Monday, May 04, 2009

Give Me Fear Or Give Me, Uh, Anything But Death

There are just over 40,000 motor vehicle-related fatalities each year, a number that hasn't changed much over the last decade. 41,945 for 2000. 41.059 for 2007. Pretty much statistical clockwork.

A study a couple of years back showed that around 17,000 U.S. schoolchildren ended up at the emergency room each year from school bus-related accidents. Reasons for injuries includes actual bus crashes, slipping on the ice getting on/off the bus and "roughhousing" on the bus.

Last time I checked, no schools had been closed due to the pandemic of motor-vehicle fatalities. I could find zero closures based on the concomitant pandemic of school bus-related injuries. The very recent death of a Rhode Island high school student run over by a school bus is terrible news, but I see no note of a school closure in the story.

I think you know where this is going.

And to speed things up, I'm going to bypass the subtle, incredibly eloquent segue from auto injuries/deaths to H1N1, and just point out that:
  • I think the New Mexico Activities Association should cancel all future sporting contests until we can perfect teleportation and have teams simply dissolve "Star Trek" style in Jal and appear (via the same "Star Trek" teleportation music) in Hatch for a baseball game.
  • I think an assessment of public events should be made. Any event requiring a parking lot larger than 250 spaces will be canceled. Yes, this unfortunately means the Balloon Fiesta has to go. Also affected will be the Isotopes, Lobos, and Albuquerque Zoo. The University of New Mexico will be unaffected as the University doesn't have 250 parking spaces.
  • I think all New Mexico K-12 schools should become "virtual" schools, with teachers "teaching" via the Internet, thus avoiding the need for students to be driven, school bus or no, to school. Needless to say, these students would also not have to walk to school, thus eliminating the possibility that they be run over by a car, school bus or antiquated New Mexico Air Guard "Tacos" jet.
  • I think your humble blogger/K-12 teacher should get a special "teaching" bath robe to "teach" in.
  • I think the informal calendar that includes things like "Take Your Daughter To Work Day" and "Secretary's Day" (which now has a new name I can't remember) should have a major change. The current "Ride Your Bike To Work Day" will be replaced with "Drive Your Car to Work Day". For the other 364 days of the year, employees will be expected to ride their bikes to work.
  • I think anyone in a moving car should be required to wear a bike helmet (H/T to John Fleck for this one).
  • I think any automobile driver whose unspoken motto is: "I must arrive at my destination in the absolute fastest manner that doesn't result in my death" should be immediately be put to death.
  • I especially think that those drivers who tailgate the Hell out of your humble blogger on 2nd Street just because your humble blogger chooses to drive the speed limit and the tailgaters subscribe to the aforementioned motto should be even more immediately be put to death. By me. In the manner of my choosing.
In closing: if we're going to fear death to the point of absurdity, let's at least better pinpoint the target of that absurdity.


Kelsey Atherton said...

The trick is that schools are the easiest organization to shut down that will stop the most spread of a disease. Not that total spread, mind, but the most of it; kids (and especially teenagers) come into contact with more people over the course of a day than anyone. Sporting events are a once a week thing, at most (and so yeah, closing down the team sports is rather dumb), but school is high contact for the whole of the workweek, and that in and of itself makes it a viable candidate for shutdown. The goal, of course, is an extreme variant on "better safe than sorry", but with pandemics (even mild ones, even flu ones), good safety makes the risk look absurd, and bad safety can bring down a government (give it a few more months and we'll see how the ruling government of Mexico is doing). Of course, this would all matter less if productive learning time wasn't devoted to any number of silly things, but I don't think that school closures themselves are that excessive. Of course, I haven't been in ABQ for months, and so I don't actually know what decision is being reacted to here.

Anonymous said...

Way to go, Scot!

It should also be pointed out that the CDC reports that there are 36,000 flu-related deaths EVERY year in the US on average.

We're ready to cancel breathing because of 200 cases in the US? Give me a break! This is a natural part of the flu season. Take normal precautions, and, if you are in a high-risk group, stay away from crowds.

Let's stop the monster-in-the-dark mentality.