Social Distancing in Perilous Times

Social distancing, not immune

Social distancing is nothing new, what is new is that now it applies to people who never experienced it before. Many people have already been isolated; some from disease, some from disability, and others because their spouses and friends have died. However, now everyone (who keeps the rules) can experience what these people have already experienced.

Will it make people…

  • More understanding of the less fortunate?
  • Less critical of other people?
  • Aware of what it feels like to be ‘stuck at home?’

And for those who are in the categories above…

  • Kinder towards those who are experiencing these things for the first time?
  • Understand, rather than think ‘now you know what it feels like?’
  • Offer help?

Interesting article on Wired.
https://www.wired.com/story/coronavirus-covid-19-isolation-psychology/

Social distancing and COVID 19 dominate the news

Most of us are weary of hearing nothing else, but we watch, listen, and try to understand.

As the article on ‘Wired’ states, “depression and anxiety are kissing cousins.”

What is known about the virus is not much more than it was at the start… see a previous post https://www.susanprestonauthor.com/coronavirus-what-do-we-know/

Talking, via video conferencing with friends overseas, it seems that compared to them Western Australia has enacted much stricter rules. But with a degree of compassion.

A German cruise ship which has been refused entry to several ports was finally granted access, under strict conditions, to Fremantle port.

Passengers had made signs saying ‘Thank you Fremantle,’ as well as ‘We love Fremantle.”

What now?

Like circling sharks, several cruise ships have been travelling up and down the West Australian coast. However, some have anchored in Gage Roads waiting.

The situation here changes daily. Who could fail to feel sorry for the passengers on these expensive world cruises, who are denied entry at most ports.

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2020/mar/25/cruise-ship-passengers-to-be-quarantined-on-rottnest-island-in-western-australia

Then it changed, and   two private hospitals are now caring for some of the passengers taken from the ship.

Other ‘venues’ have been proposed.

Some defy the order for social distancing

risk to healthcare workers


And have led to the closure of beaches, the frustration of authorities, and put others in danger.

If you ignore the rules and contract this virus, you are putting a strain on the hospital system. You are also costing the few remaining tax payers their valuable tax dollars, which would be better used in prevention, or finding a solution. In addition you are putting the lives/health of our healthcare and emergency workers at risk.

Danger of social isolation

Unless we make an effort to keep in touch we will become ‘stay-at-home’ shut-ins. Already, because of busy lifestyles the elderly are often forgotten. With people working at least one job, up until recently at any rate, there never seemed to be time for visiting elderly family members. What happens now? And what happens if the elderly person is not a relative?

What can we, who are used to being isolated do to help?

  • Email
  • Phone calls
    • Ask if the person needs any shopping done.
  • Send a card, or leave one in their mailbox.
  • Leave a small food parcel on the doorstep of someone you know is isolated.

Don’t forget

This virus, and the ‘flu which will follow it, does not only target old people. Young people are at risk, so are children and in a rare case, an infant in Illinois has died after testing positive. https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/world/covid-19-united-states-rare-case-us-infant-dies-coronavirus-12586822

May the parents find comfort.

And may you all find peace

Susan

Cleansing, ethnic or otherwise

result of cleansing

The term ethnic cleansing to denote over a hundred years of clearing Scots from their land is a phrase rejected by those who see Scotland’s ills issuing from its weather, strange culinary habits, an odd language, and a people a little too inclined to be chippy.

This excellent article is from ‘The Grouse Beater.’ Given all that is happening in the UK post-Brexit, maybe it is time to look at the history.

Posted on April 21, 2018by Grouse Beater

508

Vast tracts of the Highlands offer arable land, fit for modern farming methods

If clearing people from their land by force is not cleansing, what is it?

The term ethnic cleansing to denote over a hundred years of clearing Scots from their land is a phrase rejected by those who see Scotland’s ills issuing from its weather, strange culinary habits, an odd language, and a people a little too inclined to be chippy. Alba, it seems, is full of vexatious people who do nothing but complain.

Using ‘cleansing’ is condemned as out of context, erroneously contemporaneous, too emotional because it was often Scot against Scot that did the dirty work.

