Out of accident, on purpose or by default, us humans seem bent upon killing ourselves. I know that’s not news, but it bears repeating from time to time. Daily, people kill themselves and others by either design or inattention.
This was brought to mind graphically and suddenly this morning in Norfolk, Nebraska. As I drove down the main drag, one of those late model, “regular”, full-size, four-wheel-drive Ford pickup trucks pulled out of a shopping center driveway and nearly drove on top of my car. The truck is bigger than my garage. The tops of the wheel opening arches are taller than my car. Thankfully, my reflexes are in prime condition. I was able to radically swerve to avoid a wreck. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to lean on the horn nor to flip the dude off. The driver’s perch is so tall that my car wasn’t even in his field of vision. Who designs those behemoth fuel guzzlers anyway? B.P? Anyhow, before I deviate too far from today’s topic, I got to thinking about how easy it is to kill ourselves.
The one glaring example is warfare. This nonsense has been going on for tens of thousands of years. One grouping of people going after another grouping of people. The mass murder of war is surprisingly easy in which to partake. Hermann Goering summed it up succinctly during the Nuremberg war crimes trials after the second world war:
“Naturally the common people don’t want war: Neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, IT IS THE LEADERS of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is TELL THEM THEY ARE BEING ATTACKED, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. IT WORKS THE SAME IN ANY COUNTRY.”
Say what you will about Herr Goering and the rightwing fascists he served. The man brilliantly explained how support for institutionalized mass murder is drummed up. It works the same way today.
A frightening byproduct of the Second World War is that of the so -called peaceful atom. Many nations have constructed nuclear power factories. These things produce plutonium for the voracious nuclear weapons industry. It just so happens that a useful byproduct created in the manufacture of said plutonium happens to be electrical power. The nuclear power industry has presented these multi-billion dollar factories as a panacea to solve humanity’s insatiable hunger for energy.
So far, things have pretty much appeared to go swimmingly well for the bomb makers and the nuclear power companies. Sort of. None of the old reactors have been decommissioned, yet. Rarely mentioned is the fact that the cost of decommissioning one of those power plants will likely exceed the original construction costs. Other than that, there is the risk of accidents like Three-Mile Island, Chernobyl, and the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant. Oh, and where will we put the decommissioned factories and the “spent” fuel?
It looks like a very gloomy future for our Japanese friends. Danger of internal and external contamination of the various byproducts of nuclear fission abound in the air, drinking water, the land and the sea. Not only are Asians at risk for cancers and chronic diseases, so is anyone living in the northern hemisphere. Radiation from the Fukushima disaster is already filtering into our own airspace.
I certainly hope that mind-boggling environmental disasters don’t happen every year. Just last year we had to deal with the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The impact of that is still being felt and will likely remain for several years.
That only brings to mind one of the most controversial ongoing disasters. Many folks like to think of global climate change as a non-issue. More realistic minds are quite concerned that humankind needs to make some adjustments in our transportation, space heating and cooling, manufacturing and other energy production/consumption methods. To be on the conservative side of the situation, I’m going to assume there is a collection of solvable problems. Regardless of whether or not there is global climate change, I think it behooves us to at least have some standby solutions ready to implement. Proactive work is always an exceptionally great thing to do. Even the Boy Scouts know that it is a good idea to always “be prepared”.
On a more personal level, aside from absent-minded driving, or drunken driving, there are proven ways to commit suicide. Today’s most popular techniques include overeating and illicit drug use.
One way that is still quite popular is that of tobacco useage. I won’t act all high and mighty about cigarettes because I used to smoke two packs of cancer sticks per day. I lost my brother to death by tobacco smoke, so I take the issue seriously. I know the issue makes some of my friends squeamish because they still use tobacco products. I won’t preach to them because I know that doesn’t work. I will say that my deepest wish is that they find an expedient way to discontinue their tobacco habits. (For me, my physician provided the cure.) I want my friends around to remain alive as my friends and to be among the readers of bluejayblog.
However we, as collective humanity, handle these massive problems, I hope we all can work together as a team and institute real, workable solutions. I love my fellow human beings. I love this beautiful planet. I hope we can coexist for millenia to come.
The Blue Jay of Happiness likes the harmony of teamwork towards a worthy goal.