Tuesday, March 28, 2023

The Tennessee tragedy


So yesterday, a Christian elementary school was attacked by a clearly deranged transsexual criminal - in this case, a woman identifying as a man.  Three children and three adults were murdered before the offender was herself dispatched to her eternal "reward" (which, one fears, may involve a great deal of heat and not very much light at all).

I don't intend to get into the debate over whether to refer to the shooter as "him" or "her".  As far as I'm concerned (and as I've said in these pages several times before), the chromosomes have it.  Was the shooter XX or XY?  That settles once and for all, definitively and incontrovertibly, whether he/she/it was male or female.  End of argument, end of discussion.  Those who wish to distinguish "gender" from "sex" can pontificate to their hearts' content.  Their opinions won't change biological and medical facts.

As a pastor and a man of faith, I must simply point out that evil remains among us, as it has since the dawn of time and as it will until the end of time.  What happened yesterday was evil, pure and simple.  Whether the shooter was an evil person, or whether evil influenced or took her over in some way, is irrelevant at this point.  The deed, and its outcome, can't be described as anything but evil, and her participation was an act of evil.  If there be forgiveness for her - if forgiveness is even possible for such unspeakable evil - then give thanks for God's mercy, and for the fact that He understands far better than ourselves what lies in the hearts of men (and women).  That's His decision.  (Yes, I'm capitalizing God's title and pronouns.  I'm the traditional sort, and this is my blog.  Live with it.)  Since I'm going to be in dire need of God's mercy for my own sins, I won't seek to deny it to anyone else for theirs, no matter how sickened and horrified I may be by what they did.

When I see transsexual advocates actively proclaiming, promoting and participating in morally evil acts - not restricted to school shootings, but including exposing children to drag queen shows and other morally questionable influences, and demanding that the rest of us not only tolerate, but actually approve of such derangement - then it's very hard not to paint that entire section of society as evil in itself.  I know there are many in that section who are deranged, not able to understand good and/or evil and unable to see how the latter has influenced them;  but that doesn't change the objective truth of their actions.  They are denying reality.  They are insisting that reality is what they say it is, rather than what it objectively is.  That's a lie from start to finish.  A well-known tweet hilariously exposes that reality.

No amount of opining will change reality.  No amount of psychological or psychiatric fixation will change human chromosomes.

As a person of faith, I believe that yesterday's school shooting in Tennessee was not only an act of evil in itself:  it was also the inevitable result of allowing inaccurate, untrue, deviant perspectives and "woke" opinions to deny and defy reality.  If one does that for long enough, eventually (I believe) one becomes mentally, spiritually and morally divorced from reality . . . with the result we saw yesterday.

If that opinion be politically incorrect, so be it.  I'm far from alone in holding it.  Indeed, some go considerably further than I do.  It's morally wrong to tar all transgender individuals with the same brush, I know . . . but in the light of yesterday's horror, it's entirely understandable that some do.

Let's hope and pray that such reactions don't spill over into violence in their turn.  Our society is sick enough as it is without returning evil for evil.


Monday, March 27, 2023

"The Future of Warfare is Devastation"


That's the opinion of retired Colonel Douglas Macgregor in an hour-long presentation.  The video recording is embedded below, but unfortunately I haven't been able to find a transcript online.  I also don't know when or where his speech was delivered, except that it was in "Carlisle".  Can any reader enlighten us in Comments, please?

I took the time to listen to the whole video, and found it insightful and thought-provoking.  It embodies many realities of modern warfare, some of which I experienced at first hand, others of which have arisen since my time in uniform but have been extensively discussed elsewhere.  I think you'll find it worth your time and attention.

After hearing that, I think I'm going to investigate Col. Macgregor's books as well.


The fundamental dishonesty of those in power


From Neil Oliver in Britain:

Who watches the watchers? Who guards the guards?

