Prepared Citizens

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

  • Previous Posts

  • Michael Osterholm Quotes:

    “What we need to be doing now is the basic planning of how we get our communities through 12 to 18 months of a pandemic.”

    “Ninety-five out of 100 will live. But with the nation in crisis, will we have food and water? Are we going to have police and security? Will people come to work at all?”

    “It's the perfect setup. Then you put air travel in and it could be around the world overnight.”

    “We can predict now 12 to 18 months of stress of watching loved ones die, of wondering if you are going to have food on the table the next day. Those are all things that are going to mean that we are going to have to plan -- unlike any other crisis that we have had in literally the last 80-some years in this country.”

  • US Health and Human Services

    Secretary Michael Leavitt

    "If there is one message on pandemic preparedness that I could leave today that you would remember, it would be this:

    Any community that fails to prepare with the expectation that the federal government or for that matter the state government will be able to step forward and come to their rescue at the final hour will be tragically wrong,

    not because government will lack a will, not because we lack a collective wallet, but because there is no way that you can respond to every hometown in America at the same time."
  • Joseph C. Napoli, MD of Resiliency LLC

    "I think a new meaning is evolving for resiliency and resilience.

    In some contexts the words are being used to mean the strength to resist being impacted by an adverse event rather than either the “capacity to rebound” or “act of rebounding” from adversity.

    Therefore, resiliency and resilience appear to be assuming the meaning of fortitude, that is, “the strength or firmness of mind that enables a person to encounter danger with coolness and courage or to bear pain or adversity without despondency” as defined in the Webster’s Third New International Dictionary.

    If so, we are coming full circle with science accepting a religious moral virtue – fortitude – as written in the Bible’s Book of Wisdom"

  • Faith Based Resources

    John Piper
    Jonathan Edwards
    Pink-Saving Faith
    Pink-Christian Ethics

    "Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves"
    (2 Corinthians 13:5).

    Why Faith Groups Must Care

    When the Darkness Will Not Lift by John Piper


    Be Not Afraid
    Overcoming the fear of Death
    by Johann Christoph Arnold

    While I am not a professional journalist, I do embrace the code of ethics put forth by the Society of Professional Journalists and the statement of purpose by the Association of Health Care Journalists and above all else I strive to "do no harm".

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  • Definitions

    from Wikipedia

    Pandemic Influenza

    An influenza pandemic is an epidemic of the influenza virus that spreads on a worldwide scale and infects a large proportion of the human population.

    In contrast to the regular seasonal epidemics of influenza, these pandemics occur irregularly, with the 1918 Spanish flu the most serious pandemic in recent history.

    Pandemics can cause high levels of mortality, with the Spanish influenza being responsible for the deaths of over 50 million people.

    There have been about 3 influenza pandemics in each century for the last 300 years. The most recent ones were the Asian Flu in 1957 and the Hong Kong Flu in 1968.

    Seasonal Influenza

    Flu season is the portion of the year in which there is a regular outbreak in flu cases.

    It occurs during the cold half of the year in each hemisphere.

    Flu activity can sometimes be predicted and even tracked geographically. While the beginning of major flu activity in each season varies by location, in any specific location these minor epidemics usually take about 3 weeks to peak and another 3 weeks to significantly diminish.

    Individual cases of the flu however, usually only last a few days. In some countries such as Japan and China, infected persons sometimes wear a surgical mask out of respect for others.

    Avian (Bird) Flu
    Avian influenza,

    sometimes Avian flu, and commonly Bird flu refers to "influenza caused by viruses adapted to birds."

    "Bird flu" is a phrase similar to "Swine flu", "Dog flu", "Horse flu", or "Human flu" in that it refers to an illness caused by any of many different strains of influenza viruses that have adapted to a specific host.

    All known viruses that cause influenza in birds belong to the species: Influenza A virus.

    All subtypes (but not all strains of all subtypes) of Influenza A virus are adapted to birds, which is why for many purposes avian flu virus is the Influenza A virus (note that the "A" does not stand for "avian").
    Adaptation is non-exclusive.

    Being adapted towards a particular species does not preclude adaptations, or partial adaptations, towards infecting different species.

    In this way strains of influenza viruses are adapted to multiple species, though may be preferential towards a particular host.

    For example, viruses responsible for influenza pandemics are adapted to both humans and birds.

    Recent influenza research into the genes of the Spanish Flu virus shows it to have genes adapted to both birds and humans; with more of its genes from birds than less deadly later pandemic strains.

    H5N1 Strain

    Influenza A virus subtype H5N1, also known as A(H5N1) or simply H5N1, is a subtype of the Influenza A virus which can cause illness in humans and many other animal species.

    A bird-adapted strain of H5N1, called HPAI A(H5N1) for "highly pathogenic avian influenza virus of type A of subtype H5N1", is the causative agent of H5N1 flu, commonly known as "avian influenza" or "bird flu".

