Saturday, April 25, 2009

Swine Flu--Be Prepared

So we have an unusual strain of influenza that combines genetic elements of swine flue and avian flu, the World Health Organization (WHO) says it has pandemic potential, the Centers for Disease Control says that further spread cannot be contained, and in the past twenty-four hours cases are popping up in Texas, California, Kansas, and New York City. Add to this the unusual number of deaths in Mexico, where the strain appears to have originated, among young people who are not usually among the fatalities from influenza, and that in Mexico City the government has banned public events for ten days due to the outbreak.

Consider that we live in a highly mobile society in which an infected person could spread a contagion to thousands of people across the country within hours. Stephen King was probably not the first, but his novel The Stand gives a plausible illustration of how it could happen. One infected traveller in Los Angeles boarding a flight for New York with stopovers in any Midwestern city has the potential to spread this new influenza threat far and wide before many would even suspect they have been exposed.

If this is like the usual yearly flu outbreaks, we may have nothing more than a few days downtime from exposure. However, the number of deaths in Mexico at this time of the year, and the news coverage given to this outbreak have me worried. Some things that I am doing to try and be prepared for this are:

--Keeping updated on news sources for new outbreaks and the level of fatalities.
--Putting additional emphasis on keeping clean, washing hands, and disinfecting surfaces which get touched frequently.
--Having a supply of N95 face masks handy in case things get dicey along with a supply of latex gloves, extra disinfectants, and extra chlorine bleach.

If it appears that this influenza strain has a high mortality factor we are already prepared to stay indoors for several weeks. However, in the meantime we still have to go to work to keep the bills paid. I want to have protection in case this influenza has the potential to make one gravely ill. I'm not convinced that a pandemic is here, but I am concerned and getting prepared.


  1. Hi, I came here after seeing a comment of yours at MD's place. Washington is an open carry state. It traditionally was and then in 1969 passed an incredibly vague brandishing law to prevent Black Panthers from openly carrying arms during protests. During this period basically if anyone at all felt intimidated for any reason it was brandishing. The state supreme court recently cleared this matter up and specifically said what brandishing is and isn't. Merely having a pistol in a holster IS SPECIFICALLY NOT BRANDISHING. There are a couple nuances of where you can't OC but I believe if it is lawful to concealed carry there it is fine to OC. As always I am not a lawyer so consult someone who is(standard disclaimer).

    Check out the info here ( the police training bulletins are particularly insightful.

  2. TheOtherRyan:
    I know that Washington is an open carry state. I am a lawyer, and I know quite a few police officers. To many officers, open display of a firearm in a holster is brandishing because the interpretation of brandishing at the officer/complaining witness level is whether or not the officer/complaining witness subjectively feels that the weapon was threatening. The threat from the Black Panthers may be gone, but the threat to lawful gun owners lives on. My point at MD's place was that although open carry is lawful in many jurisdictions, doing so may run you afoul of statutory law and law enforcement. I can tell you that open carry in the city I live in will have you surrounded by police within minutes, even if you have done nothing legally wrong. And I don't even live anywhere near the cesspools of Olympia, Seattle, or Tacoma. Your definition of "not" brandishing is unrealistic for any area in which more than 10,000 people reside. Better to play it safe. That is why I have a concealed carry permit, which has its own set of rules here seemingly discouraging open carry. While I greatly respect the folks at, I agree with you that one should seek practical advice from a lawyer before tempting fate. About ten years ago or so a law was passed banning long guns in pickup truck rear window racks. Some counties were allowed to opt out. Numerous counties in Eastern Washington opted out. However, the psychological impact of the law was too much for most gun owners. Prior to that law it was common to see long guns in pickup truck racks. Within a year after the law passed, it was rare to see long guns in pickup truck racks. People just weren't going to take the chance. Same thing happened to open carry. It became discouraged, the alternative of concealed carry became popular (WA was one of the earlier states to have "shall issue" concealed carry), and open carry largely became a thing of the past. I don't mean to lecture. I think you do a great job at your blog and enjoy reading it.