The question was posed by the Roman satirist Juvenal 2,000 years ago, but it has never been more relevant. It’s applied now to remind us of the need to keep a watchful eye on those in power.

This should be our paramount concern now, when lies and liars are everywhere.

. . .

It is as obvious as Boris Johnson’s estrangement from the truth that this tyranny should never have been allowed to evolve and that, since it has, we must not tolerate it a moment longer.

Decisions of importance must be made by those with skin in the game, but with no means to profit either directly or indirectly from the decisions they come to.

. . .

Here’s the thing: it’s long past time to watch the guards. What we need, all over the West and once and for all, is a changing of the guards.

There's much more at the link, and it's all worth reading.  If you prefer to listen, here's his weekly monologue on video.

Trouble is, in order to change the guards, we need to change the way in which the guards are chosen - because the present guards control it, and they're not about to surrender that control.  As comedian (and wise man) George Carlin put it (profanity alert!):

Neil Oliver is right - but so was George Carlin . . . so what's the way forward?

It's the "four boxes" conundrum all over again.  If the ballot box is corrupted, and the jury box is rigged, and the soap box is censored, that leaves only one box at our disposal.  No-one in his or her right mind wants to use that . . . but if we have to have a solution (and we do!), what's the alternative?  I have no comforting answer to that question.

Sadly, the lesson of history is that the final box may not be moral, and may not be satisfactory, but all too often it's been rendered inevitable by those who've crippled or disabled the first three.  That lesson appears to have been disregarded by each successive generation of self-focused, self-interested, self-centered leaders, who've all refused to learn from the fate of their predecessors.


Memes that made me laugh 152


Gathered from around the Internet over the past week.  Click any image for a larger view.

Sunday, March 26, 2023

Sunday morning music


Courtesy of a link at 357 Magnum, I was introduced to the music of German group Qntal.  They're an oddball ensemble, starting with musicians trained in the classical tradition but with a great deal of influence from what the group calls "Electro".  Their Web site says:

When Qntal first appeared on the scene with their previously unheard, bold mixture of medieval melodies and Electro back in 1992, they took the world by surprise. Of course people had heard medieval music before and were fairly familiar with electronic music, too. Combining them, though, was an unexpected novelty. To this day, Qntal are forerunners of a genre they themselves helped establish...

. . .

Sometimes, a start indeed is something magical. Something strange. Just like back then, all these years ago, when Syrah, Michael Popp and Ernst Horn founded this band. A truly unique project was born whose debut “Qntal I” already propelled the trio, exclusively coming from the serious shores of classical music, into a scene that back then didn’t even know it existed. Things are radically different today, of course. And still, Qntal remain the genres’ founding pioneers who managed to extract something truly original from two musical realms – a thoroughly unique voice.

I've selected a few of their songs at random this morning.  I'm still learning more about the group, so I can't claim these are representative of their best - they simply appealed to me.  We'll start with the song linked at 357 Magnum, "Monsieur's Departure".  If you need them, lyrics may be found here.

This one's titled "Before The World Was Made".

And here's "Nox Aeterna".

And finally, from their latest album, "Quis Est Deus?"  Lyrics are here.

An interesting collection.  I can't yet say for sure that I really like this group, but I certainly find their work interesting, particularly their blend of classical and electronic music traditions.  They've been hard at it for over two decades, which speaks to their staying power and fan base.


Saturday, March 25, 2023

Saturday Snippet: The Greek gods at Delphi


Mary Renault was an English writer who gained fame for being the first modern novelist to portray homosexuality in a positive light in her books.  She was utterly unlike today's gay activists with their in-your-face propaganda;  rather, she tried to portray homosexuality as a simple fact, a part of human existence that until then had been scorned and vilified in Western society.  She was a lady (in the pre-World-War sense), and wrote in that vein - no steamy sex scenes or raw, unfiltered physicality.

