Tears in the Rain: Our Forgotten Heroes on the Front Line

Graves on the banks of the Ganges River, May 2021

Prometheus Shrugged: https://prometheusshrugged.substack.com/p/tears-in-rain-vol-ii-our-forgotten

America must honor our doctors & nurses – & realize that they were thrown to the wolves

Charles Rixey, MA, MBA

In Volume I of this miniseries, I sought to illuminate what the COVID-19 outbreak & lockdown was like, through the eyes of the residents of the city. The stunning scale of the Xi Xinping-directed central government suppression of virtually all information and contact out of that city of 11 million people was just as brutal as the lockdown measures themselves.

Here, my purpose is once again to shed light upon the superhuman courage and resilience of those whose voices were lost – the difference, however, is that in America the voices weren’t silenced through government suppression.

They were lost in the horrific scale of the pandemic itself.

Innocence Lost

To all the people I didn’t save – one nurse’s message

Col. Dave Grossman popularized the ‘Categories of People’ metaphor about Sheep, Sheepdogs & Wolves in his book On Combat, although it reached broader audiences from its appearance in American Sniper.

Unlike animals, our personalities aren’t set in stone; however, most of the time our societies are filled with sheep and a tiny fraction of wolves, and equilibrium is maintained with an even smaller share of sheepdogs.

Doctors & nurses aren’t trained for combat, of course, but the COVID-19 pandemic was a seminal moment for millions of sheep; even though most health care workers [just like with troops] weren’t sheepdogs, all of them were destined to face wolves.

Facing wolves means facing death, and it is the willingness to do so for the sake of the sheep that separates the sheepdogs from the rest of the flock. Being willing to kill is hard, but seeing death in any form impacts us – it represents the antithesis of our existence. Col. Grossman’s sequel, On Killing, is about the impact death & killing have on those who come face to face with it; as the video above demonstrated, the scars run deep.

Graves on the banks of the Ganges River in India, May 2021

(α) The Valley of the Shadow of Death

COVID-19 emerged in late 2019, but even as it quickly spread beyond the city of Wuhan, there was a sense of surreal trust that it follow the course of other epidemics and come under control before large-scale troubles could appear. After all, the boy had cried wolf before, when a novel H1N1 flu strain emerged in early 2009, and despite infecting 1 billion people the virus itself was weaker than most annually recurring strains.

COVID-19’s lethality wasn’t immediately clear, because even though it was causing severe illness in a lot of cases, the first ‘official’ death didn’t happen until mid-January. In the following week, however, doctors in Wuhan discovered several horrifying aspects of the disease:

1) It was spreading human-to-human [finally confirmed] 2) The long course of the disease led to large numbers of people sitting on ventilators for weeks before they succumbed 3) The virus was impacting several different types of tissue all across the body 4) It was spreading like wildfire even at Jinyintan Hospital, which was the expert center for highly infectious diseases.

No one knew that the worst aspects of the disease hadn’t even been discovered yet; so, when COVID-19 hit New York City in full force in mid-March, even the most experienced doctors and nurses were caught off guard by the pandemic’s intensity. For everyone else, pictures say a thousand words:

Kathryn Ivey @kathryniveyyHow it started How it’s going November 22nd 202086,548 Retweets988,004 Likes

November 22, 2020

The 1st signs of overload in NYC produced the earliest accounts of heroic doctors and nurses, while also detailing some of the human cost tied to mixed messaging and scarce protective supplies:

Coronavirus Prompts Hospitals to Find Ways to Reuse Masks Amid Shortages -  WSJ
A nurse desperately working to maintain what few masks were available to her hospital in New York in March, 2020

Shortages of doctors and nurses existed before COVID-19 hit, so it’s not hard to imagine where we sit today, 18 months later:

Cleavon MD 💉 @Cleavon_MD🚨Amid dire hospital staff shortages due to COVID, Louisiana requests: -978 ICU & ER nurses -184 Respiratory Therapists -158 Physicians -165 Licensed Practical nurses -41 Nurse Practitioners -34 Nursing assistants -34 Pharmacists -110 Other providers theadvocate.com/baton_rouge/ne…


August 5th 2021121 Retweets193 Likes

Adam B. Hill, M.D. @Adamhill1212As a healthcare worker, the sacrifices we made the first time felt noble to a unified greater cause. And yet, they still broke us. The second time these sacrifices feel needless. The pieces of us remaining feel there was never even a greater cause at all.August 5th 2021164 Retweets855 Likes

(β) I Will Fear No Evil

The ‘worst aspects’ I hinted at above were decisive in allowing the SARS-CoV-2 virus to fuel a global pandemic that is entering its 4th full wave here in the United States. Before I turn back to the sheepdogs, however, I must provide context for the wolves that they faced.

