liveonearth: (Default)
I read this morning about a doctor who went mad and shot people in a hospital. As a doctor myself, I know that docs have terrible stresses trying to deal with a corrupt medical-industrial system that impairs our ability to help people regain their health. Then I went to look at the NY times article, here: He's richly melanated, that is to say, he has lived a life of fear because of his skin color. I infer from his violence that he may have been guilty of the accusation--sexual misconduct. He was a man, and he was angry enough to shoot others and hopeless enough to set himself on fire and shoot himself. He did not see any way out. He knew he would not receive compassion.

What people forget when they demonize any group of humans is that they are human. Dark skinned people. Doctors. Men. Gun owners. Murderers. Whatever group. All humans share the same basic needs. When those needs are not met, we have the same basic emotions. Driven hard enough, any of us could become dangerous. Hitler had reasons. The Arabs that flew airplanes into buildings had reasons. No one is pure evil, we are simply human and if tortured we can lash out, or become cunning.

My hope that that everyone who reads this will take a deep breath or three and think about the kind of pain that drives a person to such horrors. My hope is that compassion will rise in spite of the poisonous atmosphere of shame and blame that dominates our political world. We all deserve an opportunity to be free from fear, long enough to find our centers and our hearts and reach out into the world from that place. It will take a lot of us finding compassion to heal these wounds.
liveonearth: (dont_be_heavy)

  • This epidemiologic analysis revealed that mortality rates are increasing in the middle-aged white male population, largely due to preventable conditions like poisonings and overdoses.

  • Reductions in mortality were seen in other racial groups.

ARTICLE from Medpage, primary care )

liveonearth: (moon)
Over the Edge: Death in the Grand Canyon
by Tom Myers and Michael Ghiglieri

This book logs all the mistakes you can make at the Grand Canyon.  There's an interview with the authors here.  There have been some changes since the first edition.  There are more environmental deaths, climbing deaths down in the canyon, and suicides than when the book was written. There are fewer deaths overall and fewer falls from the top of the canyon. Perhaps the park has improved safety and access to cliff tops to cause this change.

Q: What are common risk factors for death at the Canyon?

A: "Men, we have a problem," Ghiglieri said to an audience at NAU's Cline Library this winter, displaying a graphic with a skull and crossbones.

Being male, and young, is a tremendous risk factor, he and Myers found.

Of 55 who have accidentally fallen from the rim of the canyon, 39 were male. Eight of those guys were hopping from one rock to another or posing for pictures, including a 38-year-old father from Texas pretending to fall to scare his daughter, who then really did fall 400 feet to his death.

So is taking unknown shortcuts, which sometimes lead to cliffs.

Going solo is a risk factor in deaths from falls, climbing (anticipated or unplanned) and hiking.

Arrogance, impatience or ignorance also sometimes play a part.

liveonearth: (moon)
I used to think
the worst thing in life
is to end up alone.
The worst thing in life
is to end up with people
who make you feel alone.

--Robin Williams
liveonearth: (moon)
Today on MoveOn they're soliciting for signatures on a petition to make Walmart pay its workers better. Moveon says it's an outrage that Wallyworld employees have to use public services for healthcare because can't afford better. What isn't mentioned is that they spent what they had on vehicles and fuel, guns, alcohol and cigarettes, mobile phones and flatscreens. And a roof over their head.

Minimum wage is law. No company can hire you over the table for anything less. Walmart can pay minimum wage and if people apply for and accept that job, they have made a deal with that company. If they don't like it, they can quit, get another job. If there isn't another job, they can start their own business, or be useful to a family business or take care of an aging elder. They can run for office, start a protest, try and change the minimum wage. There is no shame in doing these things. The shame is in doing nothing. I just don't know how far from nothing this petition is. Having a grievance is not the same as having a solution.

When the economy contracts, families get closer. The resources that we do have get shared with those we care about. The death rate went down in the Great Depression, perhaps for this reason.

I can't get on board with political efforts to increase "jobs" because what "jobs" means is working for large corporations which will strike the best deal they can get for everything including manpower. It's the game, and winning for the 1% means never having to worry about a job. The worker never wins. The worker is a cog in a machine that cares nothing about him and will replace him the moment he begins to crack. The safety net may ease his passage a bit, but it is easy to get caught in.