Unfortunately, that aspect of her work has tended to overshadow her eight absolutely magnificent historical novels about classical Greece, which are among the finest of their kind ever written.  I have them all, and re-read them at least every year or two.  I've loved them since my youth.  If historical novels appeal to you, these are truly masterworks that deserve your attention.

For this morning's Snippet, I've chosen her novel "The Mask of Apollo".

It tells the story of Nikeratos, an actor who finds himself caught up in the action and drama of the times, particularly concerning Syracuse and Athens.  It's a brilliant portrayal of Greek society, beliefs and attitudes, and is one of my favorites among her novels.  You can read a brief synopsis here, but I highly recommend reading the whole thing for yourself.  It repays attention.

I've chosen this excerpt to illustrate Greek attitudes towards the theater, and towards their gods:  but in particular, because it illustrates Mary Renault's ability to paint a scene with words, to penetrate beyond the obvious to the inner attitudes of her characters and the world they inhabited (very foreign to our modern eyes and way of thought).  Nikeratos and his friend and fellow actor, Anaxis, have traveled to Delphi to present a play (not yet selected by their sponsors) at a festival there.

Ask some poet to describe the awe of Delphi, and some philosopher to explain it. I work with the words of other men. I looked back down the valley, the olives winding and falling mile on mile to a rock-clipped blink of sea. Beyond a vast gulf of air were the highlands of Mount Korax, cloud-patched with sun and gloom; westward the iron cliffs of Kirphis; above us reared Parnassos, more felt than seen. Its head was hidden by its knees, the rock-towers of the Phaidriades, which themselves seemed to gore the sky. Truly, Apollo is the greatest of all chorus-masters. The town, with his temple in the midst, is tiny as a toy in all this vastness; yet all those titan heads stand around that and look towards it. They are the chorus round his altar; if he raised his arm they would sing a dithyramb. I don’t know any other deity who could bring off such a show. At Delphi, you don’t ask how they know it is the center of the earth.

I looked up the great steeps of the Phaidriades, which stand behind the theater like a skene reaching to heaven. “Look!” I said. “Eagles!”

“My dear Niko, they are as common here as doves. Do let us get to the inn while they have something left to eat. If this is your first visit, you need not tell the world.”

Next morning we looked over the theater. We were pleased to find not a bit of obsolete equipment anywhere; after the big earthquake of five years back, they had had to refit completely. There was still scaffolding round the temple, and the roof a makeshift of pinepoles and thatch; Apollo and the Earth Snake kept up their ancient war. We shouldered back through the town under the tall proud statues, past the treasure houses for the cities’ offerings, Anaxis waiting patiently while I tipped the guardians and gaped at all the gold. He squeezed past sightseers and guides and pilgrims, soldiers and priests and slaves, temple-sweepers with brooms and whores with fans; stalls selling lamps, ribbons, raisins, books of oracles, and sacred bayleaves for lucky dreams. Looking up and about, I thought it was like dwarfs playing on a stage designed for titans. I suppose it was still a small, solemn place when Xerxes’ army came to lift the gold, and they asked Apollo what to do. “Get out,” he said, “I can take care of my own.” They still show the rock-peak he hurled down on the Persians, blazing aloft the Phaidriades and yelling through the thunder. I bought, for keepsake, a little gilded bronze of the god drawing his bow. A pretty thing. The old statue in the temple, that is an Apollo to shoot straight. But the shops don’t copy it now; they say it is crude, and art must move with the times.

Presently came a slave to meet us, bidding us take wine with our choregos.

We were led to a fine painted house beside the Stadium, and saw at once that our sponsor was a syndicate. Three were Delphians; but by watching whom everyone looked at first, we guessed it was the fourth who was putting up the money. He was one Philiskos, an Asian Greek from Abydos. What with his clothes and his ivory fly-whisk, and Delphi being as full of gossip as a winter hive of bees, we added two and two. This was King Artaxerxes’ agent, playing host to the conference with Persian gold.

