Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Shout out to all stupid texting drivers. (You're all stupid)

I'm so sensitive to drivers that are texting.  I see you everywhere!  I can spot you from far away.  Your car has that hesitant, meandering tack to it, like a tipsy drunk, weaving and lurching down the road.

When I pull alongside, there you are, paying more attention to your phone than to your driving.  More attention to your messages than my kids buckled in the back seat.  Way more attention to that tiny screen, than to the lady pushing the stroller into the crosswalk, that abruptly stopped at the curb, when you didn't.

You are rude.  You are careless.  You are thoughtless.  You shouldn't be on the road.  There are laws to punish you for texting while driving.  Yet, you can't help yourself.  You're addicted to your text messaging

Do you know what the definition of an addiction is?  First, an addict continues to perform their addictive behavior despite all costs or consequences.  Second, an addict uses their addiction to soothe themselves, or to get a positive emotional result.

What is it for you?  What hole are you trying to fill with texting that would be worth your life, or my life, or the lives of my kids that are peacefully strapped into their seats, trusting that everyone is being smart and safe.

But you're not safe, nor smart.  You're stupid.  You are oblivious to the carnage that you can cause when you're distracted.  Two cars moving at 35 miles per hour emit a lot of energy when they collide.  That energy transfers onto the occupants that are ill-equipped to absorb tons of kinetic energy.

Do you have any idea what that could look like?  Take a look at this.

Statistics prove that reaction times are slower for texters than for drunk drivers.  Texting while driving is dangerous.  It's stupid.  It's careless and it's thoughtless of the safety of others sharing the road that are depending on everyone to be responsible and safe.

Stop texting while driving people! When will you texters take responsibility?  When will the rest of us be assertive to let texting drivers know how we feel?  What can we do to get these menaces off the roads?

Friday, September 25, 2009

Who should die first?

How many Americans are surprised at the unfolding depth and breadth of the homegrown terrorist plot linked to a Colorado man alleged to be a stateside al Quaida operative?  Najibulla Zazi is the 24-year-year-old Afghan native, now enjoying legal U.S. residency, charged with planning the construction and detonation of potent hydrogen peroxide bombs in New York City.

Zazi was in contact with several other al Quaida agents in the U.S. as he traveled from his Denver home to New York City around the 9/11 anniversary earlier this month.  This breaking story should be a wake up call to anyone that has fallen into a sense of complacency.  Terrorists aren't quitting.  They feel justified that their cause is warranted and demanded by their god and so their passions for their terrorist activities are deep and fervent.

As laymen, most U.S. citizens are ignorant to the diligent efforts that our security forces employ every day to keep us safe.  Homeland security must remain a top priority and every citizen needs to unite in supporting the government's efforts to keep us safe.

The religious zealots that are plotting to kill us will not stop any time soon.  Therefore we can't stop preparing and working to root out the terrorists plotting against us while they quietly live and work in our American towns and cities.

The Salt Lake Tribune reports that in one day this week, four separate terrorist plots were discovered and thwarted.  Two plots involved planned car bombs in Illinois and Dallas, Texas, reminiscent of the 1995 Murrah Building bombing in Oklahoma City, killing 168 innocent Americans, including 19 children.

The Dallas bomb plot involved the 60-story Fountain Place office building, the target of a 19-year-old Jordanian man.  The suspect was given a fake bomb by an undercover FBI agent, the Tribune story reported.

Stay alert!  Stay faithful!  Stay united!  Terrorists live and die to tear our country apart, hoping to watch us crumble.  Muslim radicals think that our destruction is their religious mandate.  They will not stop.  This means that we cannot stop either.

Who should die first?  Us or them?  Do more American children and their parents have to die by more bombings on quiet beautiful mornings before all Americans will finally unite in homeland security efforts?  Those efforts include offensive war abroad such as in Afghanistan, Iraq and beyond where terrorists hide, plan and train.  Who should die first?

Friday, September 18, 2009

Cover your damned mouth!

I had just arrived at my favorite convenience store to refresh myself with an ice cold Dr. Pepper.  It was a muggy, dirty day and my car's AC hasn't been purring like a kitten the past few....well, all summer actually.  So, long story short, I was t-h-i-r-s-t-y.

I strode through the door, a man on a mission, beelining for the fountain drinks.  Five seconds of fast walking got me halfway to the fountain of refreshment when in a split second, my entire situation changed.  Ten feet away, stepping back from the fountain, was a young man.  A laborer, by the look of his clothes and sun-darkened skin.  He was 10 feet from me.  He wore a dirty shirt and tattered jeans.  He held a brimming soda cup in each of his dirty hands, condensation beading up on shiny white plastic cups like frost painting a winter's window pane.  What a luck man!

In the split second between stepping back and turning, he began to raise his left hand, as though to draw icy refreshment through the protruding shiny red straw.  Beads of condensation began to run down the sides of the cup.  Refreshment was imminent and I couldn't wait to get mine.

In the next split second he lurched his head spasmodically forward, thrusting his jaw and head away from his shoulders as though his collar bones were on fire, needing to get as far from them as possible.  And in an instant, he exploded.  Not from the imagined fire in his shoulders.  His mouth exploded, with a gigantic spray as he sneezed - uncovered and unashamed - into the closing gap between me and the fountain of refreshment.

