The Boy Who Cried Wolf: Procrastinating Our Preparedness

photo credit: BuddyBradley

“This has happened before, and it resolved itself just fine. There’s no reason to worry about this time, either.”

In the past couple days, I’ve seen this argument made in all sorts of variations, with people asserting that there have been other non-threatening flu virus strains in the past, as well as other pandemic threats. Despite the media hype, these non-events have faded into history with only a minuscule amount of death and injury. While I agree in part, I believe that there is a “boy who cried wolf” danger to simply ignoring current and future threats, all on the assumption that since previous ones did not escalate, that other ones will not as well.

As we know from the children’s story, the wolf eventually did come. I personally believe that there will one day be a deadly virus strain like the 1918 type that will have catastrophic effect. Whether that’s this current swine flu variation or not, I do not know.

What I do know is that we must be on guard at all times, just in case. If we assume that the boy is crying wolf again, and that all is well in America, then we risk putting ourselves in a compromising position if and when the real threat does escalate and affect us personally.

Whether or not this current swine flu threat escalates into a full-fledged pandemic does not affect what we can do to learn from the experience. As we learn from history, so too can we learn from what others are currently going through. If the Mexico City epidemic was happening in Utah, what would you do? How would you react? Would your family know the protocol to follow to ensure that you don’t get sick?

As long as these events don’t affect you personally, you can still take advantage of them to simulate conditions and ask yourself “what if”? Then, when the threat is real, you won’t be caught unawares, perpetually assuming that the boy is crying wolf yet again. We must not procrastinate our preparedness!

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