I was inspired to write this article because of the similarities between the circumstances of this unexpected tragedy and events from my own personal experience [discussed further down]; however [by horrible coincidence], this topic intersects with one of the two major areas of research I’ve focused on as a member of the investigative group DRASTIC. Our work centers on the still-unknown origins of the COVID-19 pandemic, and my two particular issues have been the cover-up of the early outbreak in Wuhan & the deliberate scientific censorship meant to prevent such research. Dr. Fauci helped lead that push for censorship, and the results [intended or not] included the delayed propagation of key information, especially early in the pandemic. [emphasis added]

The worst symptom of COVID-19: Isolating us in our darkest hours

The first realization was that COVID-19 was spreading asymptomatically [1st discussed c. 1/23, but confirmed a month later:

Despite this confirmation, I flew to and from Europe [via London, Prague & Madrid] while only filling out 1 info form and 1 temperature check [after landing back in Dallas]. I left Spain the day before Italy closed its borders. It also meant that drs & nurses across the US were barely protected from the virus they’d been preparing for. Most of the precautions announced and implemented by the European Union while I was in Prague weren’t being implemented yet – in short, everybody was looking for a virus without actually preventing much spread.

There’s more – Why did the world’s leading virologists/microbiologists and top American/UK officials refrain from releasing their knowledge of the existence of the FCS when they first learned of it? [Emphasis added]

The FCS is an additional method that the SARS-CoV-2 viral genome contained, in addition to its known affinity for human ACE2 cell receptors. The FCS is so good at increasing pathogenicity that it’s the specific insertion typically added by labs worldwide for Gain-of-Function experiments.

What possible justification could there have been to ignore the FCS, other than limit discussion during the early phase of their censorship? And what effect might that have had on our doctors’ ability to characterize the virus?

cjvance @cjvance@CharlesRixey @janieyaya @btysonmd @BasedCoco @w_mccairn I admit, in the spring of 2020, when the first emergency medicine docs were in critical care because of coronavirus, that news quickly made the rounds, and in fear I went to the hospital restroom and vomited. A lot. And then went back to work. 4/August 9th 20211 Likecjvance @cjvance@CharlesRixey @janieyaya @btysonmd @BasedCoco @w_mccairn I say this not asking for sympathy, but more expressing understanding for all of the people in the healthcare system who suddenly realized they were in over their heads and wanted out. But a fire fighter doesn’t leave a burning house. 5/August 9th 20211 Likecjvance @cjvance@CharlesRixey @janieyaya @btysonmd @BasedCoco @w_mccairn Now it is clear to me we have a totally different problem on our hands. There’s a problem of the disruption of society, of lack of trust in the medical system… we as a country have a paranoid focus on fear, rather than a focus on becoming our best selves. 6/August 9th 20213 Likes

One of the worst developments of the pandemic is the evaporation of public trust in scientists [see Edifice Wrecks]. My research has shown me nothing that would help heal that divide.

To summarize: Dr. Fauci, Pres. Science Advisor K. Droegemeier and the world’s leading coronavirus researchers remained silent for weeks [late Jan-mid-Feb] after confirming the historically powerful binding ability of the SARS-CoV-2 virus; concurrently, they published a dozen letters and articles rejecting an artificial origin during the crucial period when COVID-19 became a global pandemic. 6 weeks later, some NYC doctors/nurses were still taping garbage bags on themselves to reduce contamination, and cleaning/reusing worn surgical masks. That’s how our frontline workers were protected when the wolves knocked on the door. [Emphasis added]

When the Frontline is the Homefront

Last September I decided to make a projection of what I thought was likely to happen in the winter wave; on May 1st, my predicted total death count for the US was ~4 tenths of a percent off [about 2000], 207 days later. Near the end of the article, I wrote that I hoped my projection would be wrong, because if it turned out to be right then it would just further prove that our NPI strategies were wrong.

They were.

A dad holding his newborn daughter. The birth was induced 2 weeks early, to ensure that he would get to see her before he died

Remember: the main difference between the sheep and the sheepdog is that the sheep will run to the sheepdog, while the sheepdog will run to the wolf. Last year, hundreds of thousands of people chose to be sheepdogs, and what they faced will soon become the worst loss of American life, ever – more than both sides of the US Civil War combined.

They witnessed death on a scale beyond what I can fathom – there were multiple 48-hour stretches this winter that approached the total of all American troops killed in Operation Iraqi Freedom during 7 years of war. In a majority of deaths, doctors were restricted to a narrow of treatment options even though precisely the opposite stance was called for. They watched critical patient after critical patient weaken until even the ventilators couldn’t save them. They endured the brief encounters with their families, sometimes even sleeping in tents outside their homes to keep their families safe. In the beginning they had no masks or gloves, and later watched many of their friends and fellow sheepdogs become sick and die themselves. Today, there are even fewer of them, and in the last two weeks they’ve been flooded by a sudden wave that’s still growing exponentially.

They’ve suffered the impact of the vaccination battle, and this week are beginning to understand that the vaccine that helped them return to a semblance of normal is being overwhelmed by the sheer volume of virus produced by the δ variant – right as the storms clouds roll in.

