076: Leading Yourself Down a Path

In This Episode: Having vague, preconceived, and uninformed notions and, worse, acting upon them, isn’t just the opposite of Uncommon Sense, it can actually cause harm. How do you avoid that trap?

076: Leading Yourself Down a Path

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Having vague, preconceived, and uninformed notions and, worse, acting upon them, isn’t just the opposite of Uncommon Sense, it can actually cause harm. How do you avoid that trap?

Welcome to Uncommon Sense. I’m Randy Cassingham.

Let me tell you the story of Tony Green of Dallas, Texas, and then see if we can determine where he went wrong, and how we can avoid following in his path.

076: Leading Yourself Down a PathFirst, who is he? “Tony Green is a consultant and cultural transformation coach to prisons and inmates in four states,” his bio says, “a lobbyist for reform and the author of ‘Maxed Out: The Criminal Justice System Running Amok’.”

He describes himself as a conservative, and says he voted for Trump in 2016. And no, I’m not saying that’s where he went wrong: I’m not going to abandon my non-partisanship. I’m simply going to use his words to tell his story.

“I believed the virus to be a hoax,” he wrote in the July 24th issue of Dallas Voice. “I believed the mainstream media and the Democrats were using it to create panic, crash the economy and destroy Trump’s chances at re-election.

“I admit traveling deep into the conspiracy trap over COVID-19,” he continued. “All the defiant behavior of Trump’s more radical and rowdy cult followers, I participated in it. I was a hard-ass that stood up for my ‘God-given rights.’

“And so, believing the pandemic to be a hoax, my partner and I hosted family members on Saturday, June 13. On Sunday, June 14, I woke up sick.”

I’ll pause here to say that if he had people over to his house on one day and woke up sick the next day, that almost certainly means he was sick during the party, and just didn’t know it: he didn’t have symptoms yet. In other words, he very likely didn’t get sick from someone at the party, he exposed everyone else at the party to his own illness that he didn’t know he had.

“By Monday, June 15,” he continues, “my partner and my parents were all sick. That same Monday, my in-laws traveled to witness the birth of their first grandchild. They took with them my father-in-law’s mother and one of my partner’s sisters. That night my father-in-law became ill. Then my mother-in-law and their daughter began feeling sick.

“Two days later, my father-in-law’s mother got sick. The new mommy and daddy got sick, too. We all tested positive for COVID-19. Only the newborn was spared. My father-in-law and I both went to the hospital on June 24.”

His entire family except the baby, including those who weren’t at his party, was in serious trouble. Back to Tony Green:

“My father-in-law’s mother was admitted a day later. On July 1, she died of COVID-19 [and] pneumonia. The chaplain wanted the family to break the news to my father-in-law, and he learned how his mother lay on her deathbed and then drifted off without any family by her side, even though he was in the room next to hers.”

“On the day of her funeral, which was July 14, five more of our family members tested positive for the virus. That evening, my father-in-law was put on a ventilator.”

The point of this episode isn’t to promote fear or anxiety. The point is to understand that we are required by nature to have respect for a disease we have little control over. We’re going to be living with Covid for quite some time, and we do have control over how many of us it infects. The U.S. decided to ignore it, and that’s why it’s out of control. Brazil decided to ignore it, and it’s out of control there. Then there’s Taiwan: they’re very close to where the coronavirus erupted, yet they have less than 500 cases and only 7 deaths in their population of around 24 million. I’ll link to a brief news article about that on the Show Page.

Now, I expect that the majority of people listening to this episode are nodding as I go along. It’s the people who want to fight back that really need to hear it, so let’s get back to Tony Green. He realized he had bought into the bullshit conspiracy theories spouted by self-serving politicians.

One thing that makes me really roll my eyes is the belief that the Covid-19 pandemic is something that was somehow engineered by the Democratic political party in the United States to hurt Republican party politicians’ chances at re-election. Which means one thing: that the Democrats as a group have to be by far the smartest people who ever lived because they could pull this off starting on the other side of the world and spreading it here without leaving a trace of actual evidence, and that not one of the people in on such a dastardly conspiracy has felt guilty and broken ranks and come forth with documents proving that this ridiculous concept is true.

So, do I think the Democrats are the smartest group of people who ever lived? Not on your life!

No, the only possible truth is that this really is an actual pandemic that has infected more than 18 million people worldwide, and killed well over two-thirds of a million of those people, including around 160,000 (and counting!) in the United States alone.