To be trapped in the safety net is to lose your self respect, to become depressed, to want to die. This may be why so many white American men commit suicide. Middle-aged white guys commit suicide more than anybody else. Perhaps the veterans are driving that statistic.
liveonearth: (dont_be_heavy)
I read today about the California prisoners who've gone without food for 45 days now to protest the practice of keeping people on solitary for a year or more. A judge decided that the prisons can force feed them. This is barbarism. Their rationale is that some of the fasting prisoners have been mislead. I almost expect to hear the Shrubism: "wrongheaded" applied to the prisoners. But it is our practices of incarceration that are wrong.

First of all, it is entirely inhumane to keep any person locked away in solitary for any time at all. We are not designed to be all alone, and left all alone for too long almost any human will loose their mind. A whole year in isolation is enough to make a very sane and functional person completely mad. It is very reasonable for prisoners to protest against this practice with every tool they have.

Second of all, even prisoners should have the right to refuse food if they want to. Everyone should have the right even to end their life if they so choose, especially adults. After all, if a person cannot decide what to do with their life, is it their life at all? This kind of prison practice makes capital punishment look humane.
liveonearth: (stone arch doorway)
The Pentagon began tracking active duty military suicides in 2001. They begin rising in 2006, soared in 2009 then leveled. Military suicides hit a record high in 2012. Exceeded combat deaths in Afghanistan in 2012. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta calls it an epidemic. All branches are suffering.
liveonearth: (tiger approaching)
A venturesome minority
will always be eager to set off on their own,
and no obstacles should be placed in their path;
let them take risks, for godsake,
let them get lost, sunburnt, stranded, drowned,
eaten by bears, buried alive under avalanches -
that is the right and privilege of any free American.

--Edward Abbey
liveonearth: (hand)

There’s a thread you follow. It goes among
things that change. But it doesn’t change.
People wonder about what you are pursuing.
You have to explain about the thread.
But it is hard for others to see.
While you hold it you can’t get lost.
Tragedies happen; people get hurt
or die; and you suffer and get old.
Nothing you do can stop time’s unfolding.
You don’t ever let go of the thread.

~~William Stafford

as accessed here
liveonearth: (Rain Lake)
Betty came by on our way
said she had a word to say
'bout things today
and falling leaves
the rest )
liveonearth: (Default)
The relief of suffering and the cure of disease must be seen as twin obligations of a medical profession that is truly dedicated to the care of the sick. Physicians' failure to understand the nature of suffering can result in medical intervention that (though technically adequate) not only fails to relieve suffering but becomes a source of suffering itself.
--Eric J. Cassell

notes )
liveonearth: (Default)
There is also a strong inverse association between coffee and suicide (up to 7 cups). We know that caffeine increases serotonin, so this should not be a surprise.
notes )
liveonearth: (Default)
This was so good I'm going to listen to it again:
liveonearth: (Default)
This is the sort of whitewater kayaking that is being idealized these days. Apparently this man had no injuries worse than a bruised thumb, but from what I see I say he's lucky to be alive and walk. Voluntarily submitting onesself to this kind of risk looks pathological to me. The fact that ever more ridiculous rapids are being run, and those who survive it being glorified, is worrisome.

((I removed the embedded video because the "user" removed it the day after I posted this. I guess he didn't want the attention...))

...on love

Apr. 20th, 2011 10:43 pm
liveonearth: (Infinity Knot)
As far as I can tell, life isn't worth living without love. For a long time I've lived without love, but only barely. I've wanted many times to jump off of something tall for a lack of love. I've fallen in love. I have a great capacity for love. There are many people that I love, have loved, still love. But to be loved back. Ah. This is what life is for, to love and be loved. It is like having two people adding fuel to a fire, instead of just one. One person loving is like building a fire with damp wood and no gas. Tending the flame is much work, and the fire dies when you have to leave to gather more fuel. You have to start over with just a match, and because you love, you work so hard to coax that flame to life. Two people can take turns, blow on the coals, bring light tinder and then small wood, medium then large logs. Two can build a blazing white man fire, or a discrete orb in privacy. Two can bank the coals and rest in the warmth. Yes, more wood will need gathering, cutting, splitting, and the ashes build up. Everything gets that smoky smell. The house can burn down, or the pot of chili get burnt. Nothing is for free. There is risk. There is loss. Still, it is the natural way. Life wants to keep living. Fire wants to keep burning. Love wants to keep loving.


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