Well, I have news for slimy proselytisers. It was Jewish guards given temporary preferment who hustled Jews to the gas chambers, less their belongings and clothes. They had no choice. It was do or die. Who would dare not call that barbarity a cleansing?

Evictions, deportation in all weathers cause deaths, especially of children, pregnant mothers and the elderly. Many Scots died from the vicissitudes that befell them, some from losing their wits, and more perished on the emigrant ships.

After the battle of Culloden – its repercussions I explain later – British rule arrived with a vengeance. New laws and taxes were imposed on Scotland leaving only the most rebellious prepared to protest. Clan chiefs found themselves in the invidious position of being landlords forced to report on their clan’s behaviour monthly to prove they were loyal to the British Crown and keeping the peace.

Colonial power always avers it’s for your own good

Read the rest of the article/essay https://grousebeater.wordpress.com/2018/04/21/the-sorrow-and-the-shame/

Who knows what kind of world we will have when all this ‘virus’ and pandemic panic is over. Let’s take this time to review our past.

Susan

Coronavirus – what do we know

Coronavirus threat

The first death from ‘the’ coronavirus has just been recorded in Western Australia First Australian death

The man was in the same hospital I was in last week. Am I panicking? No. In fact there is a great deal of somewhat confusing information about it, depending upon which source you read, listen to, or watch on TV.

About coronavirus

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses which may cause illness in animals or humans.  In humans, several coronaviruses are known to cause respiratory infections ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). The most recently discovered coronavirus causes coronavirus disease COVID-19.
https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/q-a-coronaviruses

There is a lot more information at that site if you want to find out more.

How dangerous is this ‘new’ strain of coronavirus?

Simple answer…

Authorities say “we do not know enough yet and will not know until more data becomes available.”

Quarantine

One thing that seems clear is that over the years we have lost the knowledge, or motivation, to quarantine ourselves, or a disease. Once upon a time parents ‘quarantined’ a child with an infectious disease. In the past people refrained from attending church services if they suffered a severe cold or flu. Nowadays we are urged to take a pill and ‘soldier on.’ Most people have no choice due to economic constraints.

(I have written about quarantine before… https://www.susanprestonauthor.com/)

Coronavirus and face masks

The general consensus of opinion is that most of the facemasks available to the public to buy are ineffective. They are ‘surgical’ masks and designed to protect a patient from a nurse/medical worker’s mouth borne germs.

Coronavirus and facemasks

What CAN we do?

  • Be sensible.
  • Be considerate.
  • If you have symptoms of a respiratory infection, stay home.
  • Be careful with your hand hygiene.
  • Avoid crowds

If you have a chronic health problem you are more ‘at risk’ so take the precautions seriously but don’t panic.

Plodding on,

Susan

About last week’s missing ‘post’ – I was in hospital. By the time I came home the five days of violent summer storms had started, and the computer was more ‘off’ than ‘on.’ In the last few days the NBN has been ‘down’ so I have a limited service, and no phone.

Volunteer firefighters and their value

volunteer firefighters at a bushfire

Volunteer firefighters are a necessary part of the community here in Australia.

Why?

Because bushfires in Australia are a part of life in the summer. They can be caused by

  • a lightning strike,
  • by peoples’ carelessness,
  • or by that most despicable of creatures… the firebug.

Lightning and firebugs

The first is unpredictable, and the second – I would prefer not to say anything other than what I called those people before… the most despicable of creatures.

There is a ‘profile ‘a serial firebug here… https://www.theage.com.au/national/profile-inside-the-mind-of-a-firebug-20080113-ge6lnh.html

Our part: If we see something suspicious, call the police

approach of bushfite
(c) Christy-Lee Williams, 2019; Used by permission

Carelessness

Are you a smoker? Have you ever thrown away a cigarette and stood on it to put it out? They don’t always go out.

On a city street, chances are they will only be litter.

Annoying but they probably do not cause damage. In the bush though the smallest bit of heat can smolder and start a fire.

Unchecked it could become an inferno.

See last week’s post on how far the embers travel in advance of a fire.
Australia Burns

What about camping in the bush?

