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Commentary: Mincing data on virus deaths

Commentary: Mincing data on virus deaths

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Commentary

“Now hold on just a minute!” my friend Ross would say when he caught me out using mumbo-jumbo to support some damfool bureaucratic thing. Ross was smart as a whip and had been in state and federal government long enough to know the BS squishing out from those quarters. I can hear him now, saying, “Now hold on!” to all those Wuhan Flu Warriors and their percentages and per thousands and moving averages.

Mark Twain, it could be said, wrote about the matter back in 1895 in gutting James Fenimore “Cooper’s Prose Style.” Nevada’s virus data website has arcane charts and incomprehensible data that could be, as Twain put it, “more straightforward and business-like, and less mincing and smirky.” Utah’s site is more humble and unlike a Cooper Indian is “dressed ... in a simple breech-clout.” However, clicking onward, one discovers Utah too clothing its statistics in “flowing, voluminous ... rainment.”

I’m descended from hunters and gatherers who experienced firsthand the vagaries of Nature’s larder to their own existence. Game and foodstuffs might be plentiful one year and slim pickens the next; natural balancing meant the rise and fall of things, including humans. Historical ranging shows that Shoshone once ruled a 1200-mile crescent of territory from California’s Owens Valley to Texas but now live in isolated pockets. There are seven billion people crowding the earth. Perhaps a natural balance means lots fewer people...

Now here’s a PEP (Public Enlightenment & Propaganda) newsflash: 100% OF NEVADANS ARE GOING TO DIE!! In the real world right now though, about 25,000 Nevadans die annually with 18,500 or so of those from Clark County. Roughly 50 people die everyday in Clark and about 17 from the rest of the State. So a few over 4,000 Nevadans are dead from the Wuhan in a population of 3.1 million?

No one ever explains whether the 4K are over the 25K annual dead. Instead we get: Look! 272,000 cases! Oh Woe! Alas Babylon! Mind that I don’t decry the personal tragedies of people dying. I’m of a culture where death came with lamentations, keening, and self-mutilation; and yet there was everlasting life. I take issue with virus narratives and spinning particular views — more often as not bureaucratic ones driven by calculated political imperatives. During Uncle Sam’s concentration period we were told to be good Indians. “Or else” didn’t have to be stated. Big Shot mask and distancing directives for now are social conditioning. We’re a heel click away from prescription to proscription given authoritarian’s ideas of social order and final solutions.

Of certain there are those savagely disappointed that the thousands who attended Trump rallies and voted Trump haven’t dropped dead. That guy who said never let a catastrophe go to waste was right. They failed with Russia but succeeded with the most fortunate totalitarian virus. Big Tech helped with a coder keystroke here, a voting machine algorithm there, while Big Media served up cool cool draughts from River Lethe.

And the folderol in the federal city? Shades of Oliver Cromwell! It is fascinating to see modern events as history reruns: the end of the Roman Republic with Caesar’s Forum trip and Augustus, the alarums that swept Louis XVI’s France prior to the revolution — and blood drunk Jacobins inevitably meeting their Thermidor. Historians Will and Ariel Durant have written about the new White House resident in the person of Pope Leo X who said something to the effect that, “God put us in our position so now let us enjoy ourselves.” Juvenal too rings in with the Satires and panem et circenses otherwise known as virus stimulus. America’s representative democracy has to come down to the Iraq Fix: in-person balloting and ink-stained fingers.

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Elwood Mose is a former Te-Moke Tribe chairman.

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