Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Too Fat to Fight: A Way to End Wars

The American military just released a report, which showed that 27% of young potential recruits were rejected because they were too fat to fight. So, the rising levels of obesity in this country are taking a serious toll, even on the American Armed Services. It was stated in the report, which was released this past spring, that this increase in obesity among the country's youth was seriously undermining the ability of America's military services to protect the country.

The report said that even those slim enough to serve were weaker and had less stamina than recruits from previous generations.  One Pentagon director told the Army Times last year, "Kids are just not able to do push-ups. And they can't do pull-ups. And they can't run."

So, some are beginning to conclude that the current obesity levels of both male and female recruits are posing a threat to America's national security.

But many of us adhere to the idea that for every negative, there is always a potential positive. So, I couldn't help but see the humorous side of things. For instance, do you think, this might be a way of ending wars. Philosophers, politicians and social scientists have always been engaged in the theory of how to end war, which is an inhumane activity that mankind imposes on itself, anyway.

So, just think, if we could increase the standard of living throughout the world, especially in what former Pres. George Bush called the Axis of Evil: Iraq, Iran and North Korea and make sure that everyone was well fed, then our so-called enemies might be less inclined to fight.

Perhaps, we've been doing it all wrong. Instead of torturing people at Guantánamo Bay and at the Abu Ghraib prison, maybe we should just feed our enemies tons of food. In this way, everyone would just get too fat to fight. This might end terrorism and the animosity that the United States faces around the world. As we feed people, there would be less reasons for them to fight, since they wouldn't have to worry about where their next meal is coming from, and if we give our enemies too much food, they would not be in good enough shape to fight anyway.

Instead of relying on the sale of arms and worrying about nuclear weapons causing a world threat, we can simply use our resources to give everyone food, and those nations that have held traditional animosities towards the United States could be given an excess amount of food.

Well, feeding the world is a thought and a good thought if it will end war. At worst, this country might be accused of killing everyone with kindness.

So, just think, if every person in the world could just get enough food, then, no one would go hungry.  Obesity rates would rise, as they are rising now in all industrialized countries.  Many young people of military age, like many in this country, would get too fat to fight. If this happens, then what country would need a military? Feeding everyone too much food could even lead to the end of the current military build up and the arms race around the world. After all, no nation would need a military, especially one that's in fighting shape, if everyone was just too fat to fight?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Thinking about the Unthinkable Again

One of my favorite expressions is, "Life is what happens when you've made other plans." I was vividly reminded of this expression on Thursday, September 9, when my crew and I were planning to tape a television show with East Palo Alto's Chief of Police Ron Davis and San Mateo's Chief of Police Susan Manheimer.

When it was time for the taping to start, Davis was present, but Manheimer had not arrived. We wondered where she was and whether something had happened. Unfortunately, something disastrous had happened. This time, life intervened in the form of a huge gas explosion that took place in San Bruno. At the time, we had been told in the studio that a plane had crashed. It was just this past February, seven months ago, that a small plane did crash in East Palo Alto. You can read my blog about the event in the Feb 19, 2010 blog entry.

Well, the day after the taping with Davis and the audience members in the studio, it was learned that Chief Manheimer was several blocks from the studio when she was informed of the explosion and she  turned around and proceeded to San Bruno.

We now know that it was a horrendous explosion that completely destroyed 37 homes, led to at least four deaths, and turned hundreds of lives completely upside down.  It's absolutely unthinkable the way lives can be destroyed and changed forever in one moment in time.

As life would have it, this Saturday, September 18 is Disaster Preparedness Day in San Mateo County. Coming so soon after the enormous disaster in San Bruno, this event will provide us with another opportunity not only to think about the unthinkable, but to try to prepare for it.  Given that the unthinkable is never far away and can happen at anytime, as we've seen with the San Bruno explosion and the East Palo Alto plane crash, it makes sense to do what we can to prepare for what we don't want to think about and don't want to happen.

Just as life is what happens, when we've made other plans, those involved in these two recent disasters can testify that disasters happen, too, in spite of whatever plans we've made. But as ironic as it sounds, while we don't know when the next disaster will happen, just as we prepare for events in our lives, we really should start preparing for disastrous events, too.

So, how many disasters will it take to happen around us for some of us to start the preparations? Who knows? But click on this link for more information about the San Mateo Disaster Preparedness Day event. Perhaps I'll see you there.

By the way, we did complete the taping of the television show I mentioned earlier. The show is called Redefining the Role of the Police, and you can see an excerpt from it here.


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