Ever done that? If it is in the period of a total fire ban, do you obey it? Do you even know about total fire bans and what they mean?

Even if there is not a total fire ban in place, if you cook where you are camping do you make sure any fire, or BBQ is completely out before you move away?

There are many ways to be careless when walking in the bush, all of us need to be aware of our actions… and the possible consequences.

Our part: Learn the rules and keep them.

By the way, the bush can be a small patch of bushland between suburbs. I remember a few years ago when a college and the college residences were under threat from a bushfire. There was a patch of bushland one side of the road, burning. The fire jumped the road and came perilously close to some of the college residences. The cause? A homeless man had been camping in the patch of bush.

Another type of carelessness

The people who do not move out of the way of emergency vehicles. Do you know there are rules about giving way to emergency vehicles – and penalties for not keeping those rules?

https://roadrules.rsc.wa.gov.au/road-rules/emergency-vehicles

Then there is another kind… but is it carelessness or selfishness? The spectators who want to watch the drama unfold.

These people put themselves in the way of the firefighters, hampering them, and in many cases putting their own lives at risk. Watch it on TV. The media, who have permission to be there, know the rules and the conditions of the fire scene. They keep those rules, or if they don’t, will not be allowed at the next fire scene.

Our part: Keep out of the way, let the people do their jobs.

It is difficult enough for them without dealing with ignorance or selfishness.

One of the volunteer firefighters

Volunteer firefighter after her shift
(c) copyright. Christy-Lee Williams, 2019; Used by permission

What if this was your daughter?

Or son, boyfriend, father, mother, girlfriend, husband or wife. They risk their lives to save the properties of others. In some instances a firefighter has lost his/her own home while off saving the property of others. It has happened here in Western Australia… and, I guess, many other places.

From an article by the wife of a volunteer firefighter…

“I wonder if the Prime Minister has considered what would happen if the volunteers just decided not to go. Or what will happen when they are all exhausted, worn down, emotionally frayed and unable to go back. Of course they will have already gone back several times after they reach this point because there is nobody else to go.”
Used with permission. Full article here… https://smarterthancrows.wordpress.com/2019/12/10/no-scott-morrison-my-husband-does-not-want-to-be-fighting-fires-this-summer/?fbclid=IwAR2r_-Nj51JlLPXbfnqAzFmoCtinFVhDYDBDFHAVOXgnSfK_Cq9NKw9_qLs

She also mentions the reality all the family and friends of the firefighters face… the firefighter might not come home.

And that happened last week.

Two volunteer firefighters killed while fighting fires

This was in New South Wales, not here in Western Australia. However, most of us mourn over the cost they paid to be volunteers.

https://au.news.yahoo.com/two-firefighters-dead-bushfires-close-in-sydney-nsw-195445715.html?utm_source=Campaign_Monitor&utm_medium=Edm&utm_campaign=DailySnap_Newsletter&utm_term=DailySnap_Newsletter&ncid=dailysnapshotau_dailysnaps_yaptekbs7gs

They were men with young children.

And if it is true that the Prime Minister said that they could choose not to go…

All I want to say is there would be little of Australia left without volunteer firefighters. These people have a sense of responsibility and community that would put many of our politicians to shame.

Fire truck and approaching bush fire
(c) copyright Christy-Lee Williams 2019; Used by permission

When I asked Christy about the time of day the pictures were taken, here is her reply…

“i went out there the first day (2.30-11.30) and again the second day (8.30 am – 8.30pm) so its both night and day”

Christy is a nineteen year old girl, she’s been doing this for four years that I remember. Her brother is also a volunteer firefighter. They follow the path set by their parents.

These are the heroes we should respect. Allow them to do their jobs… it may be YOUR home they protect next.

Bushfires are again devastating several States, and firefighters are exhausted.

Our part: Pray for them, and their families.

Susan

Note: All images in this post are copyright photographs taken by Christy-Lee Williams 2019 and are used by permission.

