Germs in the Arsenal

Article by Elton Cornell

“Biologicals level the playing field,” Harris points out. “Before [there were] governments with massive stockpiles of nuclear weapons, with aircraft carriers, with all types of machine guns, stuff of this nature. The private populace did not have these. But trying to use a tank against a bottle of germs is stupid.”

In 1972, Chicago police arrested a pair of radical leftist college students who had planned to poison the city’s water supply with typhus.

In what’s known as the single largest bioterrorist attack in American history, in 1984, Oregon cultists who followed Indian guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh deliberately poured a brown liquid containing salmonella into salad bars at ten local restaurants in an attempt to incapacitate a sufficient number of ordinary citizens to swing an election in the cult’s favor. A total of 751 people were poisoned, 45 of whom were hospitalized, but no one died.

In 2001, a week after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Americans were gripped with fear about a rash of letters containing anthrax spores that were sent to public officials. At least 22 people were made sick by the letters, and five people died, including two postal workers.

It remains to be seen how much total death and destruction this coronavirus pandemic will cause before a vaccine arrives, if one does.

Those who speculate about a lab origin for the virus can point to clues, rather than hard evidence or expert consensus. But is such speculation pure lunacy? It’s a pretty crazy world right now. Crazy developments seem the new norm. And bioweapons are very real. Sometimes it seems a little crazy thinking is warranted. Elton Cornell is a lover of fine wine, curvy women, and V-8 engines. He’s always right, but he takes no pleasure in it because the rest of the world is always wrong.

Historic Perspective on Germs

The strain of coronavirus that emerged in late 2019 in Wuhan, China, spread throughout the globe and is thus officially a pandemic — a term describing an outbreak occurring across multiple continents. The virus has claimed more than 300,000 lives as the world holds its breath and hopes things don’t go from very bad to apocalyptic.

The following diseases have led to the deadliest pandemics in history. Since these fatalities have occurred over centuries, even millennia, under conditions where record-keeping was often sloppy at best, the body counts are only estimated.

SMALLPOX (VIRAL)
Estimated All-Time Death Toll: 300-500 MILLION

Spread with alarming ease through contact with infected persons — or even items that they’ve merely touched — smallpox begins with a rash that leads to pus-filled blisters that lead to scabs and scars and lesions and howling pain and blindness and death. It’s been cutting human lives short for 12,000 years and was one of the deadliest agents in the near-genocide of Native Americans that occurred after Europeans arrived bearing their Old World diseases.

MEASLES (VIRAL)
Estimated All-Time Death Toll: 300 MILLION

Able to live two hours in airspace where someone’s coughed or sneezed, measles is so infectious it will sicken nine of ten unvaccinated/nonimmune people in one household. In 2000, measles was declared eliminated in the U.S., but last year, with more kids not being vaccinated, cases approached 1,300. Globally, it still kills nearly a million annually. In 1875, on the island of Fiji, measles cut down a third of the population; survivors torched entire villages, often burning the sick alive.

MALARIA (PARASITIC)
Estimated All-Time Death Toll: 300 MILLION

Spread via mosquito bite, a staggering 350-600 million new cases of malaria occur every year with a fatality rate of just under a half of one percent. Malaria’s existence has been documented since at least the time of the ancient Roman Empire (where it was known as “Roman Fever”), and its prevalence is thought to have been a contributing factor in pulling ancient Rome down into the Dark Ages.

In an era of "weaponized" everything, talking about germs almost seems anticlimatic. Yet history always provides insights if one is willing to listen closely.

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