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.

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.

Busy one

Today was a very busy day, so perhaps last night wasn’t the best time to drink copious amounts of very nice red wine. But then, is there actually ever a bad time to do that? Yesterday evening’s choice was a 2015 Proprietor’s Blend from Ormond in Darling. It was very, very good.

My head this morning was less good though, and I had to get the Boy Wonder up to Milnerton to play a SportsBall. This I did, but rather than sensibly dozing off in the car park for three hours, I decided to brave the traffic out to the west coast and wander along Bloubergstrand for a few kilometers. You might not know Bloubergstrand if you’re not from around these parts, but it’s the one with this view:

…of Cape Town and Table Mountain, the latter of which was – as you can see – covered by a fluffy cloud and the former of which was blanketed in some nice, thick pollution.

The photos I took also reminded me that I need to clean my lenses and camera.
Filthy splodges everywhere. Eww.

Back home for a super quick lunch, (the “super” describing the speed, rather than any sort of culinary or gastronomic quality) and then off to the local Scout Hall to help clear out gutters and cut down branches before the winter storms hit.

I walked hard and then worked hard today. I am now officially knackered.

Let’s sit back and see what’s in the red wine cupboard for this evening…

Called it

Remember this post from last week, expressing disbelief and dismay at the alleged plans to spend R22 million on a Big Flag?

The Government said:

This has the potential to unite people as it becomes a symbol of unity and common identity.
The project is envisaged to contribute towards nation-building and social cohesion. 

And I said:

Well, guess what happened?

This week, pisspoor Minister (apologies for the tautology) Nathi Mthethwa launched the Big Plan for a Big Flag, and the nation – all built and socially cohesed – turned around together as one and told him to Tsek.

Now, having “taken note of public discourse” (which was basically a collection of suggestions, generally ending with the word “off”) and:

In upholding these ethos and the inalienable rights of citizens to be heard, the Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture has directed his department to review the process related to the Monumental Flag in its totality.

Now, this is actually a Good Thing. It is very unusual for a Minister or any member of government to actually give a toss what the public think. And that’s because those ministers and members of government are safe, privileged and untouchable. They don’t have to listen, because there are no consequences whatsoever for them not listening.

So Mthethwa apparently hearing the er… “discourse”, and actually having some sort of reaction – albeit merely “reviewing the process” at this point – is to be applauded.

The real acid tests come when: 1. there is a reasonable outcome to the review – and that doesn’t necessarily mean that the project is dropped: maybe they find private sponsorship for it, for example; 2. the next time something like this crosses Nathi’s desk, he remembers this situation and says “no” before it goes any further; and 3. any other Minister looks at this situation and Mthethwa’s reaction, and chooses to listen to the public regarding their feelings on any given project or idea as well.

Optimistic people may think that this could be a watershed moment.
The realists amongst us have already drunk half our glass and we’re ordering a brandy chaser to deal with the inevitable disappointment.