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Rolla Peace News

January 5, 2021
Dear Friends:
Editor's note: Today we have an important message about vaccines and mutations from a former Rollaite, Dr. Emily Masterson, who now practices medicine in Boulder County, Colorado.

Webperson's note: If you are having trouble reading this, it is posted at

In this newsletter is:

3. THE MISFIT MATHEMATICIAN (Tom's column, http://tomsager.org)
          a) A Further Note on COVID-19 Vaccines and Mutations
          b) More from Dr. Emily Masterson
          c) The Nashville Bomber: “A Most Peculiar Man”
          d) British Judge Refuses to Extradite Julian Assange



We vigil for peace in front of the Rolla Post Office, THIS THURSDAY, JANUARY 7, FROM NOON TO 1:00 PM (and most subsequent Thursdays until Peace is established). Please join us this Thursday in saying NO WAR AGAINST IRAN or any other country. The temperature is predicted to be in the 30s. If you do not feel comfortable standing with us in front of the Post Office, please consider driving by and showing your support for our message by honking your horn and flashing a peace sign.

Note 1: Since there are so few of us, generally 2 or 3, no need to cancel; but let's maintain social distancing.

Note 2: In case of inclement weather, vigils will end early.


Hello! I still enjoy reading your newsletter weekly even though I no longer live in Rolla (in fact my husband, two kids and I happily reside in Boulder County CO!).

As a medical doctor, I would like to offer some quick info regarding a statement you made about the COVID vaccine possibly not being effective against the new strain of COVID circulating in the UK and future mutated strains.

The scientific community is fairly certain that the vaccine will be effective against the new strain (and likely any strain that remains infectious to humans) as it targets the spike protein which is required to enter the human cell and therefore cause illness. If a strain of SARS-CoV-2 mutates at the site coding the spike protein in a way to significantly alter it's function it would likely render that strain non-infectious to humans.

As a frontline healthcare worker it is very important to me that we not spread undue fears about the vaccine. The vaccine/vaccines will be a critical tool for the world to overcome this challenge. I’d hate to see people refusing the vaccine based upon faulty information.

I gladly received the Moderna vaccine a few days ago and had no reaction other than expected arm soreness. I have a great sense of relief knowing that two weeks after my second vaccine I will have 95% protection from serious illness from COVID. The data leading to its approval was solid and no safety steps were skipped.

By the way, I wholeheartedly agree with your putting a spot light on the fact that some in a position of wealth and/or power are cutting the line to get the vaccine. It is a moral abomination that hospital administrators, young politicians who were COVID deniers prancing around super spreader events with no mask and the wealthy gleefully getting a vaccine the first week it was shipped. Nothing new in America though...

I hope everyone there is happy and healthy. I will always have a special place in my heart for Rolla.

Thanks for fighting the good fight—I know it can feel hopeless at times.

Emily Masterson MD

3. THE MISFIT MATHEMATICIAN (Tom's column, http://tomsager.org)
          a) A Further Note on COVID-19 Vaccines and Mutations
          b) More from Dr. Emily Masterson
          c) The Nashville Bomber: “A Most Peculiar Man”
          d) British Judge Refuses to Extradite Julian Assange

A Further Note on COVID-19 Vaccines and Mutations

Thanks for writing to us, Emily. It is so good to hear from you after all these years. And we hope that you and your family are all safe and healthy and have enjoyed the holidays. Thank you for all you are doing to keep us safe and helping us through these trying times of pandemic.

I think the issue with today's vaccines is not so much whether they will work in the future; but that THEY ARE WORKING NOW. I feel confident that they are working as advertised, because they have been subjected to intense international scrutiny. Some countries (such as Cuba) have excellent doctors and medical researchers who would be a lot harder to fool or co-opt than what little is left of our medical regulators in the United States. Also there are websites, such as Russia Today, that would be most happy to jump on any irregularities that came to light in western-produced vaccines. And would the wealthy be cutting in line to get vaccinated if the vaccines were a hoax?

Today, with increased infections and hospitalizations rising precipitously, it is important that we all do whatever possible NOW to keep the infection rate down so as not to further overwhelm our overstretched public health infrastructure and personnel. Getting a vaccination, when available, even if it turns out to be less effective than what we hoped for, would seem to be the very least we can do.

I, too, have seen pronouncement by “experts” that today's vaccines will work on tomorrow's mutations. I do not share your confidence in these experts. They have been wrong again and again, particularly when it comes to predicting the future. This novel coronavirus continues to blindside us.

Rather than looking at vaccines as a magic bullet, I would suggest looking at them as just another weapon in our arsenal against the novel coronavirus: along with masking, testing, contact tracing, hand washing, social distancing, immune system enhancing medications, anti-viral medications, quarantining, crowd avoidance etc.

The bottom line: This will be a protracted war. We must be prepared for further surprises.

More from Dr. Emily Masterson

“I agree that the vaccine will be just one tool, albeit a very important tool, to get the pandemic under control. Here is a nice graphic you can share if you’d like.

