Former Federal Prosector Disturbingly Links COVID and Serial Killing

A good friend of mine, announcing his positive COVID test on social media earlier this week with a bit of gallows humor, said he’d finally fulfilled his dream of “becoming a biological weapon.”

Like every time you see a friend or relative post a message like this, it’s a bit of a kick in the teeth. I’ve been blessed so far; despite the fact my friends and relatives are mostly concentrated around COVID-napalmed New York and New Jersey, there’s been no worse damage than a few weeks lost pay sitting on the couch. I know people who have fared much worse.

I spoke to my newly weaponized friend and he seemed to be doing well enough, spending his time awake playing video games and watching Netflix. He didn’t seem to actually think of himself as human mustard gas or sarin, although I didn’t have the presence of mind to ask him when we talked.

I wish I had, because I’d like to know whether he’s more well-adjusted than former federal prosecutor Michael J. Stern, who believes “COVID-19 has turned every man, woman and child into a potential serial killer.”

Stern is currently best known as an opinion writer for USA Today. In his Monday piece for the official newspaper of nine out of 10 Ramada Inns, he wrote that “not a day goes by that I don’t wonder whether my streak of good luck is about to end, because the person in front of me in the grocery line is wearing a mask below his nose — expelling a cloud of radioactive COVID dust that I cannot escape, short of dropping $50 on the conveyor belt and trying to outrun the security guard.”

“If there’s anything that can make us hate our neighbors, it is the possibility that their very existence — every breath they exhale — could be lethal,” he continued.

“It’s bad enough that we have to fear contracting a deadly virus from a stranger at T.J. Maxx who reaches for the same decorative throw pillow. What’s worse is the brutal reality that the people we love and trust most in this world bring us the same risk. More risk, because these are the people with whom we have regular and close contact. Any sustained encounter with those we love — kisses, hugs, laughs, conversations — could bring fever, blood clots, fluid-filled lungs, and death.”

Unsurprisingly, Stern says this kind of fear will be the legacy of COVID-19.

“If I hold my breath when I hug my parents, will that spare me the Greek tragedy of killing them? This mental toll will last long after the threat fades,” the subheadline on the article reads.

There’s a moment in the opinion piece that ought to have raised red flags for everyone, where Stern talked of how, “[f]or those of us prone to worry, the fallout has been especially rough.

“Watching people I care about take chances with their health, in ways that would have been considered innocuous at this time last year, has kicked my obsessive-compulsive disorder into high gear,” he wrote.

Stern mentioned his partner, who works in a hospital over in Britain. While they’ve nixed multiple scheduled visits, Stern talked about the unpleasantness from the kind of “argument that follows my head exploding as I watch him unwittingly rub his hands over his face, after spending the day in a hospital that treats COVID-19 patients.

“Earlier this month, he went home with a fever, after vomiting several times. I was certain he had COVID-19, and I spent the next 24 hours planning what quarantine laws I was going to break as I made my way to London to get to the hospital before he died,” he wrote. “Turns out he had a stomach virus. But the face rubbing, the related fights and the angst continue.”

The red flags, you may have noticed, is that Stern’s take is all contingent on those words: “[f]or those of us prone to worry.”

This isn’t to say there’s nothing to worry about. I worry about my friend, for instance. I’m sure he’s worried, too.

I’m not consumed by thoughts this “could bring fever, blood clots, fluid-filled lungs, and death,” and neither, I think, is he. Despite his joke, he doesn’t think of himself as the John Wayne Gacy of the T.J. Maxx. I’m similarly unconcerned.

Stern isn’t the only one, though — and it’s not just because he’s an inveterate worrier.

In a November paper for the National Bureau of Economic Research, Dartmouth College and Brown University researchers found COVID-19 news coverage in the United States is markedly more dire than it is overseas.

“Ninety one percent of stories by U.S. major media outlets are negative in tone versus fifty four percent for non-U.S. major sources and sixty five percent for scientific journals,” the paper read.

“The negativity of the U.S. major media is notable even in areas with positive scientific developments including school re-openings and vaccine trials,” the authors found. “Stories of increasing COVID-19 cases outnumber stories of decreasing cases by a factor of 5.5 even during periods when new cases are declining.”

As Jon Miltimore pointed out at the Foundation for Economic Education, this gives us a skewed perspective as to what’s going on with COVID.

“To be sure, pandemics are hardly a cheerful topic,” Miltimore wrote in a piece published Tuesday.

“We’re not talking about a firefighter rescuing a kitten from a tree or a local man winning the lottery. But that wouldn’t explain the discrepancy in media coverage or the fact that positive developments do occur in pandemics.”

Of course, you’re going to get people on social media with this kind of take:

Calling out Pollyanna-ish pronouncements in the midst of a global pandemic would be fair, except I doubt that’s what Miltimore intended to do. What he did instead was point out that no, you’re not being a serial killer by going to T.J. Maxx. (Although, quite frankly, if you’re going to inconvenience yourself going anywhere, it probably shouldn’t be that hot mess of scratched linoleum and failed fashion.)

You’re not a serial killer. You’re not Aeschylus, so the likelihood of a “Greek tragedy” where you kill your parents is minimal.

And despite the jokes, you won’t become “a biological weapon.” COVID is horrible enough without baseless fear-mongering paralyzing people with anxiety.

Via The Western Journal

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