How to cause a panic:
Sometimes birds die.  Well that’s to be expected.  Sometimes whole flocks die suddenly.  That has been reported for years.  As a student pilot I read about some frozen ducks that started dropping onto a town.  It was assumed they had been sucked into a thunderstorm some distance away.  For centuries all sorts of things – frogs, fish, you name it – have dropped out of the sky in large numbers.  Disconcertingly, airplane parts sometimes fall.

And fish die.  Sometimes you see whole shoals of dead fish.  It seems of such little moment that its hard to remember just when and where.

So last New Year’s a bunch of birds dropped out of the sky in Arkansas.  It’s all in the news.  Thousands.  It was explained that the birds had been killed striking things, and so it probably is, but it’s hard to know how they know.  After all, a bird that dies in flight is going to strike something.  In fact they don’t have any idea what killed the birds.  Because of the date fireworks have been blamed, but we never heard of that happening before.

And then a couple of weeks before that, again in Arkansas, thousands of fish were found dead.  Nobody knows why.

But the one thing that they are sure of is that the incidents are unrelated.  Now that sounds like a good guess, but if they don’t know either cause, it would seem premature to say the causes are different.  So they are obviously lying.  Sorry.  That’s what you call it.  They are saying something they do not know to be true as if it were the truth.  Who “they” are, of course I really can’t tell you.

Now their motivation is pretty clear.  They don’t want to panic the public.  And of course there is no reason to panic unless some very unexpected cause of either event is discovered.  But they are covering something up, and doing a bad job of it.  Now I panic.  We are in the hands of people who are neither honest nor competent.  That’s pretty scary.

So there is trouble in the world of demographics.  As you know, the baby source is failing and failing badly.  Nobody says that much about it in public.  I suppose the authorities (“they”) don’t want us to panic.

Nor do I.

But for goodness sake, somewhere between blissful ignorance and blind panic there has to be some sort of place you call prudent consideration.  That’s what we need.  That’s what has been so hard to achieve.  And yet “they” can produce panic at least in my heart on the basis of a perfectly common event or two. 

I envy them.

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