I think we’d all rather not have to wear them. But – and yes, of course I have done a lot of reading around this – they do offer a degree of protection against infection. And that’s hugely valuable and when known Covid positive individuals are allowed (and even encouraged, nogal!) to be out and about amongst the general public and – specifically in this case – in classrooms, we need every bit of defence and protection we can get.

One in every five symptomatic people still with active, infectious virus in their nasal passages 11 days after their positive test. One in six after 12 days. Still more than one in sixteen after two weeks.

And yet they’re allowed back into school 7 days after their symptoms begin (and we’re told to wait 5 days for a test!). Asymptomatic kids don’t have to stay off school at all. And then we wonder why there is so much morbidity continuing around us.

No. Covid isn’t as bad as being shot dead in your classroom. But it’s so easy to help protect our kids against it. So I’ll listen to your case on masks and I’ll state mine. We might agree: I doubt it, but there’s always that possibility. And then we’ll keep on wearing masks in schools.

Guns, though? No. I’m not listening. Been there, tried that.
Because there is no balance to be had there, there’s nothing to argue.

The South African pro-gun lobby will proudly and loudly brandish their occasional stories of an allegedly foiled hijacking or burglary, illogically extrapolating that to explain how an armed citizen could somehow prevent every incident of local crime, while conveniently ignoring the horrendous number of daily firearm-related deaths in SA and the number of household guns stolen (20,000+ each year) which clearly only exacerbates the problems we face here.

And yes, I know the police have their guns stolen, too. And that’s equally crap.
But adding yours to the pot still doesn’t help anyone, does it?

And then their comparing South Africa’s situation with the USA’s. Sure, both have unacceptably high gun deaths and both have differing gun laws. But they are wholly different societies and thus the comparison is also wholly invalid. It’s only made because it favours their case.
It’s the same tactic as choosing to compare Sweden’s “no lockdown” [sigh] Covid response and stats with (say) Bulgaria’s. Sweden suddenly looks amazing. But compare Sweden’s stats with countries that are actually like Sweden, such as Norway, Denmark and Finland, rather than an impoverished, ex-Soviet bloc totalitarian state, and suddenly, it all falls apart. So they don’t do that.
Rather compare the US with Canada or the UK on the gun issue. But they won’t, because that doesn’t fit their agenda.

Of course, the irony comes when the you realise that those advocating for masks to be banned “to protect our kids” and those suggesting that “every citizen should carry a gun”, are exactly the same people. The Venn diagram is actually just a circle.

It would be laughably stupid if the consequences weren’t so very damaging.

Quota canary

Zero sleep last night. Bit under the weather today (no, not that). And a busy evening.

So please accept a quota Cape Canary from the summer as today’s post.

It’s been a thoroughly miserable day in Cape Town today. Grey, damp and drizzly.
So, lazy though this is, it’s still nice to have a bit of colour on an otherwise dour day.

More tomorrow.

The Last Day

Yesterday’s climax to several of Europe’s top football leagues was every bit as exciting as any neutral could ever have hoped for. Of course, no-one is completely neutral in these matters: I can’t recall any game where I actually didn’t care at all about who was going to win. After all, we all have our little foibles and favourites and many reasons whey we hate the dirty, scab bastards from Nottingham.

And you can spin it any way you want, but Bill Shankly was right: winning is everything. And thus I know readers who will be happy and readers who won’t be happy this morning.

For me, looking across England, Spain and Italy last night (the leagues I watch) and the bits that I was mildly invested in, I got two out of three at the top (one having been decided long ago), and one of out three at the bottom (from yesterday).
Not great, but still better than the one that I was really invested in, which didn’t happen at all.

So now we are about to enter a period of quiet evenings in front of the family instead of the football. Of having to learn and talk about cricket (wut?!?) to distract ourselves, or face up to the crushing reality of South Africa’s economic predicament (I’ll take the cricket, please). Of betting on the likes of FCs Honka and Petrzalka, instead of the Blades and Real Madrid. Of blissfully early nights and lower stress levels.

I’m not sure what I’m going to do with myself. Bring on the 30th July.

A Lassa minute entry

We did Corona and Monkeypox and Salmonella and Polio the other day, but I bet that no-one had “imported case of Lassa Fever” on their microbiological bingo card, did they?

And yet…

Ding Dong!

Synopsis: Man falls ill in Nigeria, gets treatment, remains ill so flies to South Africa to get better treatment(!), ends up in hospital in KZN, sadly throws a seven.

Now 50 contacts are being traced and monitored, just in case. Nothing yet, so right now, it looks like we may have dodged a very nasty bullet.

Since Covid, it seems that the media and the public have been much more aware of viruses, microbiology and outbreaks and such – for better and for worse (everyone on social media is an expert) – Monkeypox is a good example. But this one has been in the NICD media releases for a while, and it doesn’t look like it was given much attention by anyone. That’s odd in the current climate, but it’s also quite welcome.