While sweets and civilities went round, we discussed the play. The citizens of Delphi weren’t mentioned from first to last; it was the delegates who must be pleased. It was my turn to direct and choose a role, and I had proposed Hippolytos with the Garland. It was as good as settled, when some little man, who I’ll swear only wanted to go home saying he had spoken, said it might give offense to the Athenians, by showing King Theseus in the wrong. We both assured them it was revived in Athens about one year in five, and was the surest hit in repertory. Too late; the damage was done, the panic started. At a peace conference, it went without saying that everyone would be looking for slights and insults. Helen in Egypt might affront the Pharaoh; Medea, the Corinthians; Alkestis, the Thessalians. Once or twice I stole a glance at Anaxis, meaning, “Let’s leave them at it; before they miss us we’ll be in Thebes.” But he had set his heart and hopes on this production. When I whispered, under cover of all the dickering, “Try offering them The Persians!” he looked down his nose and would not laugh.

From mere boredom I started dreaming, and dreams bring memories. Next time they paused to scratch their heads, I said, “Why not The Myrmidons?”

How often, if ever, you have seen this play depends upon where you live. It is a favorite in Thebes and well liked in Macedon. In Athens it is hardly ever revived; no sponsor likes to take the risk. Ever since Aischylos’ own day, some people have always disapproved; and you never know when they will get on the judges’ board. Demagogues have proclaimed that the love of man for youth is a relic of aristocracy (a politician will say anything, if it strikes where he wants to hit), and the last thing they want to hear is that the play is noble. They would rather those great avowals did not ring on so in the heart.

Today, however, it turned out to be just the thing. Having looked at it backwards, sideways and upside down, they could not find a single slur on anyone’s ancestors, gods or city.

We went our way, stuffed full of Persian sweets and almonds, cursing the waste of time but satisfied with the outcome. Anaxis was content with his roles. I, being protagonist, would do Achilles; but Patroklos has some lovely lines, and so has Briseis later. Krantor would do Odysseus and the other odd parts. “And,” said Anaxis, “I suppose Apollo in the prologue?”

Walking as we talked, we had come out on top of the theater seats, and were gazing over the temple roof at the mountains. I said, “No, I’ll take Apollo myself.”

Anaxis raised his brows. “Do you want to? It’s a very quick change. Don’t forget Apollo is flown on; you’ll have the harness to get rid of.”

“I’ve a fancy for it. One’s not in Delphi every day. Call it my service to the god.”

That evening we were summoned back to meet the chorus-master, the flute-player and the skene-painter. The painter, Hagnon, was an old friend from Athens. Between rehearsals, I stayed to chat with him while he painted trophies-of-arms on the reveal and Greek tents on the flats. From time to time he would shout for his man to bring him ladder or paint, or shift his scaffolding, complaining that the fellow was never at call. He was lanky and spindle-shanked, with a straggling yellow beard; once I caught him staring at me, and it stirred some memory I could not place; but it was clear he would stare at anything rather than work, and I thought no more of it. Hagnon had had to take him on at Delphi, having come to do murals in a private house and getting this contract afterwards.

Rehearsals went smoothly. The chorus of Myrmidons were fine well-built men and could sing as well. I found a saddler to make me a flying-harness. The crane-man weighed me for the counterweight; finding him skillful, I only did my fly-in once with him, and rehearsed the prologue from the god-walk.

I enjoyed working on The Myrmidons. I had steeped my soul in it when young, and it still moved me. I have heard Patroklos better done—Anaxis had technique enough to sound young, but fell short of charm—still he did bring out the character’s goodness, without which nothing makes sense.

Delphi was filling up every day. Delegates were arriving, and, as Anaxis told me, all kinds of agents to watch the delegates, sent by the opposition in their various cities, their secret allies in rival cities, the interested kings and tyrants, and I don’t know whom. I was more amused by the high-priced hetairas who had come in from other towns and set up house to the rage of the Delphi girls; they would make a better audience than all these peace-traders. Leaving Anaxis to smell about, I went walking on the thymy hillsides or through the olive groves, hearing for chorus the cicadas and mountain birds, while I ran over this speech or that. One day Anaxis came bustling up to say that the envoy of Dionysios had come at last, and bettered our hopes by being some great personage and the tyrant’s kin. My mind was on the placing of a breath-pause, and the name went straight out of my head.