(γ) For You are with Me – οτι συ μετ εμου

ἐὰν γὰρ καὶ πορευθῶ ἐν μέσῳ σκιᾶς θανάτου οὐ φοβηθήσομαι κακά ὅτι σὺμετ᾽ ἐμοῦ*

*Psalm 23:4 [tattooed on my left forearm in Κοινη (ancient) Greek]
“Yea, though I walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, I will fear no evil – for you are with me”

In 2005, I encountered wolves for the first time, and that changed me even though I didn’t realize it at the time. I didn’t even realize I had scars for almost a decade, but eventually the nightmares became memories again. Only in 2018 did I learn that the last portion of that verse is the most important. No one should have to walk through this pandemic isolated, but that is exactly what our Heroes have endured.

My hope is that the doctors and nurses who fought against COVID-19 won’t have to wait 13 years to learn that the scars rarely come from the battles they’ve fought; it’s the sheep they couldn’t save that hurt the worst.

Americans must take a step back and pause for a moment, and consider that our medical workers endured the deaths of more than 617,000, people – while saving millions of us. They rarely saw their own families while fighting daily to keep other families intact, and now, they’re facing the most dangerous variant with fewer fellow drs. & nurses. In the 1st half of 2020, it was easy to find home-made ‘Thank You’ signs and supportive FaceBook posts, but today there is mostly silence. We cannot wait until we pass by a nurse out in town to thank them, because once again they barely have enough time to see their family. We must radically change how we pay, comfort and supply them.

Why? Because no matter how badly the wolves wounded them before, the sheepdogs will always go back into the fray when another wolf approaches. I refuse to sit silently while our leadership is actively throwing them to the wolves.

I can attest that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

Most sheepdogs would agree , but that wisdom is misleading. I’m stronger than I used to be, but I wouldn’t wish that lesson on anyone else – because the wounds are always deep, and the scars never truly heal. You must not forget those who are sacrificing on your behalf as you read this today, because they won’t forget.

Econophysics2020 Addendum

Lieutenant Colonel Grossman’s book should be required reading in every American high school.

“Should be” but won’t because American high schools are not about education.

Some Grossman quotes:

“Bruno Bettelheim, a survivor of the Nazi death camps, argues that the root of our failure to deal with violence lies in our refusal to face up to it. We deny our fascination with the “dark beauty of violence,” and we condemn aggression and repress it rather than look at it squarely and try to understand and control it.”

“The Israelis have consistently refused to put women in combat since their experiences in 1948. I have been told by several Israeli officers that this is because in 1948 they experienced recurring incidences of uncontrolled violence among male Israeli soldiers who had had their female combatants killed or injured in combat, and because the Arabs were extremely reluctant to surrender to women.”

“A tremendous volume of research indicates that the primary factor that motivates a soldier to do the things that no sane man wants to do in combat (that is, killing and dying) is not the force of self-preservation but a powerful sense of accountability to his comrades on the battlefield.”

“Robert Heinlein once wrote that fulfillment in life involved “loving a good woman and killing a bad man.”

Grossman on Sheepdogs

“Look at what happened after September 11, 2001 when the wolf pounded hard on the door. Remember how America, more than ever before, felt differently about their law enforcement officers and military personnel? Remember how many times you heard the word hero?

“Understand that there is nothing morally superior about being a sheepdog; it is just what you choose to be. Also understand that a sheepdog is a funny critter: He is always sniffing around out on the perimeter, checking the breeze, barking at things that go bump in the night, and yearning for a righteous battle. That is, the young sheepdogs yearn for a righteous battle. The old sheepdogs are a little older and wiser, but they move to the sound of the guns when needed right along with the young ones.

“Here is how the sheep and the sheepdog think differently. The sheep pretend the wolf will never come, but the sheepdog lives for that day. After the attacks on September 11, 2001, most of the sheep, that is, most citizens in America said, “Thank God I wasn’t on one of those planes.” The sheepdogs, the warriors, said, “Dear God, I wish I could have been on one of those planes. Maybe I could have made a difference.” When you are truly transformed into a warrior and have truly invested yourself into warriorhood, you want to be there. You want to be able to make a difference.

“There is nothing morally superior about the sheepdog, the warrior, but he does have one real advantage. Only one. And that is that he is able to survive and thrive in an environment that destroys 98 percent of the population. There was research conducted a few years ago with individuals convicted of violent crimes. These cons were in prison for serious, predatory crimes of violence: assaults, murders and killing law enforcement officers. The vast majority said that they specifically targeted victims by body language: slumped walk, passive behavior and lack of awareness. They chose their victims like big cats do in Africa, when they select one out of the herd that is least able to protect itself.

“Some people may be destined to be sheep and others might be genetically primed to be wolves or sheepdogs. But I believe that most people can choose which one they want to be, and I’m proud to say that more and more Americans are choosing to become sheepdogs.”


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