Monday, December 14, 2015

Guns, Cars, Bikes - Sudden Death, a Proposal and a Prize

(This appears to be another chapter in my effort to alienate all West Texans)
The Nobel Peace Prize. Hmmm...
In my thoughts lately, peace has been taking a beating. I've developed a Lubbock barometer for it. Each day I look at two local news sources to see the list of car-based injuries/deaths and the number of gun-based injuries/deaths. It's a morbid thing, but it has become a very rare news day when one or the other does not appear. It's incredibly rare for both to take the day off.
Peace. I have been here long enough to know that suddenly losing a loved one destroys a person's peace for a very long time. Some people never recover from it. (We lost my older brother suddenly one year and seven days ago. I have known little peace since that day.)
If you pay attention to sudden deaths, you'll find that guns and cars are major contributors.
In non-local news, two stories have been ringing a bell for me this week.
The first one (the proposal) was pointed out to me (once again) by Lloyd Alter on Treehugger. Lloyd sent me to an Alissa Walker (on Gizmodo) article simply titled Ban Cars. Both articles are eye-opening and definitely worth a read. Some staggering numbers and concepts come to life with these articles: 1.3 million people die each year as a result of automobile collisions. Another 200,000 die each year from complications caused by air pollution. These numbers don't even take into effect the number of people who suffer life-changing injuries in non-fatal crashes.
Here in the wide-open Southwest, the thought of living without an automobile is a staggering concept for most of us, but it is hard to argue with most of the ideas presented here.
(Now for the prize)
My wife sent me an article from the BBC about some Italians who are promoting a Nobel Peace Prize candidate - the bicycle.

The article describes the bicycle as an "instrument of peace" that does not cause wars, reduces pollution and road casualties, and promotes child and social development. No wonder I love riding a bike!
Check it out here
Find it here
Ban cars? Give a prize to the bicycle? Yep, I know it's all crazy talk.
May talk of craziness lead to more peace and health.
More interesting reading on the impact of the automobile - It's time for a bigger recall of a seriously defective product : The Car.
Some interesting reading on the impact of gun deaths - Visualizing gun deaths: Comparing the U.S. to the rest of the world