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We Can’t Stop Crazy

It has been a very rough entry into 2011.  On January 5th a kid entered a Omaha school and shot two school administrators and one of them would die.  Later on in the week, on January 8th an individual opens fire on a crowd outside a grocery store in Arizona.  Six people would die, and 13 would be injured (including US congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords).  These are incidents where body counts are irrelevant.  Both were tragic and both were carried out by troubled people.

These two incidents do have some similarities in their aftermath though.  Both have the public scrambling to lay blame and to find some way to “fix” it so it doesn’t happen again.  It seems like we as human beings have this innate ability to forget how things like this happen no matter what we do, or who we want to blame.

Around here, people seem to be focusing on the fact that a kid got a gun, and not so much on the circumstances that brought a teenager to the point where he felt this was the only course of action he had left.  Instead the finger-pointing goes to the gun, and whether it was properly secured.  This was a 17-year-old kid with a police officer father.  I would think that he would have some idea of how to get the key, and where the guns were stored.  If you read the comments many have made, more are concerned that the weapon was readily available to the kid, than they are about the why he felt he needed it.

In Arizona, this incident took a very large National stage.  You know what got lost on this?  That’s right, the person who did this.  Don’t get me wrong, this is an absolutely heinous crime, and one this person should pay a heavy price for.  However, all you are hearing about now is who is to blame for the man to carry this out.  I’m sorry, but cross-hairs on an online map seems pretty flimsy to me.  I get frustrated with the political climate all the time.  That doesn’t mean I am heading to Walmart to make a gun purchase.  I find it very sad our politicians have seen fit to try to use this as part of their agenda to destabilize the other party for its own personal gain.

Yes, we human beings are very good at pointing fingers and laying blame.  Unfortunately, as history has shown us, we are not so good at fixing the issues (whatever they may be) to minimize these events from happening.

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Hurricane Katrina: Have We Learned Anything?

Civil engineering and infrastructure repair in...

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We are closing in on the five anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.   It is sometimes hard to believe it has been so long since those worrisome events were set into motion.  A storm of rare size lined up on the perfect scenario to bring suffering on a scale that is rarely seen in our country.  The only thing that made such a tragedy that much worse is the inaction of a government that was supposed to be there to help the people in times of suffering.  I thought it would be proper to post the video below.

This show first aired on NBC in November of 2005.  The aftermath of what had happened in New Orleans was still very fresh on people’s minds.  In this time we rallied to the side of the journalists who, seemed to finally “wake up” from their slumber and hold the government accountable for what they had seen.  It was refreshing to see, but as many would agree it seems the media has crawled back under the veil and seems content to snipe at each other while real issues are not given their due.  Check out the video and see if you think anything has changed for the better in either the federal government or the media.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Why NASA is so Important

Recently, I had the opportunity to view part of an address that Neil deGrasse Tyson gave to students at the University at Buffalo this past March.  Tyson is a well-known American astrophysicist who has hosted PBS’s popular educational show NOVA since 2006.  He was asked how he felt about the recent changes to the American space program.  Tyson had a bit to say about this subject.

His words really struck a chord with me.  In essence he is saying that when we stop dreaming, or looking forward to the future we will be left by those that do still have the ability to dream and to look forward.  He goes on to say that NASA embodies this notion with its entire being.   It is an underfunded program that has always pushed the envelope of knowledge and technology.  It seems the powers that be have decided that the extent of pushing the frontier stops with going to near Earth orbit.

Many years ago there was a movie that came out called the Neverending Story.  The premise of that movie was that a great “Nothing” was gobbling up the entire world.  It was a world created by everyone’s dreams.  The underlying message of the movie was that once people stopped dreaming, they were easier to control.

There is something horrible going on with our country now.  We are so focused on short-term solutions, and how much things cost, that we are forgetting the long-term benefit of dreaming the big dreams.  When we stop shooting for the big goals, like going to the Moon, and Mars, we start letting the smaller dreams slide too.  Once we start down that slippery slope, I fear that returning to those bigger ambitions as a country will become harder and harder.  We will watch on the sidelines as we are passed by some other country that has the want, and raw will that somehow we lost almost thirty years ago when  Americans left the moon for the last time.

I believe what is going on with NASA right now is a warning sign that all of us would do well not to ignore. The “Nothing” is knocking on the door.

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