    It is enzootic in many bird populations, especially in Southeast Asia. One strain of HPAI A(H5N1) is spreading globally after first appearing in Asia.

    It is epizootic (an epidemic in nonhumans) and panzootic (affecting animals of many species, especially over a wide area), killing tens of millions of birds and spurring the culling of hundreds of millions of others to stem its spread.

    Most references to "bird flu" and H5N1 in the popular media refer to this strain.

    As of the July 25, 2008 FAO Avian Influenza Disease Emergency Situation Update, H5N1 pathogenicity is continuing to gradually rise in wild birds in endemic areas but the avian influenza disease situation in farmed birds is being held in check by vaccination.

    Eleven outbreaks of H5N1 were reported worldwide in June 2008 in five countries (China, Egypt, Indonesia, Pakistan and Vietnam) compared to 65 outbreaks in June 2006 and 55 in June 2007.

    The "global HPAI situation can be said to have improved markedly in the first half of 2008 [but] cases of HPAI are still underestimated and underreported in many countries because of limitations in country disease surveillance systems".

    Pandemic Severity Index

    The Pandemic Severity Index (PSI) is a proposed classification scale for reporting the severity of influenza pandemics in the United States.

    The PSI was accompanied by a set of guidelines intended to help communicate appropriate actions for communities to follow in potential pandemic situations. [1]

    Released by the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on February 1, 2007, the PSI was designed to resemble the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale

    From the Massachusetts Health and Human Services


    refers to separating people who are ill from other people to prevent the spread of a communicable disease.


    refers to separating and restricting the movement of people who have been exposed to a communicable disease and are not yet ill.
  • Additional Information

    Creative Commons License
    Prepared Citizens by Catherine "Jackie" Mitchell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.
    Based on a work at

    The posts on this site are subject to change. Mostly due to errors in spelling or grammar. I never said I am a professional journalist. I have new appreciation for the job that they do. Also, not all comments made by others will make it onto this site. Comments that advertise a commercial product do not get posted most of the time.

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  • standingfirm

The courage to stand

Posted by preparedcitizens on September 7, 2008

I have been both sinner and saint, much like everyone else who walks the earth today. After living for almost 49 years now I have had many experiences to look back on which help me to discern the right way to go. Lining these experiences up with the Word of God I can see why some were outright disasters and why some have given me some of the greatest joy even though they were the hardest to endure. I am not so special, we all have these events in our lives.

I was a senior in high school for one memorable learning experience. I loved being goalie of our soccer team. I was coming off some rough patches in my life and trying to settle my life down into a pattern the resembled some normalcy. I did not want to make waves OR stand out in a crowd. It must be that there are some folks that will always march to the tune of a different drummer no matter what they think that they want :)

I remember the bus ride just like it was yesterday. We were coming back from a soccer game, the entire team was on the bus. I cannot remember if we won or lost that day but I know that we were all pretty upbeat and rowdy. This particular day we were on the highway outside of Danvers MA. I always had a foreboding feeling when I looked up at the “castle on the hill”. I remembered its halls, its smells, the sounds of madness, and the feeling of those with power preying on those without – and I remember taking a stand there and not being able to do so – I was powerless and easily silenced. Those were very dark days for me. The days without insurance and still caught up in a system not of my own choosing. A system that molded and modeled behavior that was both good and bad. I needed to break away and this particular day on the bus I was reminded of all of this. And worse I was among my peers who did not know of what I had been through and what I was still trying to overcome. They new me simply as a great goalie and some looked up to. What I had to say was going to burst that bubble. So why I spoke out that day I do not know. I simply new that I could not keep silent while we passed by the “castle on the hill”.

I remember the jeers and the jokes. I knew that these kids, my peers, did not understand. I knew what they were doing and why they had to make themselves feel so much stronger by preying upon the weak. It was more than I could bear.

I still remembered the faces of the people who were still there and would be – until the castle was destroyed. They were imprisoned, not by the walls, but by their own minds. By their biochemically troubled brains and the drugs used to treat all of us at the time. They did not have the tools to break out of their prison. The unfairness of it all still grieves me to this day. I remember having pleasant conversations with people who would interrupt the flow in order to talk to the voices in their head – sometimes even screaming because what those voices were saying was not pleasant. I have not experienced that myself – and I am so thankful for that because it looks so hard to bear.

What have they done to be cursed so much in this life? I remember the Haldol shuffle, the thorazine drooling, the screams of the tormented, the blood on the floor of those so depressed that they make tools to cut their own wrist. I remembered all of this on the bus that day. It all came back in a flash.

The catcalls, the jokes, the laughing, these were tortured souls that they were making fun of.

