A life is worth what?

A life is worth what?

Posted on June 14, 2011
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Good morning! Another day without the distraction of food tantalizing my senses ; )

So, I was driving to work this morning as I usually do, morning rush, always crazy, cars dodging in and out on the supposedly quaint but unreasonably narrow streets here in Kyoto.  Streets that are famously narrow with of all things, telephone polls that are placed 3 or 4 feet into the road from the side so that everyone drives in and out dodging each other's cars and the poles, school kids, bikes, dogs, grandmothers….

Almost to work, felt as if it would be an unusually uneventful morning when suddenly, this young lady, dressed in her standard OL black suit and pumps careens out of the street to my right without looking, forcing an abrupt stop from myself and the thankfully alert driver coming the opposite way… then she makes a wide right turn taking up the whole road and forces a high school girl off the road coming the other way on her own bike and casually rode away as if nothing was the slightest bit out of order…

As I righted my upset coffee, wiped my dash, checked on my passengers and checked to see if my days clothes were not in need of a change I found myself thinking about what had just happened and wondering just what was going thru that gals head. It occurred to me that in contrast to the immediate thought of NOT A THING AT ALL, she was hell bent to get to work on time regardless of the cost to herself, her neighbors, society et al…. And I realized that she had in her mind that getting to work was more important than her life, her future, her unborn children….

Time is money as they say, so that brings me to my question of the day. When did time, money and everything else temporal become more important than life?

The real problem that came to mind though was that as she thought nothing of endangering those around her, in the same way we are faced everyday with corporate monsters with the same attitude only with the ability to wield much havoc with tragic results. It brought to mind Ford motor company that in the 70's who was forced to pay huge settlements when it came to light that the popular ford Pinto was incinerating passengers after receiving what should have been inconsequential rear end bumps. To further damn them, it was discovered that they knew of the defect, which cost only something like 6 bucks to fix, all the way up the chairman of the board. And then they had calculated that it would cost more to recall and repair than pay the projected cost of litigation due to wrongful death liability from the projected numbers of deaths of innocent families…

Mitsubishi was caught doing exactly the same thing when their knowingly faulty trucks began causing deaths on the highways in Japan in 2002, and just a few financial institutions brought the worlds economy to its knees because of their greed for higher and higher profits…. Not to mention the abhorrent handling and cover up by TEPCO (tokyo electric power company) and their cohorts in the govt. of problems with the reactors that have and are melting down in Fukushima after having their cooling systems knocked out by the tsunami on March 11th. We now have radiation levels off the scale in millions of acres, radioactive cesium in the breast milks of northern Japanese mothers and the radiation is spreading across the seas, and after hundreds and hundreds of tons of radioactive effluent has escaped into the sea, more radiation will show up in the fish on our dinner tables in the months to come…

To add insult to injury, they are planning on trucking thousands of tons of debris from tohoku and incinerate it here in Kyoto. Of course there is problem of disposing the mountain of debris from the vast destruction but with the enormous amount of land that will not be habitable for THOUSANDS OF YEARS that would make the most sensible place to dump the debris, then we could just let nature work her magic over that time to return the debris to the dust from which it came. However that would not provide huge profits to the disposal companies trucking the debris half way across the country… once again, anything for a buck and not a thought that my babies live 3 km, 4 km, 8km from the nearest incinerators that will be pumping out poison soon…

Perhaps after seeing the tragedy and drama of the earthquake, tsunami damage and fallout of the reactor failures has heightened my sense of justice. If so, I am grateful for that. As a society, we must never assign value to anything greater than our lives. In this extreme tragedy, I hope it serves as a wake up call to us all to use land appropriately, to establish safeguards for the technology that we create to make our lives easier and more productive and to never shy away from the sacrifice required to help those around us that fall victim to our folly and unpredictability of life and nature. For after all, the lives of those people and the future that they represent is far more valuable than a night out, or a new ipod.

Hmmmm, a night out with dinner n movies for two is about a hundred dollars. A new ipod is a couple of hundred dollars. This would be a good time to forgo something and use that money for something of immeasurable value, helping restore the shattered lives in Tohoku. And if enough people did that, I could have a Kozmoz Philly CheeseSteak for dinner 😉

Just a thought,



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