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Does Anthrax Scare You More Than Driving?

November 4, 2001

SWEAT NOT YOUR HEART BE TROUBLED. I often deliberately mis-quote the Bible verse "Let not your heart be troubled..." as "Sweat not..." because it puts this comforting thought in everyday language. We hear, "Don’t sweat it," or "Don’t sweat the small stuff," nearly every day. It turns out that anthrax and many of the other "weapons of mass destruction" the news media is obsessed with may indeed be small stuff. Don’t forget that the main goal of the media is not to inform you. It is to keep you glued to the boob tube or reading their newspapers so they can sell more advertising. Let’s put biological weapons such as anthrax and smallpox, as well as chemical and nuclear weapons in a sensible context.

Anthrax first. In an article on the Fox News website, "Anthrax Drugs Could Spur More Common Killers," Dr. Stuart Levy of the Tufts School of Medicine in Boston, predicted, "There will be many more people affected by the antibiotic resistance effect than will be affected by anthrax." Philip Hanna, an anthrax researcher at the University of Michigan, says, "For people who are on Cipro for 60 days, there’s a good chance their normal bacteria will become resistant." This is particularly harmful for people such as cancer patients on immune system suppressing drugs. People who talk their doctors into giving them Cipro "just in case" may be doing themselves more harm than good.

There have been four deaths nationwide from anthrax in almost two months. That is one-millionth of one per cent of the population of the United States. More people than that die from car accidents in this country every hour. Some anthrax facts: Anthrax is not contagious. 95% of all anthrax cases are of the less lethal skin anthrax type; 80% recover completely with NO treatment. 90% of inhaled anthrax sufferers die without treatment; most who receive antibiotics survive. The good news is that with the current awareness of the disease almost everyone receives timely treatment.

The best news for those who fear both anthrax and smallpox attacks is that the terrorist "test" of anthrax has failed. I believe that the letters sent to media and political personalities had three purposes. First, to garner wide publicity by sending the letters to well-known people. This worked. Second, to cause widespread panic among the populace. This failed. Third, to determine whether this was a viable method of weapon delivery. This was a miserable failure. Osama and his gang are not happy campers.

What about the possibility of chemical warfare? Let’s start with a recent example of the ineffectiveness of such weapons. We have all heard about the nerve gas attacks at crowded Japanese subway stations. In spite of perfect conditions for the attacks, less than 10% were injured and only one percent of the injured died. The injured were better in a few hours. Just to show you how the media exaggerates such situations to get more advertising dollars, 60 Minutes once interviewed an "expert" who stated that one drop of nerve gas could kill a thousand people. He failed to disclose that this was not statistical, but was merely theoretical. The Japanese subway attacks blew that theory all apart, but 60 Minutes still reruns that segment periodically.

Chemical weapons are often referred to by the news media as "weapons of mass destruction." The facts simply do not support this description. Our military does not classify chemical weapons as "weapons of mass destruction." They are considered "Area Denial Weapons," whose main purpose is to force infantrymen to leave a specified area, or to degrade their ability to fight should their duty force them to stay in that area. As civilians, we don’t have to stay anywhere that we don’t wish. And with chemical weapons, when you leave the area you almost always leave the risk behind. The main antidotes to chemical weapon exposure are what your mother would recommend: fresh air and lots of soap and water.

Chemical weapons are not true gases; they are airborne particles, and as such tend to settle quickly to the ground. They don’t work in freezing weather, they break down quickly in hot weather, and are easily dispersed by wind. The bottom line: Chemical weapons must be used in large quantities and delivered very precisely under near-perfect conditions in order to be effective. For these reasons, they will probably not be used by terrorists. If they are, they are likely to be no more effective than the chemical attacks in the Japanese subways. In case you haven’t noticed, the terrorists there stopped using this method. Yes, I know they caught some of the people who perpetrated the attacks, but you can be sure they didn’t imprison the whole organization. If this method had worked, they would still be using it.