I don’t remember conciously making the choice but I remember standing up that day. I stood up and told my peers what it was like to be a patient in “the castle”. I stood up and told the silent bus of my peers that it is the grace of God that has kept them from walking its halls as one without the power to advocate for yourself. It is the grace of God that allowed them to not endure being locked in with the guard who had all the power and with lust in his heart and there is nothing you can do but endure, even though you were already enduring so much. I told them that it is the grace of God that allowed them clarity of mind and hope for the future while those in “the castle” have had their hope stripped away.

I remember the silence of the rest of the trip back to the high school. I didn’t know what the repercussions were going to be from my stand. I didn’t care. Deep down I knew that I had to do what I did. I could not be silent under such a vicious, uncaring, and unfair attack.

I didn’t know that there was someone else on the bus that day who was cringing, but in silence. I remember thinking at the time that the whole school was going to know my horrible secret but I knew that I had done the right thing, that I could bear whatever would come because I had already been through the worst part of it – I had endured being there.

I felt a tap on my shoulder as we were entering the school. A fellow team mate, the quietest girl on the squad, came up to me and gave me a big hug. She was visibly upset. Her brother was currently in “the castle”. She knew that I had been there too. What she saw in me that day was something that I never intended. She saw the hope.

I remember going to her house after school and meeting her mother. Her mother had heard the story of the bus ride. All that I had endured was worth it because of this one bus ride and this one family. All the pain and sorrow was erased because I stood up that day. I was freed from my own shame, my own captivity, because I stood up. I had a very private pat on the back – it wasn’t glory that I sought and I don’t seek it now.

The reason that I write this is that we all have our opportunities for courageous stands. We all have our moments where we can choose to sit and be silent and go along with the crowd – I have done that too. And we have our moments where we find ourselves standing up for ideas and principles that are greater than ourselves. And it was that day on the bus when I fully understood what is meant in the Bible that we will be given the words to speak when the time comes. There is a power, a clarity, and a wisdom that comes not from our mind but from our soul.

I am sure that in the days ahead we will all have the opportunity to speak from deep wells. What I am saying is don’t let the opportunity pass by you. When you give voice to what comes from within there is a blessing, a peace, a joy, that is not like anything that we can manufacture ourselves. When you stand for what is right, when you stand up for others, when you are courageous beyond what you yourself think that you can bear and you look to God to strengthen you because you know you cannot go it alone, you will be blessed like you never have been before.

Life can be scary and people can threaten us. Others can influence us in ways that we are not proud of. When we fail in this way we know it too. Something deep within challenges us to do better next time. My prayer is that we can all be people of courage who will stand for what is right and will speak out when we encounter what is wrong – even when that may threaten all that we have and hold dear to us. I pray for more time to prepare this nation for what is ahead and I pray for our leaders in government so that they too have the courage to speak what is right to speak and the wisdom and clarity to know the difference. I pray that they don’t keep silent for the wrong reasons. I pray that a tsunami of caring, hope, and love, washes over this nation so that we all have an opportunity to mount a defense, even a small one, to the trouble ahead.

This is the first time that we can prepare for a pandemic in advance. I know that it is difficult to see our way through the rights and wrongs of how to proceed in announcing a threat that exists which we do not know when will occur. I know how difficult it is to go door to door, to wear a t-shirt, to be a “fearmongerer” even though it is not fear for fears sake – it is for our good.

I do know that it is right to give people all the information so that they can make informed decisions about their own future. I pray that every day men and women step forward because they too know that the only way to change this, to help others to see what is ahead, is to stand up in courage now.

Stand up on the bus and speak the words that are right to speak and I thank you from my own deep wells if you do.

edited to add: [The reason that I have written such a personal post is mainly twofold. The first reason is that every one of us can have a role in helping others no matter what our background is. We all bring life experience to the table that will benefit another along the way. The other reason is that I was asked to be the pandemic coordinator for my town and I did not think that that would be wise for me, even though I wanted to do so, because of the experiences that I bring to the table. The town deserves more and we have that in our current leaders. I thought it best to not take a chance on starting something that I could not finish thereby doing harm. This blog is the outpouring of my heart and I hope that it will help people in Monson, MA and beyond. “Onward and upward” -Jackie]

2 Responses to “The courage to stand”

  1. ReadyMom said

    Jackie … I am left speechless by your story. By the bearing of your soul and heart in that post. You have certainly given all by sharing that story.

    Yes, there are days when being moved to speak is stronger than the hesitation. May your story move others and give them the strength to speak and help others, as well. -k

  2. preparedcitizens said

    Thank you Readymom.

    I had written to someone about this post trying to explain why I wrote it.

    Here goes…

    How do I make the point that what little I have done in this fight for awareness…how much more can others do? I am so weak, and I come from such a weak position, others with louder voices can do so much more. Those with true leadership skills and minds so much greater than mine, look at what can be accomplished if and when we stand up for what is right. Our fears are real but altogether illusion when we trust in the right source of our strength.

    I don’t know how to say it any louder or clearer. One little voice can do so much to help, I hope others raise theirs.

    Love and hugs,

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