I really hate it when newspeople use bare feet to transmit their own fears. We have two recent news stories where bare feet really have nothing to do with the story, but they were still highlighted as if they were particularly relevant and bad.
Worse yet, they must do it because they think their audience will respond to it.
The first story is Man lost toes after going barefoot and contracting strep infection.
Jon Oxley cut his toe in his yard while going barefoot. He caught a type of strep that led to necrotizing fasciitis. And the advice? As the doctor they interviewed, Dr. Asia Lo, said, “The bottom line is, if you go outside, don’t go barefoot.”
The reporter emphasizes this at the end of the story: “They’ve seen several other cases like this. Best advice, as she says, wear shoes if you go outside.”
That’s right. The problem is all about going barefoot.
Notice, however, that when the reporter talks about “other cases”, she doesn’t say on what part of the body they occurred, or whether bare feet were involved.
I wonder if shoes would have helped poor Braden Leonard, a fireman in Rhode Island.
He lost his hand, as we learn from Man Loses Hand to Flesh-Eating Bacteria From a Thorn Prick. In his case, he fell off his bike and pricked his hand on a thorn.
Where are the prescriptions to wear gloves when doing anything? Where is the advice never to ride a bike?
Oh, and right now there are a bunch of cases of a flesh-eating bacteria along Florida’s Gulf Coast (Bradenton, Sarasota, Fort Myers, etc.). According to Flesh-Eating Bacteria in Gulf of Mexico Kills 10, 32 people have been hospitalized and 10 people have died from it. Additionally, there are also cases in Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas.
So they’re warning people not to go to the beach, right?
Silly me. Of course not!
In Fort Myers they tell us Dangers of bacteria in local waters exaggerated. In that story we also learn that last year there were 41 cases and 12 deaths.
Hmmm. You never see a story entitled: Dangers of going barefoot outdoors exaggerated.
But here’s what the CDC says about it (and other news stories also mentioned this point):
Most cases occur randomly and are not linked to similar infections in others. The most common way of getting necrotizing fasciitis is when the bacteria enter the body through a break in the skin, like a cut, scrape, burn, insect bite, or puncture wound. Most people who get necrotizing fasciitis have other health problems that may lower their body’s ability to fight infection. Some of these conditions include diabetes, kidney disease, cancer, or other chronic health conditions that weaken the body’s immune system.
They also say
If you’re healthy, have a strong immune system, and practice good hygiene and proper wound care, your chances of getting necrotizing fasciitis (“flesh-eating” bacteria) are extremely low.
In the original barefoot story, they never mentioned if Jon Oxley had a compromised immune system. There, it was all about the bare feet.
Now on to the other news story, this one about the two Amish girls who were kidnapped right from their farm stand and then released. Upon release, they made their way to a nearby house where the couple there called the police and drove the girls back home.
Here’s the headline from Good Morning America: Kidnapped Amish Girls Showed Up Barefoot, Cold, Hungry on Doorstep of Stranger.
That’s right. The very first, the most highlighted problem the girls had, even before being cold or hungry was that they were barefoot.
Because that’s a real problem.
Note that this being a supposed problem was added by the reporters. When they talked to the local district attorney, all she mentioned is that the girls were cold and wet.
In reality, these girls probably went barefoot practically all the time. Here, for instance, is an image from the story itself showing some of the family on the porch.
The girls were probably barefoot when they were abducted from the farm stand. It was not a problem for them at all.
Yet this news story decided it had to make the fact of their bare feet number one once they were found.
And this is how bare feet get continually demonized.