Australia Burns

Bushfires in Australia

The fires in Australia started in New South Wales in the Eastern States in September. (Not quite summer time.) Then it was Queensland’s turn. Other States have had fire emergencies since, but New South Wales is still burning, and there is an active on-going fire emergency in Western Australia.

In both these States temperatures continue to climb, and in Western Australia wind changes pose a dangerous hazard.

List of States and their fires can be found here… https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2019%E2%80%9320_Australian_bushfire_season

In Western Australia

Aside from the fact I live there, (although not near the fire zones) the adult grandchildren of a friend are volunteer firefighters, and have been involved in fighting these blazes. So, for me, praying for the firefighters has a personal face. I know these young people, although I pray for all firefighters, but particularly Christy and her brother.

When this fire started I was in hospital and saw on the news about the petrol station exploding in the blaze. Roads were blocked by the police as the nearby housing estates were too much of a risk to access.

Some of the nurses had homes in the affected areas and unable to contact husbands/family members. Consequently they were able to leave their shifts and go.

Evacuation centres were set up, police went door to door in suburbs under threat, telling people to evacuate immediately.

There is another side to the fact Australia is burning

Facts:

  • Crops have burned,
  • There are animal losses,
  • Devastation for the already stretched and depressed farmers and their families.
Price rise for bread in Australia

We might complain about the increased costs, and we have already seen some price rises. The price of bread rose by 15cents a loaf last week but we might as well get used to it because grain products will only be one aspect of the shortages.

 

Some of the images from the fires in New South Wales and Queensland showed burned, or starving animals.

A report I read about the drought in the Eastern States (prior to the fires) told of a farmer having to perform a Caesarean section surgery on his cows who were too weak to give birth.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/rural/2019-11-15/drought-affected-farmer-performing-caesarean-sections-on-cattle/11704744

I Am Fire

 This is the best ‘prepare for fire’ plan advertisement I have seen. A short version here…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=18&v=ygMJTQvmRyo&feature=emb_logo

The one I saw mentioned how far ahead of the actual blaze embers would travel and start new blazes.

The advert asks ‘Do you have a plan?” While I do not live in a bushfire zone, my home could lose power if a fire affected an electricity sub-station. Therefore, yes, I have a plan. I have to have a plan because a loss of power also means the loss of the oxygen machine that keeps me alive.

https://www.susanprestonauthor.com/living-at-the-end-of-an-oxygen-tube/

Life in Australia is more than dangerous insects and animals… and snakes etc.

An Australian summer brings with it bushfires, and it seems each year is worse than the previous one.

It looks as if the fires in California are now contained or out, but yes., I am aware Australia is not the only place where there are annual, devastating fires.

So, we would all do well to be aware of the consequences of our actions.

Susan

Giving up Is Taking Over and What to Do About It

lost and giving up

Giving up might be easy. Do you have the courage to keep going? It does take courage to keep walking through your trials, or turn back and seek help.

Clearly, many do give up, the suicide statistics in Australia alone are food for thought.

https://www.blackdoginstitute.org.au/clinical-resources/suicide-self-harm/facts-about-suicide-in-australia

Is giving up really taking over our world?

If so… how can we counter this negative trend?

Make your own trend, but look to the past as well as the future.

Some thought I should just give in gracefully and die rather than go on oxygen. Well, it might have saved a tiny bit of money for the government but I believe I still have something to give.

My book ‘Living at the end of an Oxygen Tube’ would never have been written, and even although not released yet, it has led to some interesting conversations. It is my hope that not only does it help people who are prescribed home oxygen, but also those who care for them. It might surprise you to discover the changes and challenges someone on oxygen has to make.  Although, I have to admit, it is quite amusing at times… especially when tangled in the oxygen tube.

Then the fourth novella in the companion series to the Apostle John Series books would not be published. (Getting close.)

So, what does looking back achieve?

“For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.”
Romans 15:4 ESV

Giving up was not the way these people handled adversity

Joseph, favorite son of his father Jacob had many opportunities to give up. His half-brothers’ jealousy escalated to such a degree they put him in a pit and were going to kill him.

What was going through Joseph’s mind?

