The flu epidemic has invaded 48 states, overwhelming medical facilities, exhausting vaccine supplies and killing children and seniors. Both the problem and solution to this disaster hinge on how we relate to animals raised for food.
Indeed, 61 percent of the 1,415 pathogens known to infect humans originate with animals. The more recent, contagious, and deadly viruses among these include Asian, dengue fever, Ebola, H5N1 (bird), HIV, SARS, West Nile and yellow fever. The pandemic Spanish flu of 1918 killed 20-50 million people worldwide, and the World Health Organization predicts more pandemics in the future.
Today's factory farms are virtual flu factories. Sick, crowded, highly stressed animals in contact with contaminated feces and urine provide ideal incubation for viruses. As these microbes reach humans, they mutate to defeat the new host's immune system, then propagate by contact.
Each of us can help end animal farming and build up our own immune systems against the flu by replacing animal products in our diet with vegetables, fruits and whole grains. These foods don't carry flu viruses, or government warning labels, are touted by every major health advocacy organization and were the recommended fare in the Garden of Eden.
After the events that happened at the Sandy Hook Elementary School, I believe the Crestwood School District should invest in metal detectors to keep students safe. To avoid a similar tragedy, every precaution should be considered.
The purchase of three to four walk- through devices and a couple of wands would help parents and students feel safer. Doing some research, I was able to find that each of these wands cost between $100 and $150. A walk-through device would cost more than $600, but that is not a lot considering the safety it will provide.
Crestwood has the funds to do this. Also, each machine isn't that hard to run. The detectors just have to be turned on and the faculty or whoever will be using them only has to wave them around the students and their belongings.
A little bit of money goes a long way for people's protection.
Obama's gun-grab news conference/dog and kiddie show on Jan. 16 was classic propaganda. They trotted on stage four adorable tots to use as props, as pawns. It reminded me of the way Hitler frequently surrounded himself with blue-eyed Aryan children during photo-ops. I expected to see Goebbels lurking in the wings. It was a moment that should have made every American sit up, take notice, and vomit.
The event also reminded me of the infamous Jan. 1973 cover of National Lampoon magazine, which featured a photo of a cute dog with a pistol to its head and the headline: If you don't buy this magazine, we'll kill this dog. Obama's message was almost identical. He was essentially saying: Look how cute these kids are. Do you really want to see them die? He seemingly was saying to the American public, If you don't all roll over and support my gun-grab agenda, I'm going to blame you (and the Republicans) for every child fatality in America from now on.
The difference between Obama's threat and that of National Lampoon: one was a joke, the other wasn't at all funny.
Trenton Lloyd Wilkes-Barre Casey Ross Mountain Top Mark Fritz Bloomsburg