While the World Waits

While the World Waits

 

While the World Waits

“In the centre, people groan and cry out - the smell of blood, diarrhea and vomit is awful - unfortunately there is also a very pervading smell of dead bodies. I can only leave it to your imagination to understand what a pile of bodies smells like after a week in very hot, moist surroundings - it makes you feel sick quite a lot of the time.”

Cokie van der Velde - Foreign Aid Worker (Liberia)

Apologies in advance to the squeamish…

It starts mildly enough, a cough, a fever, joint and muscle aches, a sore throat, general weakness and a loss of appetite...so common are the symptoms that its often mistaken for a simple case of the flu. But this is just the beginning...

The progression is terrifyingly fast. Within a couple days the later stages of the disease begin to manifest themselves. As it attacks the entire body, victims experience extreme suffering. Fevers, chest pain and nausea quickly turn to horrific skin rashes, paralyzing headaches, confusion, seizures, and bloody vomitus. Then comes the internal bleeding. Many patients bleed from almost every orifice in the body - including their mouth, nose, gums and any recent puncture or injection mark as the the disease essentially liquefies their organs. Ultimately, the organs fail completely, the body shuts down and victims suffer cardiovascular failure and death.

Ebola is frighteningly easy to transmit through the bodily fluids of an infected animal or person. This means blood, saliva, etc, as well as any object that has come into contact with those things — like needles, bedsheets and toilets.

There are no known drugs to prevent or cure the Ebola Virus. You’re either die, or you fight it off. The only thing that can be done is to support the body’s fight by providing intensive constant rehydration. Mortality rates are as high as 90%.

But this really isn’t about Ebola...

Literally, as I write this post, the first of three thousand US military personnel are stepping onto a hot, humid tarmac in Liberia, West Africa. Mercenaries in the latest global, humanitarian crisis that the CDC now estimates will infect 500,000 people by January. Our sons and daughters, husbands and wives risking their own lives to stem the tide of disease as it sweeps across a continent.

The decision to put US soldiers, advisors, physicians and support personnel in in harms way has already drawn sharp criticism from medical experts and former military brass. Retired Lt. Gen. William G. Boykin charged that sending American troops to combat Ebola in Liberia is “an absolute misuse of the U.S. military.” Dr. Jane Orient, executive director of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons called the planned U.S. deployment a “dubious mission,” warning that the nightmarish scenario could bring Ebola to America.

I understand the concerns and frankly, I agree in part with the statements above, I’m just not sure that we have a choice nor do we have the luxury of waiting for the global community to respond. Right or wrong the United States has always taken the lead when it comes to questions of moral obligation and humanity.

If not us then who? As with most global crisis the rest of the world appears to merely be observers standing on the sidelines. Where are the Russians, Chinese, Koreans, Germans, French, British, Saudi’s, Iranians etc? I’ll tell you where, waiting for Us, America to step up to the latest global catastrophe, natural disaster, biological or terror threat and then criticize our involvement or the manner in which we accomplish that mission.

How telling and tragic were the words of Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf on Wednesday when she said “she hoped US President Barack Obama's decision to send three thousand troops to West Africa to battle the worst Ebola outbreak on record would spur other countries to help.” Hoped it would spur other countries to help? Why have we come to accept this as the norm for international action or more appropriately non-action?

This of course is nothing new. For the past 20 years we have been the first country to provide resources, personnel or aid for nearly every significant humanitarian event to face the planet. Sadly, it’s also become common for us to be chastised for inserting ourselves into the affairs of foreign countries and then expected to come running when the world sounds the distress signal.

Even our “enemies” in the Middle East (read Iran and Syria) are now pleading for our assistance to control the advance of ISIS and modern day genocide. And yet still we are required to build a global coalition to facilitate and justify our actions. Really, a global coalition to stomp out evil?

Listen, I’m certainly not blind to the fact that as a country we may at times overreach in our desire to operate as the worlds safety net or that every action has an equal but opposite reaction. But I also believe that as Americans and as a country we’re defined by what we do in moments of great adversity, tragedy and potential peril. Polarizing moments that exemplify what this country stands for and serve as a model for the rest of the world.

We were born for these moments, forged from the fires of hardship and sharpened by courage, sacrifice and boundless determination. And while we may differ on the chosen path we share a common belief that every life matters.

A belief that makes me unapologetically proud to be American.

