Whack a mole

It’s whack a mole but with issues.

Just when you thought we had conquered certain problems, they come back. Despite its current unpopularity, thanks to Silent Spring (a book), we stopped using DDT. The real problem was that because it was cheap, the people who used it would use about a thousand times the amount needed. In those does it is bad for you. In lower doses, it just kills bugs and is the reason things like malaria disappeared from the US. Global warming and our pc nature have brought it back. Now infectious diseases, such as malaria, dengue fever (a real treat – there are FOUR strains and if you get one and then are infected with another you are MORE likely to get the hemorrhagic version – think Ebola – nice, right?) and others, are making a comeback in the US. Don’t believe it? The CDC reported in 2002 that the mosquito that carries Dengue had been found as north as North Carolina. More cases of the disease have been reported along the US-Mexican border. Sure they kill millions of people in the world but those are poor people in far away places so they don’t count. (If they did our pharmaceutical giants – who seem to be weathering the current economic problems just fine – would make more anti-malaria drugs and spend less on erectile dysfunction, which kills, I am just guessing here, zero people a year.) Our overdependence on antibiotics, and doctors I have talked to will tell you this, too – many people don’t think their doctor helped them unless they get a prescription, has lead to a drug resistant bugs, like TB. Washington, DC has a high rate of both normal TB and drug resistant TB. Back when my grandmother got TB it was called consumption.

If infectious diseases aren’t your thing, don’t worry. There are other problems that have made a comeback. If all pirates looked like Johnny Depp and Orlando Bloom I might not have a problem but apparently they don’t. Moreover they didn’t stay in the 1800’s – or whenever – like they were supposed to. No, they are alive and well and taking ships off the coast of Somalia and East Africa.

Maybe that’s too far away, too. Well back here in the states we have had resurgence of slavery. Human trafficking probably never actually went away, it just went underground. Today I read about a house in Falls Church, VA where 11 women were being forced to work. Depending on whose data you believe, the number of people being held at any given time ranges from one to four million people worldwide. An estimated 70-80 percent are female and 50 percent are minors. http://www.unescobkk.org/index.php?id=1963

And that doesn’t even include companies that just abuse their workers (Walmart I am looking at you). With the economy tanking it can be hard to think about anything else. I am probably in a bitter mood today but it just seems ridiculous that in 2008 things like slavery, piracy and curable diseases kill and hurt so many people. And we think we’re so advanced.

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