Yet that only counts the people who have actually been diagnosed with the disease. How many more have there been that haven’t been confirmed because they couldn’t get tested? One is a friend of mine, who early on in the pandemic fell ill after travel, felt like he had been run over by a drunk driver, but was never quite bad enough to go to the hospital. When he tried to get tested to confirm what seemed pretty obvious, he was told that there was no point in testing him because he was getting better, and they were saving the available tests for people who were getting worse so they could figure out how to treat them.

We may never know the actual numbers, but we’ll be able to get good estimates later on with statistical analysis — seeing how many more people were hospitalized or died than what would have been expected during this time.

The first Covid death in the U.S. was thought to be on February 28th, a man in his 50s, a healthcare worker in Seattle, Washington. But the coroner of Santa Clara County, California, dug into some earlier suspicious deaths there, and found that two, on February 7 and February 17, were actually from Covid — and they were people who had not been out of the country, which means they got it from what they call “community infection,” or picking it up from someone who did travel, or someone else who was exposed to someone else who did travel. Which means Covid was in the area weeks before anyone knew at the time.

February 7th to the date this episode, August 3rd, is 179 days, inclusive. In that time, just in the United States, we’ve had around 160,000 confirmed-to-be-Covid deaths, and thousands more are coming.

On average that’s a touch under 894 deaths a day, every day, for 179 days. It’s hard to visualize that, so let me illustrate what that really means. Before the pandemic the NBA — the National Basketball Association — averaged less than 18,000 fans per game in their arenas. Over the past 179 days, a full arena of basketball fans have died every three weeks: since February 7 a full arena has been wiped out 8 times. And number 9 happens a few days from now. And arena number 10 is filling up right now — the people catching the virus now.

And there could well have been the same number of arenas wiped out that aren’t in the official numbers.

Worse, it’s not just a matter of you have it or you don’t, and you die from it or you don’t. Now that there’s a population of recovered patients to study, doctors are finding that the majority of them have cardiac damage. These aren’t sick people in their 80s and 90s, they were otherwise-healthy people in their 40s and 50s, and only a third of them were sick enough to need hospital treatment for Covid. It’s very likely they’ll have a heart condition for the rest of their lives — with associated ill health for the rest of their lives, which will likely be shortened because …they have heart damage!

But that’s just heart damage: there is also neurological damage, kidney damage, and more. When someone says it’s just like the flu, no: in a few months Covid-19 has killed many more people in the United States than have died from flu in any year since 1918, and it’s far from over.

Yet despite those official numbers being in the news day in and day out, getting ever bigger, Tony Green led himself down a path and believed that this crisis was, to use his word, a “plandemic” — a fake crisis planned in advance by conspirators of “the other” political party — and boy does he feel stupid now. That’s part of why I refuse to be partisan: I’m not a Democrat or a Republican, in part because both sides have ridiculous delusions over who is doing what and why. And by the way, they both have some really good ideas too!

Green lived in this delusion until his entire family got sick. He didn’t happen to say how many people were at his party, or how many of their friends and family they’ve given the virus to, but it won’t be surprising to hear later that another family member, or two, or more, have died.

Worse, Tony Green knows he’s the one that brought it in to that group — his own family, and his partner’s family.

To that, he says, “You cannot imagine the guilt I feel, knowing that I hosted the gathering that led to so much suffering. You cannot imagine my guilt at having been a denier, carelessly shuffling through this pandemic, making fun of those wearing masks and social distancing. You cannot imagine my guilt at knowing that my actions convinced both our families it was safe when it wasn’t.”

And he stepped forward to help others not have those losses and feel that guilt.

That path Green was merrily following smacked him face-first into the brick wall of his own delusion that he somehow knew better than the doctors and epidemiologists who have studied diseases like this for their entire careers, and put together response plans that our country’s leadership pushed aside. Hitting that wall hurts, whether you’re a country or Tony Green, but hooray for him for swallowing his pride, and substantial guilt, to step forward to warn people like him just how stupid they’re being.

“Imagine gasping for air with every step you take,” he says. “Imagine rubbing Icy Hot all over your head to soothe a painful headache. Imagine your eyes in a bowl of water while you’re still seeing through them. Imagine collapsing and waking up in the ER only to find out COVID-19 attacked your central nervous system, and the doctor had just saved you from a stroke.”

Green doesn’t have to imagine any of that: he lived it. And he has some advice for people like he was before he opened his damned eyes: “For those who deny the virus exists or who downplay its severity,” he says, “let me assure you: The coronavirus is very real and extremely contagious. Before you even know you have it, you’ve passed it along to your friends, family, coworkers and neighbors.”

