I do hunt, and I enjoy nature. I just don’t normally get exercised about issues like West Nile virus.
But the more I have learned about the chemical used in West Nile spraying and its effects on helpful insects and its harmful effects on people, the more involved I’ve become with what I am calling “MosquitoGate” – this brewing battle between the city’s spray policy in the interest of public health and the citizens who are frantically trying to stop them.
But here’s the question I have: What is the government’s job, and where does our own personal responsibility come into play?
Is there even one person reading this who does not know where to buy bug spray? Is there any shortage of types of repellants? I personally bought a container of all-natural stuff from Central Market yesterday.
I cannot control mosquito breeding in drainage ditches, but I can control what I put on my body. And believe me, it’s gotta be cheaper than whatever the city is paying to spray.
Why is it that when the mercury soars, people donate fans and air conditioners to keep people from dying from heat stroke, which is a human-only problem? But when a handful of people die from mosquito bites, entire neighborhoods of Dallas and an entire host of critters get blanketed with Napalm? That just does not make sense to me.
I am not trying to be insensitive to even one human death, but there is a valid case here for looking at the numbers.
Hundreds of people die in car accidents on Dallas roads and freeways every year, but when was the last time they closed Central because it was too dangerous?
It doesn’t make sense to other people, either. Vanessa Van Gilder started a petition on change.org entitled “Dallas, Stop the Spray! Combat Mosquitos the Intelligent Way!” It’s sort of a mouthful, but it gets the point across. More than 1,000 people have already signed it.
Add to the Common Sense pile a large dose of science. Gene Helmick-Richardson is a licensed pest control operator in the Metroplex for more than 20 years and has a PhD in Entomology (the study of bugs), so he probably knows a thing or two. In the essay “Why Aerial Spraying is a Terrible Plan,” he calls the chemicals “adulticides.” not pesticides, and says they don’t work. He cited multiple studies to support the data of ineffectiveness as well as the debacle that ensued when New York tried it.
There is also an inexpensive, plentiful and completely safe product called BT granules that anyone can use around their home. They kill the mosquito eggs, which is the real solution.
So, the spraying doesn’t work. It’s costly. It’s deadly to good bugs and harmful to us. People have alternatives they can and should use to protect themselves. And comparatively speaking, this “deadly outbreak” pales compared to other problems like drunk drivers.
Government has a responsibility to protect its citizens. But citizens have a responsibility to protect themselves. Maybe Dallas should adopt the medical world’s motto: Do No Harm.