At my request, Hagnon was painting the masks for the principals; the local mask-maker was fit only for chorus work, but Hagnon worked wonders with his carving, as a good painter can. He had done me a fine Achilles, and was working on Patroklos. The Apollo was not yet carved.

Ever since Lamprias died and his widow sold up his things, I had kept the mask of Pheidias hanging, in a box like a little shrine, on the wall of my room in Athens. Remembering Phigeleia, before every contest I would wreathe it and make some offering. There was no good reason why I should have brought it with me—one can always find a friend to mind one’s things when touring—yet some reason had seemed good, and it was on the table at my lodging. That evening, when the lamp was lit and the shadows moved with the flame, it seemed to look straight at me with eyes inside its eyeholes, as if to say, “Nikeratos, you have brought me home. Dionysos’ winter reign at Delphi is past and gone. Have you not heard my music on Parnassos? I should like to smell skene-paint again.”

It gave me a start. I sat down at the pinewood table, chin in hand, as my father had taught me to do before a mask, when one wants to think oneself into it.

“Glorious Apollo,” I said presently, “are you sure? Wouldn’t you like your face to be more in fashion? You could have anything—a solid-gold wreath, jeweled earrings—it’s nothing to the backers here. And they’ll be at the dress rehearsal.”

A night breeze blew in from the heights of Korax; the lamp flame quivered; Apollo looked at me with dark lidless eyes. “At Phigeleia,” he said, “you promised to give me something. Have I asked for anything before?”

In the morning, I took it to the light. The paint was dull and worn, but the carving perfect. Hagnon was in the theater, touching up; I opened the box, and asked him what he thought.

He looked long in silence, frowning and biting his lips. I waited for him to say the usual things: stiff, harsh, primitive. But he looked up as if some pain had griped him, and said, “Oh, God, what was it like when men had certainty like that?”

“God knows,” I said. “I’ll wear it and see what comes to me. Can you repaint it?”

“Oh, yes, of course. I can touch it up and tone it down, till from in front you’d hardly tell it from a modern one. Listen, Niko. I’ll buy you a new one and paint it free. Just give me this and we’re square.”

“No, I meant can you do it as it was?”

He lifted it out, turning it in his hand and scratching the paint with his finger. “I can try,” he said. “God help me. Leave it with me.”

He put it by, and hauled his ladder along the skene. I gave him a hand, asking where his man had got to. “I turned him out, and good riddance. It’s quicker to work alone. Bone-idle, sullen, and drunk half the time. Niko, did you ever hire him?”

“Not I, by the dog.”

“When I paid him off, he said he supposed it was your doing.”

“Mine? What could he mean? It’s true, there was some look about him … What is his name?”

“Meidias … You do know him, then?”

I told the story. I daresay in those days it would have pleased me to see him now; you would think he had been a seedy, shiftless day-laborer all his life. Maybe I might still have known him without a beard; but I think it was his legs had jogged my memory. Who else would have believed that after all these years, having got where I was, I would stoop to rob him of his wretched pittance? I suppose it was what he would have done himself.

“Well,” I thought, “I’ve looked my last on him now.” Which indeed was true.

Next day Hagnon did not come to the theater. Someone said he was shut in his room and would not open; he did not sound sick; he must have company in bed. At evening, he met me in the wineshop. “The paint’s not set,” he said, “but come and see.”

He had propped the mask on a table with a lamp before it. I gazed in silence, while the eyes of Apollo Longsight, full of unplumbed darkness, stared out beyond us. We had served his turn. He had come back to his mountain lair, like a snake in springtime, to have his youth renewed.

