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Friday, August 15, 2014

The town of Ferguson, Missouri, has been flooded with heavily armed SWAT officers in the wake of the Aug. 9 killing of unarmed teen Michael Brown by a police officer. According to some reports, upwards of 70 officers decked out not just in riot gear, but in equipment suited for foreign battlefields, took to the streets Wednesday night in an attempt to disperse the largely peaceful demonstrations organized to protest Brown's death. If the nation needed a poster child for the militarization of its police forces, it just got one. "The general consensus here: if this is militarization, it's the ---------, least-trained, least professional military in the world, using weapons far beyond what they need, or what the military would use when doing crowd control," noted Kelsey Atherton on Storify in a collection of tweets titled "Veterans on Ferguson."


I tried mentioning the risk introduced by the violent backlash to you and I tried asking you to think about how unknown factors increase the risk but apparently the scientist in you is just as lazy and dull as the the rest of you. In situations like this, when you pretend to have all the factors plotted out, you are setting yourself up to be humbled.

No, the scientist in me relies on more than insinuation and half assed guesses being presented as definitive.

Backlash has been against small groups in rural settings. You think a convoy of US military vehicles and personnel would be subjected to the same?

Doctors have been infected while working over there. So its not reasonable to assume some 19 year old kid is going to be able to do any better in avoiding infection.

Because they're handling virus-ridden patients and corpses. Said 19 year old kid won't be. Get it yet? Or are you still "thinking for yourself"?

There's the disease. There is the threat of violence coming from resentful locals. And there is zero risk. Brilliant.

Nice dishonest cherry pick there. The zero risk is in regards to our personnel spreading Ebola in the US.

But since in your world assertions are apparently taken as gospel, I'll assert that being military personnel, they won't be subjected to violence because, well, the locals may not understand Ebola but they understand a rifle.

Only a fool would disregard the risk introduced by human error and bad judgement on the part of our people. But I've refrained from saying as much until now.

Only a fool doesn't understand that this is choosing the option with the least risk. Allowing this situation to continue with little control represents the greater risk.

BTW, do you think we should stop other US citizens from going over there? They may, after all, be subjected to violent opposition and they could (and have) contract the disease.

And the idea that many people here have experience in dealing with an Ebola outbreak in an environment where a good part of the local population is actively hostile those trying to help doesn't stand up to passing scrutiny.

Horse[...]. That's not a new phenomena.

The idea that none of the 3,000 people we send there are going to make mistakes is very unlikely.

Are you intentionally ignoring my responses to this regarding procedures being in place to ensure that if this happens it's covered? It's almost as if you think you know better than the actual professionals while not really offering anything of substance.

The same things we'd have to do if this effort fails and the disease comes here anyway.

LOL it's instructive on the apparent depth of your ignorance that you think a known exposure in a person with a known return to the US is the same thing as an unknown exposure coming to the US at an unknown time and being in unknown places while potentially infectious. For a guy who's being condescending regarding how "unknown factors increase the risk" you seem to be A-OK with option two which is loaded with unknowns.

Which is precisely why it's the preferred option to avoid.

OK then we are in agreement that not all (probably not most) of the people we are sending over there have extensive trainining in operating in an area affected by an outbreak of an infectious disease?

I don't know for sure but I'd say yeah, that's likely accurate. However, IMO there's no requirement for everyone to have rigorous training. The guys building a clinic or driving a truck don't need to know how to handle a patient or body.

If we are sending people over there who aren't trained they increase the risk for those who are.

I disagree. I guess I expect those we send over there to have a high enough sense of self-preservation that they're going to stay away from people exhibiting Ebola symptoms?

Some people tried to argue #3 amd #4 by pretending that there is NO RISK, which is absurd. Not saying that you've said this yourself but you've taken up their fight.

Only because I think there is essentially zero risk. The scientist in me won't ever say there's none, but I think given what we know about the virus and our success in dealing with outbreaks in the past via quarantine and isolation means we'd be just fine even if one of our guys came back with it. We know transmission routes, times from infection to illness to death, when people are infectious ect ect ect. It would be highly controlled and a risk worth taking to prevent an uncontrolled introduction of Ebola onto US soil.

You keep wanting to fall back on titles and whatnot instead of thinking for yourself and asking the question "Is it reasonable to claim this isn't risky?" It doesn't take an advanced degree to see the risks here if you are willing to think.

What an ass.

What I'm falling back on is people having experience dealing with this sort of thing. Not just "thinking for themselves" and spouting off.

I don't think any level of risk on either front is justifiable considering that this is someone else's problem and there are real security concerns.

And if we don't act and it gets here anyway, what then?

That they've receive more training than 101 mentioned because the CDC approves of this mission`.

That's an assertion I never made nor do I recall being made.

They're not even going to be involved in patient care, only infrastructure improvement/building, transport and training (not all 3,000 would be doing that I'm sure).

I disagree with the premise that the decision makers are the best informed.

Do you have any evidence that this plan goes against the advice of the CDC or WHO?

Do you have any sort of evidence that your weaseling out of this is anything more than self-righteousness?

Again, you're making an appeal to authority. If someone says there is no risk associated with this project then they're a dangerous idiot regardless of what degrees and titles they have.

Sorry, but the dangerous idiot, IMO, is the one who insists on the veracity of their opinion in the face of that of actual experts. There's nothing wrong with pointing to what experts say, particularly in something that isn't opinion based like how to deal with a deadly disease.

Our country really has come to a sad place when some rube on the internet claims equal footing with folks who have actually seen Ebola face to face because to suggest otherwise is an "appeal to authority".

Its not an assertion to say it isn't reasonable to expect every procedure to be followed perfectly by 3,000 people.

Ummmm yeah, it is.

It also ignores the other protocols that would be in place to account for this happening.

What is extreme low risk? What is an acceptable risk?

I can't put a number on the extreme low risk because that phrase tends to be used when it's thought to be non-existent but, being scientists, nothing will ever be stated as zero. Which is precisely why you have redundancies in procedures and additional procedures to cover said extremely low risk event.

As I said before, even if what you say comes true, it would be mitigated by the fact that these guys would probably be under an enforced quarantine for as long as blood work needs to be done or for symptoms to emerge ect ect. It's not as if these guys would get home and just be sent out to the bar to blow off some steam.

Its very easy to talk about the rewards outweighing the risks when you don't give a crap about the people who are facing the risks.

It's very easy to argue against words you put in other people's mouths (hint, it's called a strawman).

IIRC, this was framed as a national security issue (hence why the military is being used) because there is a far greater risk of Ebola spreading internationally (and potentially to the US) if we do nothing than if we send in 3000 soldiers to shore up the situation.

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