"Man was born into barbarism, when killing his fellow man was a normal condition of existence. He became endowed with a conscience. And he has now reached the day when violence toward another human being must become as abhorrent as eating another's flesh." -Martin Luther King, Jr.
From the newest edition of The Onion:
God Damns Minnesota Vikings As Requested
LIBERTYVILLE, IL--Responding to a fourth-quarter cry from diehard Chicago Bears fan Lester Ruddick, God damned the Minnesota Vikings Sunday. "Players and employees of the Vikings organization," God announced from Heaven, "I have heard the pleas of Lester Ruddick in the final moments of a devastating 30-27 Bears loss to the Vikings, and My wrath shall burn forever against you. No supplication, no contrition can help you now. Every last one of you, from All-Pro wideout Randy Moss all the way down to third-string left guard Chris Liwienski, shall be damned to an eternity of pain and suffering."
Costas: What was the other thing that drives me nuts? Oh. Athletes proclaiming that the outcome of the game was a result of their faith in Jesus. Now, someone professing his faith in whatever forum, I respect that completely. But I just find it to be a subkindergarten view of religion to declare that Jesus, Allah or the man in the moon determined the outcome of a contest. This is an insult to everyone's intelligence. I mean, who believes in a God that is so occupied with irrelevancies and minutiae that he micromanages a football or basketball game but allows people to be shot dead in churches?
I came home early from work, around 2:00, and spent the rest of the afternoon in a NyQuil-induced coma. I never get sick in the summer, I must be getting old...
I'm always amused by how people perceive risks. A great book I once checked out from the ISU Library had a lot of these laid out before you, to let you know exactly how risky the acts you engage in are. Unfortunately, the book is apparently no longer in print, but this one might be as good.
So why am I writing about this? Because all of the news about the Firestone tire recall is getting old. Yes, fine, these tires may not be the safest ones available, and the manufacturer has issued a recall. But it's not exactly a great risk to everyone, or even those people who drive a Ford Explorer. According to CNN, 89 people have died in the U.S. as a result of the faulty tires. Now I'm not saying that those 89 people don't matter, I just want to put that in perspective.
Let's look at another product that people buy which has a chance of killing them. Tobacco. Tobacco kills 1200 people a day, that's one every 72 seconds! (Source) Now you don't exactly have to be the Curmudgeon to figure out that it's a heck of a lot safer to drive around in Ford Explorers than it is to smoke. Yet not only are cigarettes not recalled, people continue to smoke them after being informed of the risks!
I'm willing to wager that out of the tens of thousands of people who will get their tires replaced, there are a few smokers. I'll even stipulate that some of them will stand outside the dealership and light up while the mechanic puts their new tires on.
If you're so friggin' safety-conscious that you need the safer tires right away, why don't you take the cancer stick out of your mouth and extend your life another five years?
Below is a quote from my book Ranting Again by Dennis Miller, which somewhat sums up how I feel about this behavior:
Hey, don't blame the cigarette makers. Tobacco companies are being sued way too much. I admit they're evil poison-mongers who give other evil poison-mongers a bad name. Yes, they lie about the addictive nature of their products and get rich doing it. But come on, tell the truth, we knew they were lying all along. If you're saying you didn't know cigarettes were bad for you, you're lying through that hole in your trachea. Of course it causes lung cancer. Of course it causes emphysema. It's fucking smoke. Would you build a campfire and every hour stand real close and take deep breaths? How could you not know smoking is bad for you? Is having teeth the color of caramel corn normal? Is coughing up your lungs one smoldering loogie at a time normal?