A droplet of condensation splattered on the store's dirty floor.  Time froze.  Aerosolized sputum rained to the ground and I was certain that before freezing in my tracks, I felt their mist settle on my forearms.

My reaction was fast and furious.  "Cover you damned mouth," I sternly fired at him.  He shuffled past me without a second glance, seemingly oblivious to what had just happened.  After returning to the fountain from washing my hands, I wondered how many others were behaving so carelessly?

Simple things will give everyday people a chance to break a pandemic.  H1N1 is a looming healthcare phenomenon right before our eyes, heralding back to days that we never dreamed could impact hemispheres of the earth again.

Simple things will make the difference.  Washing our hands.  Washing them often.  Washing them right....often.  Covering our mouths the right way is another simple thing.  Health experts suggest coughing or sneezing into the crook of the elbow is a great way to minimize the spread of droplet-borne diseases.  Hands stay clean, and the droplets are absorbed into the sleeve's fabric.  This site shows you how.

If you can't remember these simple things, just remember to cover your damned mouth!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

How can we be so ungrateful?

I was in my dentist's waiting room that infamous September morning. Pearl Harbor of the new millennium was vividly playing out on television as repetitive clips of airliners slicing into the World Trade Center towers played again and again, as though news producers were hoping that the next replay would have a better outcome. As the day wore on, one unbelievable story after another interrupted the loop of video clips.

I've seen some crazy and unbelievable things on this job, but as the sun set on that day, I was numbed by what I had witnessed. I remember an announcer stating that America had entered a new era; terrorism had struck American soil and our lives were never going to be the same.

President Bush came to ground zero and inspired everyone there. Thousands of New York firemen, police and emergency services workers rushed to help strangers. We watched as many of them died beneath the collapsing towers. As the day wore on, piece by piece, bucket by bucket, they searched for survivors. They searched for strangers that they had never met. Giving the best of themselves in a dark hour, Americans rallied to bolster each other and gave what they had to help someone, anyone, that they didn't know that had either survived or was beneath the rubble.

9/11 is the greatest tragedy I have seen in my lifetime. It won't be the worst tragedy I will see in my lifetime. Already, only eight short years after Islamic fundamentalists committed mass murder in the name of their god, Americans themselves are turning on their country and beginning to wander down a dark path that is weakening America, softening it for a knockout punch by another terrorist movement.

Yesterday I followed a car displaying a bumper sticker that read "I'm already against the next war". I shook my head. Earlier that day I had watched a documentary that revealed the living casualties of the Iraq and Afghanistan war efforts. Young Americans are serving in these wars to preserve what the 9/11 terrorists wanted to destroy; freedom, democracy, liberty, all that we take for granted every morning when we awake.

Almost 3,000 Americans died from the 9/11 attacks. Another 5,000-plus have died fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. These numbers don't reflect the tens of thousands of lives that are affected by the death of that one individual. The numbers are terrible. But more terrible would be the death of the American way that we seem to be taking for granted each day. While certain death unfolded above them, rescuers rushed to help eight years ago today. Every day, frightened soldiers rush forward to do their part to ensure that tomorrow we can again awaken unmolested one more peaceful morning. You can send them your support here.

Yet, there are dissenters, conspiracy theorists and protesters that clamor and accuse. They are tearing our country down from within. Our constitution gives them the freedom to do that. Yet, citizen treason in the name of constitutional rights is still treason.

It seems a time to build nationalism and to build America to withstand what is a predictably violent future. It is time to pull together to preserve this country that we love. It is never a time to pull against each other. We live in the greatest country in the history of the modern world. We wake up everyday to the peaceful routine of our lives. We can't be naive to the plotting terrorists that are waiting for their next chance to attack. We can't be naive to the sacrifices made to preserve our peaceful way of life. How can we be so ungrateful? What will you do today to contribute to make America strong?

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Breaking a pandemic

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) issues a weekly report on the latest developments regarding the H1N1 virus, aka Swine Flu. Earlier this summer the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that H1N1 had become a pandemic, affecting populations throughout the world.

This strain of influenza is unique in a couple of ways and current areas of concern from the CDC are the effects that this flu has on the younger demographic. CDC estimates that over 1 million Americans have been sickened by swine flu, resulting in over 8,000 hospitalizations this year, and over 550 deaths. Over 40 of those deaths have been of children. These statistics were just published in the CDC's Journal of Morbidity and Mortality and reflect numbers compiled since April 2009 when swine flu was first identified within U.S. borders.

As our country prepares to enter the traditional flu season, health care officials from all levels are voicing quiet and terse concern regarding what this flu season might hold. Influenza is traditionally unpredictable, say epidemiologists. Early pre-season predictions from CDC officials calculate that over 120 million Americans will come into contact with the swine flu, and that over 90,000 could die from complications associated with H1N1 infection. That figure is more than double the deaths recorded during flu season.

As school resumes, the CDC encourages grade school educators to teach their students important skills to break the cycle of infection. Simple tactics such as frequent and effective hand-washing. Teaching youngsters to sneeze into their shirt sleeves, or the crook of their elbow, can reduce the spread of infection from contaminated hands.

Can smart handwashing and smart sneezing break a pandemic? We're going to see as this flu season unfolds.

For more info click here.