“Lastly, thanks for the link to the article about the virus mutating—that’s a good article, however it does not alter my optimism that the vaccines will likely be effective against future mutated strains.”

The Nashville Bomber: “A Most Peculiar Man”
“He was a most peculiar man;
He lived all alone within a house,
Within a room, within himself,
A most peculiar man.”
—Paul Simon (A Most Peculiar Man)

Reading about Anthony Warner, the Nashville Bomber, the Simon and Garfunkel song, A Most Peculiar Man, popped into my head immediately — a lonely man, with no one to talk to, planning his suicide, to the most minute detail.

Fortunately he was a kind man. He could have taken thousands with him. Instead, he parked his RV in downtown Nashville next to an AT&T communications hub and broadcast a warning, “Evacuate now. There is a bomb. A bomb is in this vehicle and will explode.” He took no hostages. He killed no one but himself. There were few injuries — none severe.

Nashville was indeed fortunate. They could have gotten a Stephen Paddock who picked off 60 concert-goers in Las Vegas before turning his weapon upon himself. They could have gotten an Andreas Lubitz who locked himself in the cockpit and set his Germanwings airplane with 150 aboard on a collision course with a mountain; or an Adam Lanza; or a Jim Jones.

The police are looking for a motive. Why did he do it? I think the more important question is why did he go to such great lengths to minimize fatalities when others in his position have sought to maximize death.
“He had no friends, he seldom spoke;
And no one in turn ever spoke to him,
'Cause he wasn't friendly, and he didn't care,
And he wasn't like them.
Oh, no, he was a most peculiar man.”

His neighbors described him as a recluse. Apparently he had internet acquaintances; but that's not the same as having friends. According to a neighbor, he had dogs and took excellent care of his dogs. Dogs make wonderful companions; But dogs grow old and die, often before their owners. According to the neighbor he no longer had dogs. Why didn't he go to the shelter and adopt another dog? It might have saved his life. Or if a neighbor had come to him: “This little dog is homeless. Could you care for her?” or a cat; or a houseplant; anything to drive away the loneliness. Humans are social beasts. Loneliness is a killer.

Could he have sought help from a mental health professional? The lonely and depressed are extremely vulnerable. Perhaps he was afraid of being locked up and doped up. Mental health professionals can be very intimidating.
“He died last Saturday.
He turned on the gas and he went to sleep,
With the windows closed so he'd never wake up
To his silent world and his tiny room...”

Whatever the reason, he planned his suicide carefully and methodically. He could have simply turned on the gas and gone to sleep like Paul Simon's Most Peculiar Man. Apparently he wanted to do something so the world would remember him. So he blew himself up along with Nashville's communications network.

A former girl-friend told the police he was making bombs in his RV. The police chief said they did everything they could do legally to investigate. Perhaps they had. Tennessee is a pro-gun state. Is keeping explosives in an RV against the law in Tennessee? I don't know.

The FBI released a photo of him to the news media. Such a sad face. Looking at the photo, one can well imagine that he was contemplating suicide.

Why did Warner choose a location next to a major communications hub? Given his background in information technology and alarm systems he must have known, or at least suspected, that his bomb would do major damage to Nashville's communications network. So maybe he did Nashville a favor. His dying act demonstrated the vulnerable of Nashville's communication network. Suppose someone intent on killing a lot of people had exploited this vulnerability?

Apparently Warner professed to some eccentric beliefs — such as alien lizards who are changing our DNA. Did this have anything to do with his modus moriendi? Perhaps.

But I have a conjecture here. Maybe he just wanted to show us what it's like to be alone, to be unable to communicate.

Isn't is strange? Here we are, 7.8 billion people on Planet Earth. We have smart phones and 5G networks that allow us to communicate almost instantly with almost everyone on Earth. Yet, in humanity's 1/4 million years of existence on Planet Earth, we have never been more separate and alone.
“And all the people said, ‘What a shame that he's dead;
But wasn't he a most peculiar man?’”

Strange. In all my reading about this incident, I have yet to come across anyone saying, “What a shame that he's dead.” Here was a man with a lot to offer. From the little I've read about him, I would say he may have been a brilliant man. But he was alone, and the loneliness drove him mad.

You may wonder, how do I know this? Well, you see, I've been there.

British Judge Refuses to Extradite Julian Assange

This is a great victory for Julian Assange, founder of Wikileaks, which published leaked documents on US atrocities in Iraq and Afghanistan. Rather than rule on the Freedom of the Press issue, Judge Baraitser refused the US extradition request on the narrow grounds that US prisons are barbaric (which they obviously are). The US has appealed.

Here's an (off-color) cartoon I photo-collaged for Julian Assange ten years ago.


Rolla Peace News is distributed by email once a week on Tuesday evenings (except on rare occasions) and is posted on the web at http://tomsager.org (click on Rollaites for Peace: near the top of rightmost column).

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Wage peace,

yushasager (at) yahoo.com