January 20, 2009

Wrong Spin

The Sun has got entirely the wrong spin on this story. It suggests that the events described in the story are somehow a fortuitous turn of events. In fact, what's going on is damned scary.

Al Qaeda is playing with the bubonic plague. They're trying to weaponize it.

Now, it's not surprising that they bungled the experiments. Under the best conditions, there are problems working with these bacteria; they have to be very tightly controlled in the laboratory to minimize, if not eliminate, the risk of infecting a person working with them. I somehow doubt that terrorist scientists are working under the best of conditions in modern, sanitary labs.

But then again, they don't need to be. What they need to do is figure out how to breed the nasty little bacteria and transmit them to civilian victims. While it seems that modern strains of the bacteria have evolved from their fourteenth-century antecedents to be less virulent, that means that it works slower, and may or may not be as deadly. It still has the potential to kill.

So here's the thing. If you get what feels like a bad case of the flu, and especially if it happens suddenly, you may need medical attention. If it is plague (and likely it isn't, so don't panic) then you will need to be on an intense course of antibiotics and be quarantined for a while. In the meantime, don't forget that it's a dangerous world out there populated in part by people who want to kill us simply because we're different from them.

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