Instead, Joseph was sold to spice merchants on their way to Egypt. There the spice merchants sold him as a slave. (Read the story in Genesis 37:12-35)

Moses could have thrown up his hands in defeat many times, as he led the often-rebellious children of Israel through the wilderness.

I look at the lives of the prophets, and sigh at what they went through… without giving up.

Jumping forward in time…

Did the Apostles think of giving up?

History says all but one were martyred, and the Apostle Paul mentions his many trials.

For those of us who have Christian faith, where would our faith be without the record they left us.

When researching for the Apostle John Series I was awed at what the early Christians endured. Some went to the arena; others were tortured, enslaved, or burnt as torches for Nero’s parties.

In many cases Christians could have escaped persecution by the simple act of taking a pinch of incense, tossing it the fire at an statue of Caesar, and saying, ‘Caesar is Lord.’ That would have broken the first commandment, and most chose to suffer the penalty.

We have not been called to such challenges, but we have, and do, experience other overwhelming difficulties at times.

giving up, drowning in problems

Back to the suicide figures

More people than would like to admit have, at some point in their lives contemplated suicide. From the figures in Australia alone, many have attempted to kill themselves.

Do we shrug and sigh, then continue on, or do we wonder what we could have done if someone we know succeeds in killing themselves?

It is a two-way street. The person desperate enough to want to give up needs to find the courage to talk about it. Easier said than done.

No one to trust.

There are crisis lines where a stranger will listen. This might be a solution for those wanting to give up.

One such organization says on its webpage, “Professionally trained counsellors have specialist skills in working with suicide-related issues and they can help you to work through the pain and distress you may be feeling.”

What can we do?

If we see signs of someone withdrawing, instead of ignoring it, we can ask, “Would you like to talk about what you are feeling?”

If that seems too threatening, how about “You seem to be having a difficult time, is there anything I can do to help?”

We need to be prepared to listen. We need to be non-judgmental. A person on the point of giving up on life sees life differently to your viewpoint. Allow them their viewpoint before offering alternative views.

Sadly, the times we live in are not conducive to quietly walking beside someone in distress. Our lives are so busy, and self-concerned we might not notice. We might be struggling ourselves, but guess what, helping someone else can help you see your own problems in a different light.

Not giving up, giving

Here, some flowers for you… pass them on.

Susan

Susan Preston was a trained Mental Health Nursing sister and worked at an outpatient community clinic. She has a great deal of experience in counselling and caring for people with mental health issues. (Some of this knowledge made its way into the books she has written.)

Honor – Who or What Do YOU honor?

Don't wait till they are dead to honor them

Who or what DO you honor? This is the Easter long weekend. I know some families will have ‘the knock.’
You open the door and there is a police officer (or two) standing there. ‘The knock’ for my husband and I came at four in the morning.  Our son was not an Easter fatality, but the knock is the same horrifying reality for all who have experienced it.

There will be more fatalities during this time than at most other times of the year. “Drivers are urged to take extra care over the next few days with the Easter long weekend historically proving a dangerous one for fatal accidents.” 
https://thewest.com.au/news/wa/motorists-urged-to-drive-safely-over-the-easter-long-weekend-ng-b881173204z

Do we honor the road rules?

It would seem not. Queensland had a horror start to the Easter long weekend.

  • Police are concerned at the number of people who continue to drink-drive with 44 people charged on day one
  • 275 roadside drug tests were carried out on Thursday with 44 drivers testing positive to illegal substances.
  • 2,858 drivers were clocked by speed cameras going over the limit, while another 390 speeding fines were handed out by Police.
  • 29 people were busted using their mobile phones behind the wheel while 31 fines were handed out for seat belt offences.
    http://www.mygc.com.au/horror-start-to-easter-period-on-queensland-roads/

Across Australia, road deaths were already being recorded on Friday morning.

Do we honor our families?

Going by the Queensland statistics it would seem not. Most other States will have similar statistics,

What do those statistics speak of?

  • Selfishness
  • Disregard for the law
  • Lack of love for their families
  • Thoughtlessness
  • ‘It will never happen to me’

Unless someone sets out to deliberately murder another person, the answer fits somewhere in one of those categories.