Nuclear bombs are the ONLY true weapons of mass destruction on the face of the earth. According to weapons experts, if the terrorists possess such weapons, they will almost certainly be low-yield one kiloton bombs or smaller. This means that they are not capable of leveling large cities; the area of total destruction would be limited to about a one half mile radius of the blast. That’s not much comfort to the people in that circle, but remember that we are trying to put the threat into perspective. If you are unfortunate enough to be close to a blast you will probably experience radiation sickness, but in most cases this is a treatable condition.

The main thing to remember about both nuclear weapons and effective chemical and biological weapons is simple: The terrorists don’t have them. Saddam Hussein, bin Laden and their partners in crime have spent twenty years and billions of dollars trying to acquire or develop weapons that would assure mass casualties. If they had them, don’t you think they would use them? Try to imagine that a bear has killed your one of your children, and has come back for more. If you had a shotgun, would you use a squirt gun? The terrorists hate us as much as we would hate an animal that killed one of our children. Yet they are using squirt guns like these amateurish anthrax letters to attack us.

I have provided a link below to an excellent article by retired army weapons expert "Red" Thomas which I hope you will all take the time to read. I would like to quote part of his common sense approach to this issue. "Overall preparation for any terrorist attack is the same as you’d take for a big storm. If you want a gas mask, fine, go get one. I know this stuff and I’m not getting one. I told my Mom not to bother with one either (how’s that for confidence?). We have a week’s worth of cash, several days worth of canned goods and plenty of soap and water. The government is mobilizing over this threat because they have to protect every inch of America. You only have to protect your family and yourself. By doing that, you’re helping the country. Knowledge is how we can rob these people of their most desired goal, your terror."

When I called Sgt. Thomas to verify his article, he mentioned something that made me realize just how great a disservice the news media has done to this nation. He mentioned an interview in which General Giap, the Commander of the North Vietnamese forces during the Vietnam War bragged about how the North Vietnamese propaganda apparatus manipulated the U.S. press. He stated that the misinformation that our press distributed daily was worth more than two full infantry divisions to the North Vietnamese government. Osama bin Laden has learned from these Communists. He is manipulating our press today.

Please believe what I have been telling you since September 11. Killing Americans is NOT the terrorists’ primary purpose. They want us cowering in fear. They want us to be so incapacitated that we cannot live normal lives. They want to TERRORIZE us. Don’t let them.

(CREDITS: For information on anthrax I researched many sources, but got my most valuable information from the Fox News website. The article mentioned above was written by SFC "Red" Thomas (Ret.), Armor Master Gunner of Mesa, AZ. I drew heavily from his piece for information on chemical and nuclear warfare. This article was circulated as an email, which I thank reader Ed Magi for forwarding to us. Sgt. Thomas has given us permission to reproduce his article on our website. Click on this link: www.ConservativeTruth.org then click the "Attack on America Page" link. You will see his article, "The Real Deal About Nuclear, Chemical, and Biological Warfare," listed there.)

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Copyright ©2001 Tom Barrett

Dr. Tom Barrett is a pastor, teacher, author, conference keynote speaker, professor, certified executive coach, and marketplace minister. His teaching and coaching have blessed both church and business leaders. He has been ordained for over 40 years, and has pastored in seven churches over that time. Today he “pastors pastors” as he oversees ordained and licensed ministers in Florida for his ministerial fellowship.

He has written thousands of articles that have been republished in national newspapers and on hundreds of websites, and is a frequent guest on radio and television shows. His weekly Conservative Truth article (which is read by 250,000) offers a unique viewpoint on social, moral and political issues from a Biblical worldview. This has resulted in invitations to speak internationally at churches, conferences, Money Shows, universities, and on TV (including the 700 Club).

“Dr. Tom,” as his readers and followers affectionately refer to him, has a passion for teaching, as you can see from his ministry website (www.ChristianFinancialConcepts.com); his patriotic site (www.ConservativeTruth.org); and his business site (www.GoldenArtTreasures.com). Tom's friend Dr. Lance Wallnau wrote of him, "Tom Barrett is a Renaissance man with a passion for subject matter ranging from finance to theology and American history."
Visit Dr. Tom Barrett's website at www.DrTom.TV