My long quiet made Hagnon uneasy. “The room’s too small. I should have shown it you in the theater.”

I said, “Did you do this, or did he do it himself?”

“I’ll tell you what I did. I found it was a day for the oracle; so I sacrificed, and took this with me, and went down to the cave.”

I stared. He looked rather shamefaced. “It was just to get the feel. But one must ask something, so I asked which attributes the god’s face should show; and the Pythia answered—quite clearly, I could hear it without the priest interpreting—‘Pythian Apollo.’ So I went home and started work.”

“Apollo Loxias,” I said. Before, rubbed down almost to bare wood, it had seemed to show only the Olympian, balanced and clear. But poring in the faded lines of mouth and eye and nostril, Hagnon had found lost curves and shadows. A shiver ran down my neck. Here was the double-tongued, whose words move to their meaning like a serpent in a reed-bed, coil and countercoil; how can a man tell all his mind to children, or a god to men?

Presently I asked Hagnon what the Pythia had been like. He answered, “Like weathered rocks. She had lost her teeth, and under the drug she dribbled. But the fact is, I didn’t look at her long. In the back of the cave, behind the tripod, is a crack running into the darkness; and in its mouth is a seven-foot Apollo cast in gold, with eyes of lapis and agate. It must go back beyond the Persian Wars; it has that secret smile. I couldn’t take my eyes from it. But I heard what she said.”

I sent out for some wine, and tried to make him take the price of his time; but he said it would be bad luck. Before we drank, we both tipped our cups before the mask.

I asked him why, if these old forms moved him so, he still worked in the current style. “Just put me back,” he said, “in the glorious age of Perikles, and dose me with Lethe water, to unknow what I know. Once men deserved such gods. And where are they now? They bled to death on battlefields, black with flies; or starved in the siege, being too good to rob their neighbors. Or they sailed off to Sicily singing paeans, and left their bones there in sunken ships, or in the fever swamps or the slave-quarries. If they got home alive, the Thirty Tyrants murdered them. Or if they survived all that, they grew old in dusty corners, mocked by their grandsons, when to speak of greatness was to be a voice from the dead. They’re all gone now; and here are you and I, who know just what became of them. What will you do with that mask, Niko, when you have it on?”

“Well may you ask. At least I’ll play in Aischylos, which is what it was made for. Perhaps it will teach me something.”

The lamp smoked, and Hagnon trimmed it. As he pricked up the wick, there was a flicker on the face of Loxias, and it seemed that the dark side smiled.

I hope you enjoyed that excerpt as much as I enjoyed (and still enjoy) the whole book.  I can't recommend her historical novels too highly.  They've recently been republished in e-book format, and have never been out of print, as far as I know.  You'll find them on Amazon.


Friday, March 24, 2023

A bicycle theft preventer


This looks like it might have possibilities . . .

"Thank you, sir.  Have a nice day.  You're not a virgin anymore."


Keep you and yours safe. That's your ONLY job.


Greg Ellifritz, whom we've met in these pages on numerous occasions, has some vitally important advice for civilian firearms carriers in the face of street and gang shooting incidents in public.

I’ve received several emails similar to this one lately.

“Let’s say I’m at a place of business or some other public place and a scuffle breaks out resulting in shots fired such as at Polaris this week or another mall last week or in front of a bar last night. Last night, 15 shots were fired. Being armed competently what should I do? What would you do?”

I’m going to answer this one simply and directly.  You off-duty cops and legally armed citizens have exactly one role in this situation:  Make sure you and your family/friends don’t get shot.  That’s it.  End of lesson.

When I hear shots nearby, I immediately get down on the ground or behind cover.  I assess where the shots are coming from and I plan a path of retreat in the opposite direction, ideally moving between large pieces of cover as I make my escape.  That’s it.  There is absolutely nothing else you should do.