Nevertheless, the result is the same. Deep hurt, unbelievable sorrow, guilt, emotional pain.  There are only a few pathetically inadequate words to attempt to describe the reaction to ‘the knock.’

honor before, not after death

‘Honor your father and mother’ is one of the Ten Commandments. Well, not only younger people have parents, so do grown-up children. The command to honor parents applies as long as the parents are alive.

Also children who are parents should think of their children.

Do you want your child/children to grow up fatherless or motherless?

Most people do not want that, many never think of the consequences, or realize this is what they are risking.

All of us need to be more ‘thinking’ people.

Allow me to tell you about the last night with our son.

Before 'the knock.’

It was a warm summer evening, and our son who had been through a dreadful week, was in a happier mood. His friend, who had recently passed his driving test, was coming to pick him up and they were going out.

Jim, (not his real name) hugged his Dad and I, and went out to meet his friend who waited at the end of our driveway. His father followed him part way, delighted that Jim seemed to have survived the terrible week.

“Dad,” Jim called, and his father went closer. “Look, a bird has fallen out of this small tree.” He looked down at the bird, and said, “It looks as if it cannot fly. Will you take it and put it in one of the trees in the backyard where it will be safer?”

Carefully taking the bird, a dove,  my husband saw it was indeed injured, and smiled. Not many teenagers were so kind and tenderhearted. Most would have walked past the bird on the ground, some not even noticing.

That was the last time we saw him alive.

After 'the knock’

We went through the same horror many others have suffered and are suffering.

Shock, horror, disbelief, guilt, wishing it was a nightmare and we would wake up and Jim would be back home. In all honesty, I can think of no words to describe the feelings that threatened to overwhelm us, not only then… but for a long time after.

honor road rules

You might not like the police, your parents, the rules, but believe this…
The rules are there for protection, not to make your life difficult.

Please, honor those who love you.

Obey the rules – and THINK.

With love

Susan

With heartfelt empathy for all who are walking this path, wherever you are on your journey.

Posted early in the hope it will save someone answering ‘the knock.’

Covet Explained in Fewer than 140 Characters

you covet my parking space

This week I have had to venture on the roads. I would rather miss driving at this time of year, just as I would prefer to miss going to shopping centres. Whether on the road, shopping centre carpark, or the shops themselves the absence of consideration is obvious. As I thought on it, a strange ‘light bulb moment’ went off in my mind. On the road, other drivers covet the space your vehicle is taking; in the shopping centre carpark where parking spaces are hard to find you might find a line of vehicles whose drivers covet the space you have.

Covet is an old-fashioned word

What does it mean?

“To desire wrongfully, inordinately, or without due regard for the rights of other:
Example: To covet another’s property.”
www.dictionary.com

 

The definition by the way is less than 140 characters, including spaces. I checked.

covet, character count

Now I will expand on that definition in more than 140 characters.
(Twitter has increased the character limit to 280 but I will go over that.)

In the Bible covet is mentioned in the tenth commandment. “You shall not covet anything that belongs to your neighbour.” (Abridged version.)

If you want a New Testament version, well, I think Jesus’ summary of the ten given in two commandments covers it.
“And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
Mark 12:31

Covet is a strange word for lack of consideration.

Well, covet has another meaning in the dictionary “to wish for, especially eagerly: 
Example: He won the prize they all coveted.”

self-centered

When it all boils down to a basic set of words, it is self-centeredness.

Why would I say that? Because if you peel the layers back like an onion, you might find it is putting your needs before those of others.

like the layers of an onion

If you leapfrog in and out of the traffic to get that little bit ahead. Chances are I will join you at the next set of traffic lights.

My nerves will be calmer.

If you are charging at me with your shopping trolley expecting me to get out of your way quickly, I won’t be able to.  I have to take a portable oxygen concentrator when I go to the shops, we cannot dodge a ‘speeding trolley.’

I will stop and hope you see me.

So, do not covet the space on the road, the carpark bay, or try to intimidate others out of your way in the shopping centres. Love your ‘neighbour’ as yourself.
We are all on this planet together, so we are neighbours.
Slow down, it might save your life.