That, by the way, is what masks are for: to keep you from giving the virus to others when you don’t know that it’s already spreading through your own body. Studies have found that American men are less likely to wear masks than women, in part because they consider wearing them “a sign of weakness.” No, that’s a sign of being a fearful whimpering dumbass that’s abdicating his responsibility to care for his own family, friends, co-workers, and neighbors.

Here’s what Tony Green has to say about it: “The next time you’re put out because your favorite spots are closed or because they won’t let you enter without wearing a mask,” he says, “and you decide to defy them rather than comply because you’re defending your rights and freedoms from being trampled, just remember: Your family and friends may be next.”

The deeper we get into this, the more likely that becomes a certainty — that you are the vector that denies your loved ones the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The more that people fake that they have some sort of condition that prevents them from wearing a mask, the faster that certainty arrives.

“Is that too harsh?” he asks. “Try imagining someone you care about on life support. Try being the one to pick the only 10 people allowed to attend a funeral for a loved one. But don’t fret,” he says, “you’ve got time to ponder, because the mortuary is booked out for at least a week.”

But he’s not done.

“Now imagine one more thing,” he says: “That pool party, the mixer or family reunion you’re pushing for resulting in you being cold and alone in a hospital bed, fighting for your life. Imagine the only human contact you feel is a stranger’s rubber glove giving you medication, checking your vitals and changing your diaper. That is exactly what has happened to our family.

“And now, husbands, wives and children are being separated. The sick are taking care of the sick while those without symptoms are self-quarantining. … Trust me, you do not want this virus. And you do not want your loved ones suffering and dying from this because you are taking a ‘political stand’ or protecting the economy over their lives.”

Which indeed is what those self-serving politicians are pushing for. The party that used to proudly proclaim they were “pro life” are now, in Green’s words, “protecting the economy over lives.” Is that what you thought “pro life” meant?

“America, this is not going to go away without sacrifice,” Green says. “Either way, we are going to pay a price. Governments are faced with making difficult decisions, and they cannot appease and satisfy everyone. I promise you, if we continue being more worried about the disruption to our lives than we are about stopping this virus, not one American will be spared. To do nothing is to be foolish. To ignore or question the validity of this virus, its contagiousness or the consequences of selfish attitudes is — at this stage — completely stupid.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself. You avoid the trap by shutting off politicians and listening to the people who do this stuff for a living. Tony Green bought into Common Nonsense, and is now doing his best to instead embrace Uncommon Sense. So… where are you in that continuum right now? Grow up, or join Tony Green in his guilt.

The Show Page for this episode is thisistrue.com/podcast76, where I have links to Tony Green’s essay in the Dallas Voice and several articles, and a place to comment. I’m particularly interested in your comments.

I’m Randy Cassingham … and I’ll talk at you later.

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8 Comments on “076: Leading Yourself Down a Path

  1. I live in the Washington, DC area and know a number of doctors, nurses and medical scientists at NIH. They all would endorse your comments!

    Yeah, but who listens to actual professionals? I mean, besides those who have a modicum of sense?! -rc

  2. Both of my sons have PhD’s in Organic Synthetic Chemistry — they are pretty smart. Me? A mensa member who has, since JFK’s murder, seen lies and evasive cover-ups from those in power. Bottom line; I don’t trust them. I have had my doubts about this pandemic. Not now. While I still think the RepubliCrats lie, deceive and mislead on a daily and recurring basis, I do believe my sons. This shit is for real, and I’m sorry that I don’t know who to trust.

    It takes years to build trust, and only one lie to destroy it. Drain the swamp, and replace the swamp dwellers with … who? God help us all.

  3. Looking at that study about the after-effects of having the coronovirus, I see the sample size is 100. The study is based on studying 100 people in Germany. Based on data collected on this site, I see that about 196,200 Germans recovered from the coronovirus. Is using a sample of 100 out of 196,200 an acceptable sampling? It has been a long time since I took probability and statistics (and do not remember much of it), but that seems to not be a reasonable sample size. I would like to see further studies — particularly based in my country, the USA — to see how prevalent issues are after having the coronovirus.

    Since the beginning of this, I have been interested in how many survive the disease. In the early weeks, I was calculating the survival rate of about 90% (I was focusing mainly on the USA cases vs. deaths). Now, using that previously mentioned site, I see that about 97% survive [I used the calculation of 100-((deceased/total cases)*100), so 100-((162,627/5,024,583)*100)]. Note: as this site updates regularly, the numbers you see will be different than what I saw but what you calculate will be the same or very close to what I calculated.

