Preppers surge, replacing Y2K survivalist movement

Everyone should read Emily Matchar’s piece on “preppers“, the newest version of survivalists. According to her article, the end-times movement which had been relatively quiet since 1999’s Y2K freak-out (READ: DEVIL WIND to learn more about that), has resurged in the last three years as more and more people feel the social stresses brought on by globalization and the economic downturn. My question to all of you:  is this really the answer to our problems – build individual shelters, stock them with food and guns and bulletproof perimeters to keep out our neighbors when times get tough? Is an “every-man-for-himself” really the kind of America we want to live in? Not me. But  your thoughts are appreciated.

-Sammy

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“Dead Air” bioweapons premise is a frightening reality

Today the New York Times reported that a virologist in Rotterdam (Ron Fouchier) was able to  genetically tweak one of the deadliest flu viruses to create an airborne version in the lab with surprising ease . My first “adventure” in the novel “Dead Air” by Deborah Shlian and Linda Reid involved a foreign pharmaceutical company altering the AIDS virus. Ironically, that’s the virus Fouchier had originally studied. However, after switching  to the H5N1 virus, a type of bird flu, he was able to alter the genetics with only a few mutations and transform it into a supergerm that could cause a deadly pandemic if ever released. This has renewed debate about the ethics of some kinds of medical experiments. The Dutch government and the US CDC approved the laboratory and the NIH gave the center where the work was done a 7 year contract for the flu research. Now the government is recommending that Fouchier not publish any details of his work that could reveal how it was accomplished.

My question: is the cat out of the bag? What do you think? Let me know. I welcome your comments. In the meantime, “Dead Air” is still FREE as a Kindle download until the end of December, 2011.

-Sammy

Devil Wind by Deborah Shlian & Linda Reid is Finalist for the 2011 Royal Palm Literary Award!!

Just announced today: Devil Wind is a Finalist for this year’s Royal Palm Literary Award from the Florida Writers Association. Winners will be honored at the October Florida Writers Association meeting in Orlando.  I couldn’t be more excited for my creators: Linda Reid and Deborah Shlian. Last year, Dead Air, the first in their series about me, won First Place in the Thriller category. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that they win this year too. But as they say in Hollywood, “just to be a finalist is an honor in itself”.

Sammy  

Devil Wind by Deborah Shlian & Linda Reid: new book review

Thanks to Edie Dykeman, Bellaonline’s Mystery Books editor for her wonderful review of “Devil Wind”.  Her words: “The story is fast paced and the several plots and subplots deftly intertwined throughout the book come together in a harrowing, but satisfying, finish.”

But read the whole review here and if you haven’t read the book, for heavens sake, buy it now! Deborah has been donating all her royalties to breast cancer research. The novel is available in hardback, on eBook and Audiobook (20% discount all summer).

Thanks!

Sammy

Keep Fear Alive? Let’s Not!!

Surprise, May 21st came and went with no apocalypse! Just as in “Devil Wind” a manipulator (Miller in “Devil Wind”, Family Radio Network founder Harold Camping in this situation) was able to create a level of irrational fear that drove people to actually believe the world was about to end.

Of course, “Devil Wind” is fiction, but sadly millions in our country really do believe in doomsday predictions. Some of Camping’s followers actually quit their jobs and emptied their bank accounts to show their absolute faith in their leader.

Why? Because Camping was able to tap into their worst fear.

If a car is racing in your direction in the wrong lane of a busy California freeway, fear can be a useful emotion, sending a cocktail of chemicals (including adrenaline) surging through your bloodstream, allowing you to act instinctively, to serve out of the way of that oncoming vehicle. On the other hand, in some other situations- especially those in which there is no immediate or, I would submit, no “real” danger- this primal emotion (i.e. fear) can result in inappropriate decisions by paralyzing one’s reason.  After he left office, former Homeland Security Chief Tom Ridge wrote a book called “The Test of Our Times” in which he claimed the Bush administration had used imagined fears of a terrorist attack after 9/11 to sway voters.

Just like Neil Prescott does in the novel “Devil Wind.”

According to a scientific study published in a 2009 issue of the American Journal of Political Science, politicians of both parties are likely to try using fear to make people agree with decisions they might otherwise regret.

“A greater understanding of when fear can and cannot be used to scare citizens into supporting bad policies can help journalists and scholars more effectively interpret important historical events. It can help them think about whether, and to what extent, elite manipulation of citizen emotions contributed to initial public support for these kinds of government actions,” Arthur Lupia and Jesse O. Menning, the authors of the study, argue.

In an essay entitled “The Death of Rational Thought” by Kim Weissman in April, 2001,  Ms. Weissman wrote “public policy in this country is no longer premised on rational thought and educated public debate, it is increasingly being driven by fear, hysteria, ignorance, and media disinformation”

She goes on to talk about how we, the public, need to become better educated about issues, to start thinking more clearly and rationally so that fear does not overwhelm us. Politicians understand that fear creates power over people.

As long as voters are afraid of something (terrorism, gay marriage, drugs, guns, other religions, whatever) they can be controlled. But when we’re not afraid and understand the issues thoroughly, we are less likely to fall under the spell of fear.

Think it about it folks. Shouldn’t we all become better informed citizens? Frankly I’m tired of being told to be afraid all the time.

Here’s Sammy Greene’s advice: have a great Memorial Day weekend. Enjoy your friends and family. And remember, the end of the world has been cancelled!

PS While you’re sitting by the pool relaxing, why not read a copy of “Devil Wind” my latest adventure? It’s in hardback , eBook and on Audio.

Devil Wind by Deborah Shlian & Linda Reid