-By Scott Seymour



About Scott Seymour

The son of an avid outdoorsman and early waterman, Scott Seymour was born into an adventurous lifestyle. Having spent most of his formative years along the remote beaches of Baja California and the dusty backroads of nearly every mountain range on the western edge of North America he understands what its like to live off the beaten path and on the road less travelled. Those early years were spent diving, surfing, fishing, mountaineering, exploring, prospecting and getting lost and found literally and figuratively on a regular basis. While an atypical childhood it may have been, it forged an adventurous spirit and a thirst for life that has continued to guide him through adulthood.

As a collegiate volleyball player at UCLA, Scott developed a passion for teamwork and helping others meet their maximum potential. He went on to build a successful career leading and managing highly efficient sales teams for various national and global organizations. In 2008, feeling that familiar yearning for adventure he made a career 180 and for the past several years has worked as a bail and recovery agent in Southern California. Scott is also a registered EMT and first responder and will be starting the fire academy in January of this year with the goal of becoming a paramedic.

A self proclaimed “gear junkie” Scott can still be found most days researching and testing new equipment and strategies while stand up paddling, surfing or exploring the coastlines of Southern California or Mexico.

He resides in San Clemente with his wife and two junior watermen.

Leave a comment:

Brian H.

9/25/2014 7:02 AM

Great article.

Scott S.

9/27/2014 10:30 AM

Thank you. As the projections of the speed and spread of Ebola continue to rise, it appears that the world is finally beginning to wake up. We're finally starting to see commitments from other countries.

Chris L.

9/28/2014 1:36 AM

I feel that we need to offer aid to those countries that need our help, but in a situation like the Ebola outbreak we should keep our people out of harms way. All this going to do is bring the outbreak to the U.S. and cause a global pandemic. The action that Obama took by sending the 3000 troops over to help was the wrong call in my opinion. As for the middle east, those people have been fighting since the beginning of time and will continue to do so until the end of time. We need to bring our service men and women home. Chris Loomis USMC/Ret.

Eugene B.

9/29/2014 4:57 PM

Right ON!!!

Scott S.

9/30/2014 12:57 PM

Thank you Chris and most importantly thank you for your service. Well stated. I generally agree with your comments. I too believe that utilizing our troops in this fashion is at the very least a precarious option. However, given the rate of spread and global ramifications I just don't know what the short term solution is nor whether we have the time to wait for a pathetically lethargic global reaction. Maybe this is will spark a call to action for a unified global humanitarian force for future pandemics? Until then I suppose we’ll continue to be the tip of the spear...

Thomas S.

10/6/2014 7:42 AM

I totally agree, Chris. I honestly feel like this action is a small part of an overall plan to bring America down at least to a level that would facilitate the ability of our enemies to take a much stronger foothold within our own borders. We are in serious trouble and, In my opinion, under a direct threat to the National security of this country by the most powerful position in the free world. We need to seriously analyze these activities and take appropriate action. Articles of impeachment would be a good first move.

James B.

12/1/2014 6:37 AM

Amen! Chris, I agree totally. Let's take care of our own country for awhile.

Eugene B.

9/29/2014 4:55 PM

I think it is wrong to use our armed forces to do this task. It should have been a crash volunteer effort led by the government to recruit those volunteers. Our Armed forces are just that! There job is to help and protect US citizens and legal guests of the country from forces within and external forces in the world who would due harm to the them.

Scott S.

9/30/2014 1:11 PM

Agreed…and again perfectly said. I like the idea of a crash volunteer effort however, I ask the same question…How long do we wait for the government, the UN, the world to respond. I don't like the current scenario but this is beyond a localized event now. The threat to all of us is real and growing exponentially by the minute. Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas quarantined a patient yesterday for what appears to be Ebola. Time will tell but we’re entering uncertain territory with what sure feels like a potentially global pandemic. Time for the world to wake up and step up!

Dwayne G.

10/1/2014 4:04 PM

Thank you Scott, I agree more needs to be done to fight and stop Ebola out break NOW. As we all now, we do have a first case of Ebola right here in the US, in Dallas TX. from not US military personnel, but from a person that boarded a plane that was infected with the Ebola virus, and landed right here in the US. As a ER tech, and EMT, I am very concerned about this out break this time, a lot more than any other out break before. To many people are getting it faster than ever before. The Ebola probably mutated, which all viruses will do, into a stonger stain that is so much harder to treat. I was never worried about the aid workers bringing it back, but the unseen, unkown infected person boarding an airplane to the US. Now it has happened, and this will not be the first, but just the begining! Dwayne G.

