By John Krull
INDIANAPOLIS—U.S. Sen. Mike Braun, R-Indiana, fears for Hoosiers’ security.
"As around 5,000 evacuated Afghans will be temporarily housed at Indiana’s Camp Atterbury while they are vetted for resettlement across the country, it is extremely important that all local units of government and first responders know who they are, how many, and what part of the vetting process they’re in so Hoosiers do not suffer the fallout of President Biden’s disastrous withdrawal. I have communicated to the relevant federal departments that vetting details and any plans for resettlement must be transparent and public so we can honor our commitments to our Afghan allies while keeping Hoosier communities safe," Braun said in a press release.
Braun is right to be afraid for Hoosiers—just not for the reason he thinks.
There is a huge threat to Indiana residents’ safety loose in the state, but it doesn’t come from the poor, terrified human beings fleeing an endless and fratricidal civil war. Doubtless, they’ll be happy just to live in a place where they don’t have to hug the ground every time there’s a loud bang.
(Although, come to think of it, settling in a nation where the gun lobby reigns unchecked might not provide these poor souls with that much solace. Somewhere between 140,000 and 200,000 Afghan citizens died in the past 20 years of war—it’s hard to know precisely because our armed services stopped doing civilian body counts. Guns in this country kill that many people in less than five years.)
But, if the refugees aren’t a huge threat, then what is?
Well … ignorance.
Just under 2,500 American soldiers lost their lives in Afghanistan over the past 20 years.
The COVID-19 pandemic has cost us more than 640,000 American lives in less than two years. That’s nearly 300 times the number of American lives lost in Afghanistan and between three and four times the overall casualties of that disastrous war.
And it happened in less than one-tenth the time.
That grim total continues to grow. We’re back to watching more than 1,000 of our fellow citizens die every day.
That means that every two days or so we lose as many Americans to COVID as we did in 20 years of war in Afghanistan.
Here in Indiana, we have seen nearly 14,500 Hoosiers die from COVID. Our numbers are creeping upward again. At the rate we’re going it will take us a month—maybe a little more—to lose as many people to COVID in this state as the entire United States did in 20 years of war.
Now, I used a lot of numbers in the preceding paragraphs, and I know math is not a strength for Mike Braun and his followers.
Many of them, after all, still struggle to grasp the fact that 81 million popular votes and 306 electoral votes beat 74 million and 232, respectively, in the most recent presidential election.
But even they should be able to grasp that 640,000 is more—much more—than 2,500.
The same goes for 14,500. It’s also a lot more than 2,500.
If Mike Braun were truly worried about the safety of Hoosiers and Americans, he would insist that all eligible adults—whether they be Afghan or U.S. citizens—get the COVID vaccine.
That, though, likely would confound his supporters.
They have fears about the vaccine that are as nonsensical as their fears about these refugees. They say they worry about what’s in the vaccine and the vaccine’s supposed long-lasting effects. That just shows that they don’t know how a vaccine works.
The COVID vaccine introduces just enough of the virus into our systems to trigger the development of our own antibodies. The vaccine dissipates and disappears from our systems within three days or so.
After that, our own bodies do the work and fight the disease.
And the fears about refugees?
Well, that’s either idiocy, lunacy or both.
The poor people who helped us in a dreadful war at great risk to themselves pose no threat to us.
That’s a different story.
Ignorance is killing more and more of us every day.
John Krull is director of Franklin College’s Pulliam School of Journalism and publisher of TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.