These are young thugs fighting other young thugs.  These are gang bangers fighting other gang bangers.  These are drunken idiots who decide to whip out a pistol when they are insulted.  None of those situations involves you in any way, even if you are in danger of catching a stray round.

They don’t want to shoot you.  The only way you will get hit is by accident.  Don’t go looking for trouble.  Don’t try to intervene.  There is no “innocent third party” to protect.  Let the dumbshits shoot each other.  You don’t have to play their game.

. . .

Don’t involve yourself in this stupidity.  It will only harm you in the long term.  If you intervene, you will either get shot by the thugs, shot by the cops, sued by the person you shoot, or criminally arrested.  If that doesn’t happen and you make a statement to the cops  you take the chance of being  hunted down by the arrested party’s crew at a future date before trial.

Say it again with me:  “Not your people, not your problem.”

There's more at the link

That's critical in today's violent urban environment.  Don't inject yourself into the problem unless you absolutely have to - meaning, to defend yourself and/or your loved ones from others trying to harm you/them.  I've seen and heard too many wannabe Rambo's asserting that they'd jump in to stop a bad guy . . . but they ignore the very real dangers in doing so.  Even if they survive unhurt, and hit the "bad guy":

  • What if he isn't the bad guy, but trying to defend himself?  How do you know?
  • What if your bullets hit an innocent bystander, either directly or by ricochet?
  • What if the cops come running in response to a call, see you with a gun, and assume you're the bad guy?  A "good guy" was shot and killed by cops doing just that, not so long ago.
  • What if your name ends up in the headlines, and the bad guy's buddies decide that revenge is in order?
  • What if you're summoned to give evidence, and the bad guy decides he doesn't want you testifying, and asks his buddies to make sure of that?
There are many other disadvantages most people never consider.  Unless you absolutely have no other choice, stay out of a potentially lethal confrontation.  That's not being cowardly - it's common sense.

(And to those who say, "Oh, but what if you could stop a rape or an assault, but don't, and an innocent victim gets hurt?", I can only say:  re-read what I said above.  Perhaps you may find yourself in a position to do something good, something heroic, like that, without risking your family in the process - but remember the potential consequences, and make really sure you're ready to face them before you act.  This isn't the frontier, and it isn't the jungle, both places where the rule of law is conspicuous by its absence.  If you interject yourself into a situation where deadly force is in use, that force can kill you or your loved ones as easily as anyone else.)


Heads-up on a very serious eye danger


If you use eyedrops for lubrication or itchiness, you need to be aware that a very serious health problem has arisen concerning some brands.  So far it's killed three people, blinded eight, and led to four persons needing to have an eyeball surgically removed.

Click the image below for a larger view, or click here to be taken to the original tweet.

The New York Post reports:

The drops — manufactured in India — are blamed for a strain of Pseudomonas aeruginosa that “had never been reported in the United States prior to this outbreak,” the CDC said.

It is also “extensively drug-resistant,” the center warned.

The CDC noted that “patients reported over 10 different brands of artificial tears and some patients used multiple brands” — but EzriCare Artificial Tears “was the brand most commonly reported.” 

“This was the only common artificial tears product identified across the four healthcare facility clusters,” the warning stated.

“Patients and healthcare providers should immediately stop the use of EzriCare Artificial Tears,” the agency said.

“Patients who have used EzriCare or Delsam Pharma’s artificial tears and who have signs or symptoms of an eye infection should seek medical care immediately.”

Users “not experiencing any signs or symptoms of infection” do not need to seek medical care, but should look out for symptoms including blurred vision, redness or feeling like something is in the eye as well as “yellow, green, or clear discharge from the eye.”

There's more at the link.

Note that it's not just the named brands of eyedrops that may carry a risk of infection.  Those manufacturers also label their product for other vendors, and unless you check very carefully, you may not know that the latter come from the same factory.

I'm taking this very seriously, as I use eyedrops for lubrication.  I hope none of my readers have been affected.