Thinking again,

Susan

 

Piracy Three Ways

piracy flag, image of skull and crossbones on flag

What is piracy?
Anything from piracy on the seas to piracy of books, records, movies.

Piracy on the Seas

SINGAPORE — The Ai Maru steamed alone under night skies on June 14 when a speedboat slipped in from the darkness and overtook the tanker about 30 miles off the coast of Malaysia. At 9:15 p.m., seven men with handguns and knives clambered up over the side, smashed through doors, tied up crew members at gunpoint and bashed the Ai Maru’s communications equipment.

The attackers stripped the 13 crew members of their personal belongings, locked them in a room and spent the next hours getting to the real work at hand: stealing the cargo. A second tanker, this one piloted by more pirates, pulled alongside. The maritime robbers siphoned a total of 620 metric tons of marine gas oil from Ai Maru to their own ship.

https://www.cnbc.com/2014/09/15/worlds-most-pirated-waters.html

Dictionary.com defines a different kind of piracy as…

“The unauthorized reproduction or use of a copyrighted book, recording, television program, patented invention, trademarked product, etc.”

If we are honest… we will admit that at some time in our lives most of us have been guilty of this kind of piracy.

Common reasons I have heard for burning, copying for a friend, or lending a book are…

“Well, that company makes millions anyway.”

Yes, usually that company does – but it is still theft. The big company can write off these debts, but the recording artist or author only receives a small portion of the price – he or she is the one most hurt by this kind of piracy.

The shipping company in the first example probably was insured, might have had to pay a larger premium, but people in the second category have no such protection. A royalty payment is lost.

There is another kind of piracy…

When piracy is a scam.

piracy. Unauthorised download offered

Every now and again I am informed of Hold the Faith being available free in any digital format. This was the case a few days ago – I decided to check it out. 

I am sharing this – not because of a huge loss, but because of my discovery of the  enormity of the scam.

I know I have excellent antivirus and security software, so I clicked on each of the buttons in turn.

Each button went to a different site – all had the same sign up free page. So, I did an online search.

GoMediaz, PlayJoltz, and Pepplay were the three sites, each linked to one of the buttons. Google listed each of these, and a page (maybe more) of scam warnings.

It saddened me to read of how many people who had signed up for a free account, and had to provide a credit card number, found their card had regular deductions from the company although no purchase had been made.

piracy, Google alert of unauthorised download
Note: This is an old version of Hold the Faith

All three had identical ‘sign-up’ forms…

reply from piracy company

But I did not want to sign up for anything. I wanted a contact address.

Eventually, I did find addresses for two of them.

I found email addresses for two of the ‘companies’ and sent a short email asking them to remove my book from their database.

Identical email replies were received…

 

After hearing comments from other authors in some groups I am a member of I decided to write this blog – as a warning to save some from being scammed.

In order to take screenshots I found the ‘alert’ and clicked on the buttons again.

To my surprise, they now linked to another set of three websites.

See the images below.

piracy, warning by a scammed user
Scam alert

The extent of the piracy/scamming astounds me.

I decided to contact Google and ask why the addresses from the same alert now led to a different set of websites. (All, like the first three – scammers.)

It was hard to obtain an email address for Google, and I didn’t want an American phone number. Apart from the cost, it is night time there when I am writing this.

I found a link to an Australian Google address.

It was blocked by my antivirus software.

When I was a computer trainer, if I had a class of newbie users, I used to take examples of scam emails from various banks, PayPal, and credit unions to show the class how to identify the scam mails, show them the real sites, as well as tell them what to do.

“Is it safe to go online?” some might bemoan.

A    Only if you keep your wits about you.

And remember the old saying… ‘If it Sounds Too Good to Be True, it Probably Is.’

With these free sites – who offer books, music, movies… always remember that not everything is as it seems.

Sadly, it seems to be ‘human nature’ to want something for nothing. For hundreds of people that desire ended up costing them a great deal of money as well as frustration.

I have written this post to raise awareness and so that some, perhaps you, might be spared from these traps.

Troubled by the piracy,

Susan

piracy cartoon image