Saturday, April 20, 2013

So much for that idea, and Boston

Sometimes when stabilizing wine you get an interesting snowfall effect. We've been getting that outside here and we're all sick of it, but in a wine carboy it's really cool. After I stirred, it looked like it would be good, so I set up the camera. If you think of rasberry jam, and were prepared to wait decades for it to settle, that's what you'd see, only in 30 seconds or so. I consider this only marginally interesting, so it will only go up if someone asks for it.

That put me in the mood for it, so I started the iPad watching the snow. I was hoping for a nice snow build up effect, but it stopped. I let it run, and run, and run, hoping it would start again. It didn't so I stopped.

Then I went down for a spin session, and when I came up it had started snowing again. Now it's snowing quite hard, but the light is beginning to fade, so it wouldn't turn out anyways. Sigh. Winter has to end sooner or later. Another month ought to do it.

The spin session was not-sigh. Given what I've been going through with cranky legs I'm pretty pleased. When I got up this morning after a good night's sleep, my legs felt quite a bit better. Curtis supervised me through a morning core session, including some stability plank.

Later this afternoon I was on the bike, feeling quite a bit stronger. After a good warmup the main set had me pedaling about 100 rpm, and just over 200 watts for a minute at a time, with some easy spin in between. I didn't count, but the timing says I did 6 of them. This felt pretty good, though by the end I was beginning to feel it in my legs a bit. Good stretch session after, with a bit of timed plank, 105 seconds.

I've been thinking about Boston a lot this week, and it's still a bit chaotic so I'm going to write about it.

My first sympathies are for the wounded and the families of all the victims. It was a horrible event for all involved. Many of my friends are runners; I know people that have run Boston or would like to. There is a particular poignancy when you think, "that could have been me."

Next, while I love me a good conspiracy theory, I'm not one of those Infowars nut bars, and that's being polite. There are many events in which the American government emerges with red hands, but I'm pretty sure this isn't one of them. If it was an FBI entrapment plot, they'd have been reeled in well before-hand. How do we know? It's happened lots of times before. If it was a plot by some nefarious overseas terrorist group, the death count would have been far larger, due to the greater expertise involved. No, this was a couple of home-grown kids doing something crazy, for some yet unknown reason.

This is going to be sensitive for some people, so take a deep breath. Three people dead, so far, and some dozens losing limbs, and many others with various injuries. It's horrible, no denying it, but not easily preventable, at least not in the semi-free and semi-open society we have now.

In comparison, on average, about 90 people every day, day in, day out, die on American roads. Killed by drunks or those impaired by other intoxicants, speeding, being distracted at just the wrong time, over estimating their skills at coping with bad weather, or just plain stupidity. On top of those killed, there is some larger number of people injured, and all those families that have to cope with the fallout.

Here's the kicker. Almost every single one of those daily 90 auto related deaths and associated injuries is preventable. They didn't need to happen. Where is the outrage? Why don't we care that in a year, we lose a good sized town's worth of people? From an economic point of view, we lose the talents and potential of those people, we lose the injured while they recover, we lose the medical talents of the various medical staff that have to treat them, since the time spent treating these preventable injuries is time that is taken from other medical work. We lose the time taken off work by other workers to care for them. Businesses lose, and the overall economy loses. I'm going to slap anyone that brings up the economic gain of auto body shops, and replacing +30,000 cars a year.

Even more important is the loss to the families. Kids that lose their mom or dad. Parents that lose their children. Families that are ripped apart by a preventable avoidable death.

So yes, I mourn those three that died at the Boston Marathon finish line, and the other cop that was killed tracking down the bombers. I mourn the wounded. It's particularly cruel to see runners losing their legs. I anticipate mourning these people all over again as they get fucked over by the expletive deleted medical insurance companies. Those ghouls should be put out of business. The media won't cover that story.

But I also mourn those 90 daily premature deaths from auto collisions, and statistically there are probably about 9 a day in Canada. I mourn the many killed in gun related violence that is nearly as preventable. If that isn't enough, lets think about all the people killed by America over the past few years, mainly in Iraq, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, but lots of other places too.  Economic sanctions, direct military action, drone strikes, and a bit of good old fashioned torture on the side. Nobody knows how many have been killed and wounded.

And yes, let's not forget about the American side of these wars, there are lots of service people killed and wounded, to say nothing of those raped or assaulted by their so-called comrades in arms. There are lots of patriotic noises about that, that these people were serving their country. But really they are patsies supporting corporations that make a lot of money out of these conflicts.

All those preventable deaths. There are days I think of the Roman bread and circuses put on by the emperors to distract the populace from the facts of life, mainly that the wealthy didn't pay tax, and brought in slaves to do the work, so there was no work for what we would now call the middle class, which created a gradually failing economy. Eventually the bread and circuses weren't enough, and there were uprisings. Or a horde would sweep into town and sack the place because they couldn't pay the military to keep them out.

The events after Boston certainly qualify as a distracting circus. All the disgusting politicians trying to spin the events to support their own immoral ideology. The people listening to police scanners and tweeting the info. The various police agencies under enormous pressure to find the bad guy(s) RIGHT FUCKING NOW, and having to sort through an enormity of clues. Are these two REALLY the perps, acting by themselves, or are their others supporting them? The media chasing the story, desperate for a scoop, desperate to fill the air time. All of it lapped up by a population eager to be entertained, conditioned to expecting a happy ending in one hour less commercials.

Justin Trudeau got into a bit of trouble over the words "root cause". He didn't phrase himself well, but really, if you want to stop the bombings and the street shootings, you have to look at what the root causes of the violence are. You have to hold a mirror up to your society and look at it warts and all. You have to be willing to discuss the issues like grown ups, and make changes.

The first problem in the USA is that it's being governed by petulant children, and Canada isn't much better at the moment. That makes things difficult, but the brutal fact is that the bombings and shootings and random violence will continue. One can make a bomb out of household materials. The USA is awash in guns, and people willing to sell them to anyone who asks, even if they are foaming at the mouth. Don't even get me started about the recent background check vote.

The second problem is that the innocent suffer, not the politicians and corporate predators that create and enable the conditions that produce bombers and shooters. As long as the ones in charge don't feel the pain, nothing will change. As the immortal George Carlin put it, "They own this fucking place. It's a big club, and you ain't in it."


  1. Well said, Keith. Because of where we live, we get Boston TV as our US feed - 24/7 of the Boston Bombings. 'nuff said!

  2. Just catching up on my reading. Thanks for this, Keith. I wholeheartedly agree with everything you've said. We need to start seeing the big picture and doing something about it.


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