By Hannah Reich Berman
What a pity it is that more people do not qualify for work in a think tank. It is my belief that the world might benefit if I were hired to participate in one of those, because I have a solution for one of our current problems.
I have no idea what my IQ is. I do not know if I am of average intelligence, above average, or even below average. What I do know is that my mind is always working and I always have an idea about one thing or another. As a kid, when I would come up with some harebrained scheme, my father would affectionately say that my brain was working overtime. I knew that he loved me but I also knew that he was not giving me a compliment. He said it jokingly and it was all in good fun. Nevertheless, the ideas kept coming because that is how I operate. Or, as they say in today’s lingo, that is how I roll!
Until recently, most of us felt that ISIS was the single biggest threat facing humanity. Initially, some naively thought that these terrorists were no threat to us here in the States. But that notion ended when reports surfaced indicating that these crazies were indeed a threat to us. Even our nation’s most famous golfer–no, not Jack Nicklaus or Tiger Woods; I refer to Barack Obama–was eventually forced to acknowledge that we had underestimated the threat. Our fearless leader often says “we” when he should be saying “I.” No doubt he does this because it makes him feel that it is not he alone who may be failing to keep us safe. Nobody can be 100 percent sure what motivates him to use the plural pronoun instead of the singular, but that is my best guess.
After those worrisome reports surfaced, and after Obama announced that we “might” actually be in some danger after all, people began to worry. Some worried more than others, but certainly anyone with a brain gave it some thought. Our focus, however, has recently shifted as we now have another potential disaster to consider: the Ebola virus. Our national bird is the bald eagle, but, since we Americans so often put our collective heads in the sand, the ostrich might be a more appropriate choice. People thought that because Ebola was in West Africa, it was probably not much of a threat, so long as we stayed away from that continent. It did not take long for most folks to realize that, with the prevalence of air travel, we might have reason to be concerned.
Soon there were reports of nurses right here in the United States who have contracted the deadly disease. Immediately following those reports, a group of anonymous nurses united and made the following claims: there were no proper procedures in place at their hospitals, no acceptable precautions taken for the safety of health-care workers who came into contact with Ebola patients, and no plans in place for treatment. To bolster those claims, there are currently several American citizens suffering from the virus and many more (including a dog) now in quarantine. In quarantine are people who may have been exposed but are uncertain if they have the disease.
The CDC publicly acknowledged that it had made a boo-boo. Someone there gave the OK to a nurse with a low-grade fever to get on a plane even after she told them repeatedly that she had been exposed to an Ebola patient. The CDC has an excellent track record and has long been a beacon of light in the darkness that we know as disease, but this error has set the organization on its ear. And now the hunt is on to find that nurse’s fellow passengers and every person who flew on that same aircraft on the four successive flights that it made since then. Oy! This is one massive challenge, and there must be a lot of worried people out there. The airplane is currently in dry dock, being decontaminated. Still, it is unlikely that anyone would want to fly on that plane. If it were up to me, I would burn the thing. A little extreme, maybe, but that is how I roll!
Returning to the ISIS problem, I have thoughts on how to deal with them, but I have to keep these thoughts to myself lest somebody think that I am, G‑d forbid, advocating biological warfare. It does, however, occur to me that the members of that organization are so busy killing people that they might not get to read newspapers or listen to news broadcasts. Since their stated objective appears to be to conquer people everywhere, they might inadvertently find themselves setting up more terrorist-training camps in far-flung places such as Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Liberia, and Guinea, countries were Ebola is rampant. It might be similar to the Roach Motel–their recruits will check in but they will not check out!
It is unlikely that these killers in Syria, Iraq, and anywhere else are set up in luxury suites. Chances are that they live in very close quarters and, that being the case, what if they decide to march into West Africa? They might inadvertently eliminate many of their own members. While we would still have to deal with the Ebola threat, the problem of ISIS would be solved or vastly reduced!
Dad was right all those years ago when he said that my brain worked overtime. Apparently it still does. As a youngster, I was not apologetic for my bizarre schemes, most of which, I confess, went awry, and nothing has changed, because I am not apologizing for this idea either. It is not a plan, it is just an idea, a “what if” scenario.
Unfortunately, I am not as all-competent in the ideas department as I like to think, because I have no clue as to how to eliminate the dreaded illness that has taken so many lives. But I enjoy my little fantasy about how certain threats might be reduced.
My father, rest his soul, would have had a picnic with this idea of mine. If only I could be hired to sit in a think tank!
Hannah Berman lives in Woodmere and is a licensed real-estate broker associated with Marjorie Hausman Realty. She can be reached at or 516-902-3733.


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