Tom Purcell: Murder hornets need to hire a better publicist

Published 11:20 pm Friday, May 15, 2020

The murder hornets don’t stand a chance.


We’re still amid a pandemic that has dragged on way too long, producing far too many bizarre, exaggerated doomsday scenarios on social media.

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Some of our political leaders are enjoying absolute power a little too absolutely.


Conspiracy theorists claim Bill Gates, who’s probably an extraterrestrial, purposely spread COVID-19 because he wants to implant computer chips in us – or something like that.


And now the murder hornets are coming?


Also called Asian giant hornets, these ghastly bugs look like creatures from a 1950s horror flick.


Approximately 2 inches long, they slaughter honeybees by ripping their heads off, and their menacing yellow-orange noggins make them look like extraterrestrials – the way Bill Gates’ real head looks when he removes his human mask at home every night.


So far, these giant icky bugs have been spotted in Washington state and Canada. Now that the scariest coronavirus stories are losing their edge, the murder hornets’ murderous ways offer a fresh round of stories, true and false, to scare the bejesus out of us.


These stories will surely be featured in the news soon:


“Actual murderers are offended that entomologists are demeaning their life’s work by naming a foreign bug after their profession.”


“The Council of Global Bug Integration accuses federal officials of jingoistic propaganda and creating antipathy for people from a particular region of the world by referring to America’s newest hornet as the ‘Asian giant hornet.’”


“The murder hornet can fly 20 mph and kill more than 50 people every year, but when it’s pan-fried and seared, it makes a tasty dinner – one with the potential to positively impact the effects of climate change in America and the world.”


There was once great hope that in the age of digitization and incredible computing power, human beings, with access to limitless sources of knowledge, would become smarter – that our judgment would be improved by factual information, science and sound reasoning.


That hope fell to pieces faster than the 1970s killer bee scare, which terrorized my otherwise placid childhood.


There was once hope that this pandemic would bring us together – that we’d collaborate more, and quibble less, to do what we can to address this great challenge.


But the polar opposite has happened. The pandemic has done more to illustrate our deep divisions than to heal them. Many have used our powerful technology platforms to scare and misinform their fellow human beings, rather than to enlighten them.


It’s regrettable, but it’s so.


After two months under lockdown, we’re tired of worrying, tired of our politicians posturing, and eager to get back to normal.


I’d give anything to visit an Irish pub for a pint and some camaraderie. I long for a conversation about the meaning of life, car tires and how bad the Pirates’ losing record will be this year.


So I feel bad for the murder hornets.


You have the stuff of greatness, my homicidal wasp friends – your terrifying faces, your enormous size, your ridiculously direct name – but your timing is way off.


As states begin to reopen, our news outlets and social media fanatics are firing off new rounds of scary pandemic material.


If I were you, murder hornets, I’d hire a better publicist, fly back home and sit out your invasion for another year.

Tom Purcell is a Pittsburgh Tribune-Review humor columnist and is syndicated by Cagle Cartoons. Email Tom at