Yesterday after a weeks long battle with Covid, long-time entertainer for the Baldknobbers, Silver Dollar City, and Pierce Arrow among others, Randy McConnell, passed away at age 59.  While I did not know Randy well, I am very close to some of his more progressive friends, and this one hurts.

A lot.

I recently wrote about Covid running roughshod over my birth state.

Well, I have not confirmed that Randy was not vaccinated, though the likelihood is that he was not.

And I am posting this because the way I look at it, maybe it filters to other sites, and maybe, just maybe, one person will look at this and get vaccinated before it is too late.

Branson declared this pandemic over when it wasn’t, in fact Branson is dealing with a severe outbreak as is the rest of Southwest MO.  So even though some of these people are Trumpers, and some just conservative, seeing all these people suffering in large part due to misinformation is the closest thing to living an episode of the Twilight Zone I can remember.

So perhaps it is a lost cause to try to help these people, but it isn’t something I can just sit back and accept.

I can’t accept talking to someone perfectly healthy who won’t get vaccinated, then watching them get sick, then watching them die.  I can’t accept a result like that.  It may not be within my ability to change the outcome, but I can’t sit idly back and not try to move the needle on vaccinations.

For one thing, these people don’t exist in a viral vacuum.  There is the small possibility, as discussed frequently, that the unvaccinated could allow for a mutant form of Covid to develop setting the clock back to 2020.  One replete with lockdowns, mask mandates for even the vaccinated, and much more death and illness-all because they won’t listen.  Is this likely?  No, but not impossible.  

Also, I know have been told of other notable entertainers sick now, but for privacy reasons I will not seek names.  I do know The Hughes Brothers had to cancel shows recently, but they are famous in Branson circles.

But there are higher profile stars there currently battling the virus, and I would ask that they come out publicly.  I would ask that they make it clear that they are unvaccinated, that they are sick, and that they regret their reticence to vaccinate.

I would ask that they go out and message on behalf of vaccinations.  But that might be career ending-and I just don’t understand how a simple step to protect oneself from a pandemic can result in so much backlash.  But maybe I do.

We are in a state of “alternative fact” crisis, largely due to Russia, and their social media “tools.”

It’s hard to know exactly why pro-Kremlin actors push fake messages about Covid-19 and other topics in the news. But experts have plenty of ideas.

First and foremost, it’s highly likely this content is used to sow discord in countries and regions like the US and Europe, which may be considered adversarial to Russia. A good example of this came last summer amid a wave of protests, and a conservative backlash, after the murder of George Floyd by police officer Derek Chauvin.

Pro-Russian trolls amplified this discord, Marineau said. They created some Facebook pages that (ostensibly, at least) support the Black Lives Matter movement, and others that praised police. These pages received hundreds of thousands of likes.

On almost every topic, these bots have astroturfed YouTube and Facebook.  Second on YouTube especially, almost every positive vaccine video is inundated with nearly universally anti-vaccine posts.

This Olivia Rodrigo story, for example, has some people attempting to fight back in the comments, but statements like “death jab” continue to top the comments.

I have been informed that more high profile stars are in Covid trouble, so Randy may not be the only entertainer that passes.  But in the Ozarks the virus is throwing a party.  And it doesn’t seem like there is anyway to get these people to listen to facts and science and get vaccinated, so it is apparent Delta will spread and more will almost certainly die.

The President recently took the gloves off with Facebook, which I was glad to see, and their response was not so much of a scared puppy, like a private company should act when scolded, but a nation state, which kind of makes sense, doesn’t it?

Clearly, we are going to have to take a more aggressive, perhaps heavy handed approach to contain this virus.  This is national and global security we are talking about, and if feelings are hurt and anger is present, and protests are running rampant so be it.

But it has to stop.  Randy McConnell was 59 years old.  

For hundreds of thousands of others reading posts about the “death jab” I have one response.  The jab prevents death in almost all cases.  Throughout recorded history this may be the most effective vaccine program we have ever seen.

And as for YouTube and Facebook and other social media irresponsibly behaving?  Hold them liable.  Investigate them.  If need be set up a committee to help them get control, although I do prefer a procedure by which disinformation is removed, but as discussed below not sure that could remain objective. But it has to be addressed.  A hypothetical Facebook lie posted tomorrow could be spread across the world by noon.

What someone wakes up to tomorrow in their “feed” could well determine if they choose to vaccinate or choose to roll the dice.

And without the vaccination, the odds favor Delta’s house.


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