    If I have about a 97% chance of surviving this, should I be worried? Unless there is a huge chance of lingering issues (like the cardiac issues mentioned in the podcast), I am not too worried. And yes, I know my age and underlying health issues can adversely affect me surviving, but I think the odds are in my favor.

    And to circle back to the main focus of the podcast: yes, I wear a mask when I am out and about (well, only when I can not stay 6 feet or so away from others). Since we have been in lockdown for months, I am guessing the chances of me having the coronovirus is pretty slim, but I wear the mask anyway. And seeing as my state (Illinois) has had about 189,705 cases and a population of about 12,671,821, less than 2% of my fellow citizens have, or had, the disease; this seems that my chance of contracting it seems low.

    I guess my point is that this disease has provoked overreactions. Yes, the deaths that have happened and yet to happen are tragic, and wearing masks for now makes sense, lets let most of the country get back to business and keep the most vulnerable safe.

    The study cited is only one study, but if it holds up, a 78 percent chance of cardiac damage (plus a whatever percent chance of neurological damage, plus a whatever percent chance of kidney damage, plus a whatever percent chance of whatever-else damage), I’m definitely not becoming blasé about this — as you might have been able to tell! If everyone wearing a simple mask cuts the chances by just 10 percent, it’s worth enforcing it. Yet it appears the effectiveness is much higher than that. “I have my rights!” simply comes off as “I should have a right to kill you!”, which doesn’t sit well with anybody that looks at the risks with open eyes. -rc

  4. I can see both sides of this, and why it happens. I do follow the mandate of wearing a mask regardless of how difficult it is for me, but I can see why so many people believe the plandemic theory as well. First, I have severe COPD, use a walker, and am on oxygen 24/7 so even with a portable tank it is very difficult to breathe with a mask. I plan any trips to a business so I can get out in as little time as possible. Even then I have to sit in my car for several minutes panic breathing until I can finally breathe normally. I live in a huge complex that is supposedly built for seniors, but I don’t think the designers understood seniors because we have 4 very long 3-story buildings built in a square around a large courtyard, and only the building in front, past the middle of the building, has a mail room. That was a long walk for me since I live on the 3rd floor in the corner of the building in the back, but I got around the mask by going to check the mail late at night when most people were asleep or at least at home. So yes, I am careful in spite of the difficulty.

    As for the “plandemic” theory, I don’t believe it was engineered or planned because that is just silly.

  5. I went to college in the USA and have many fond memories of the lovely Americans I met. I’m amazed and grieved that this is even a thing, there no argument here in Malaysia even though most of us are against our current government because they came to power via the backdoor and ousted the government we had democratically elected.

    But kudos to Green for coming clean and admitting he was wrong and doing what he can to save other people’s lives now.

  6. Tim in Illinois — calculating 2% infection rate is just another example of denial. I guarantee that number is significantly higher — possibly by an order of magnitude — because people just aren’t getting tested.

    In fact it’s misleading and dangerous just to run that calculation. The number of infected people only reflects *confirmed* cases but as we saw *in this podcast article* Green passed on the virus before he was part of that statistic.

    THINK. That’s what This Is True and Uncommon Sense are all about. Use your damn loaf.

    • Given:
      A. Plenty of people have been ill without symptoms.
      B. Plenty of people have been ill WITH symptoms WITHOUT being sick enough to die or go to a hospital or physician or contact a health department. These people (my household, for example) are not counted in any infection list anywhere.

      Then we can conclude that:
      1. The infection rate is higher than we know.
      2. The likelihood of dying from the disease is lower than we know.

      So there is blame for those who downplay it by pretending it isn’t real (it is) or sufficiently contagious (it is) or dangerous (it is). But there is also blame for those who pretend it is exceptionally fatal. We just don’t have the numbers yet for anyone to claim to know the full truth yet.

      We also don’t have the hard data yet for non-lethal negative outcomes. I’m glad you included that, Randy, and I try to keep this in the back of my mind for future health issues my household may encounter.

      For the record, I wear a mask. Always. Even when no one else is, and even though I know I already had it (and don’t believe I can make anyone else sick). I do it out of respect for the strangers I come in contact with who wouldn’t know, and shouldn’t need to know, facts about my personal health history. To me, it’s common courtesy. But I know plenty of people who don’t agree, and I’m finding my social circle diminishing because I can’t relate to people who see this issue differently. One more divisive topic that we didn’t need in the USA….

      It remains to be seen if having Covid protects people from getting it again and, if so, for how long. Even if not, it’s thought that our T-cells will “know how” to ramp up a defense pretty quickly if infected again, so it “should” be much less dangerous. -rc


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