Scott S.

10/2/2014 8:52 PM

Thank you for your comments Dwayne and for your service to your community and this country as an ER Tech and EMT. I too am concerned about the spread of this virus. It continues to be downplayed by the CDC and various medical experts but I remain skeptical. Hope for the best and prepare for the worse as they say. You're on the front lines my friend. Be safe!

Jason G.

10/2/2014 8:55 PM

Recently returned from a trip to Italy, it was my first time visiting Europe. I loved it but frankly, many Italians were not too friendly. I mentioned this to a colleague who has far more experience in world travel than I. He stated: "dude, nobody likes Americans". It's easy for me to see only the negative with regards to our country, especially under our current governmental administration. Thanks to Mr. Seymour for reminding me of the finest individuals among us that make us who we are - the American Serviceman

Vron M.

10/4/2014 1:50 PM

Thanks for your explanation , i"m a disabled Veteran ( of the Vietnam war...police action...or what else they want to call it...This is not about me but my son , he enlisted to become a combat medic , he then took it a step further and became a nurse , Now in the private sector, he has quite a safe and well paying job and has signed up , as a first responder and willl soon believing for a few weeks of traning and then , he"ll be leaving here and going , to liberia , to fight the Ebola virus . when i asked him why , he just said because its the right thing to do, and if we don"t take a stand over there , we"ll just have to fight it here , he"s my only son and i feel as if he" going to war. Proud is not evan a word i can say about him , If there is any advice you can give him or gear that you can recommend he use , i would be forever in your debt, don't get me wrong we or i should say i am not asking for anything free or a gimme gimme gimme , type situation all i am asking is for some advice,....and a prayer or two to whatever or who - ever you believe in...great article ..... Thank you mikesix69@comcast.net V. Mishler

Vron M.

10/4/2014 1:50 PM

Thanks for your explanation , i"m a disabled Veteran ( of the Vietnam war...police action...or what else they want to call it...This is not about me but my son , he enlisted to become a combat medic , he then took it a step further and became a nurse , Now in the private sector, he has quite a safe and well paying job and has signed up , as a first responder and willl soon believing for a few weeks of traning and then , he"ll be leaving here and going , to liberia , to fight the Ebola virus . when i asked him why , he just said because its the right thing to do, and if we don"t take a stand over there , we"ll just have to fight it here , he"s my only son and i feel as if he" going to war. Proud is not evan a word i can say about him , If there is any advice you can give him or gear that you can recommend he use , i would be forever in your debt, don't get me wrong we or i should say i am not asking for anything free or a gimme gimme gimme , type situation all i am asking is for some advice,....and a prayer or two to whatever or who - ever you believe in...great article ..... Thank you mikesix69@comcast.net V. Mishler

Scott S.

10/8/2014 2:14 PM

Mr. Mishler…Thank you to both you and your son for your service. I cannot begin to tell you how much your words have resonated with me. Your sons actions make me truly proud to me an American. I can only imagine the pride you must feel as a parent. I'll be responding to you soon at the email you provided. I also want you to know that I was so moved by your sons decision to put his own life at risk in order to save others that I have written a new piece in both your honor. It's called "Where Angels Walk" and is a tribute to the Combat Medics and Corpsman who have given so much for this country. Look for it soon here on GovX. Thank you again. - Scott

Bryce P.

10/8/2014 11:54 AM

The ENEMY sits in the White House and in Congress and in our government agencies. This is just my opinion! I could be wrong!

Richard C.

10/26/2014 10:42 AM

Outstanding article about the truth and how things really are !!!

Scott S.

10/28/2014 11:49 AM

Thank you.

Justin I.

11/4/2014 6:27 AM

For those who think that the U.S shouldn't have played a hand here, or that it's wrong to use the armed forces in such a way, I couldn't disagree with you more... I joined the USMC to not only make a difference in the interests and well being of this great country but to be able to impact less fortunate countries in a positive way, one of the many reasons the USMC established a special purpose MAGTF Crisis Response. Myself and my aviation unit are currently attached to the SP-MAGTF based in Spain and a few of us had the great opportunity to be selected to fly down to Liberia to participate in operation USAID. To help a people who cannot combat this disease on their. I don't care why Russia isn't involved, or China, or anyone else to be honest. Let the United states continue to be the tip of the spear and allow me to exert my ambitions through my military career(however long that might be) in a positive way. Hopefully im not the only one who feels this way... maybe im just an over zealous marine lost in my work haha.