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We Sweep So Much Under The Rug In America

March 8, 2013

On the front of the March 11, 2013 cover of Time Magazine, legless athlete Oscar Pistorius stands like a physical specimen held up by his prosthetic legs. The title reads, “Man, superman, gunman: Oscar Pistorius and South Africa’s culture of violence,” by Alex Perry.

“Don’t keep sweeping your troubles under the rug for someday you’ll trip over it.”  Taylor Wapaha

While reading the article, I felt overwhelmed by the statistics: South Africa # 6 in the world for gun killings, 88 percent rise in home robberies in the past five years and total racial separation. Black poverty skyrocketed after the end of apartheid.  Two surveys found: “…28 percent of men admitted to being rapists and 46 percent of victims were less than 16 years of age, 23 percent under 11 and 9 percent under six years old.  Out of 3.5 million residents of Cape Town, 2.1 million live in shacks without toilets or running water.”

“In the townships, vigilante beatings and killings are the norm,” wrote Time writer Alex Perry. “South Africa’s private security industry employs 411,000 people, more than double the number of police officers.  South Africa knows crime as a vast stretch of lawlessness covering an area twice the size of Texas.  As much as $50 billion annually is lost to graft and crime.”

Much of Africa comprises dictators and unimaginable human brutality toward women.  When you include the Muslim world’s honor killings of 5,000 women killed by fathers, brothers and husbands annually, you get a sick feeling in your stomach. While the world “rapes” Africa for its natural resources, its human residents suffer indescribable misery from Cape Town to Cairo.  Note Egypt’s internal revolution, Syria killing of over 70,000 and Libya’s ongoing war, Somalia’s starving people, Sudan, etc.

What about human nature in America?

In my Denver Post, another equally disturbing article appeared by Lisa Wirthman: “I felt like I was dying inside.”  (February 24, 2013) The rape victim said, “I was paralyzed by flashbacks, nightmares and anxiety attacks.”

Domestic violence in America:

  •          One in four U.S. adult women is a victim of domestic violence in her lifetime.  A woman in America suffers a violent attack every 15 seconds 24/7. Four million abuse cases annually.
  •          Three women are killed by a current or former intimate partner each day in America.

(Source: Centers for Disease Control)

In America in the 21st century in a highly educated society: rape and brutality continue without pause.

In the meantime, our country brutalized and killed countless people in Iraq in a war started by George W. Bush via the fabrication of “Weapons of Mass Destruction.” David Brown, Washington Post staff writer said, “A team of American and Iraqi epidemiologists estimates that 655,000 more people have died in Iraq since coalition forces arrived in March 2003 than would have died if the invasion had not occurred.”

When it comes to mechanized violence, our U.S. Military killed over 2.1 million men, women and children in Vietnam.  The total deaths from the 11 years of war in Iraq and Afghanistan may total over one million human beings.  How can our U.S. Congress act with such arrogance and self-righteousness to continue those wars for so long with so much cost and so much death? Yet, we sweep it under the rug and out of our minds.

War on Mother Nature succeeding

While we spend so much money on the “War on Terror”; “War on Poverty”; “War on Drugs” and other such “wars”, we fail dramatically.  Ten years of war in Iraq did absolutely nothing whatsoever to protect the United States of America. Instead, it ravaged a sovereign society and flooded our country with tens of thousands of Muslim refugees. Same with Afghanistan!

Notwithstanding, our “War on Mother Nature” proceeds with blinding speed. We humans, in the blink of 50 years and the invention of plastic, managed to create the 100 million ton Great Pacific Garbage Patch, the size of Texas, floating 1,000 miles off San Francisco. It kills millions of marine and avian life annually.  We have done nothing to stop adding to it.  No deposit-return laws worldwide—no nothing.


(Unfathomable billions of pieces of plastic washing throughout the oceans, lakes, seas, rivers and streams of the world—all created by humans around the planet.) Photo by www.thewritefuture.com

“The world’s navies and commercial shipping fleets make a significant contribution, throwing some 639,000 plastic containers overboard every day, along with their other litter,” said ocean reporter Richard Grant. “But after a few more years of sampling ocean water in the gyre and near the mouths of Los Angeles streams, Moore concluded that 80 per cent of marine plastic was discarded on land. There are now 46,000 pieces of plastic per square kilometer of the world’s oceans, killing a million seabirds and 100,000 marine mammals each year.”


(Endless plastic trash washes up on beaches around the world and kills wildlife by the millions.) Photo bywww.thewritefuture.com

In an Associated Press article by Verena Dobnic, “River of trash”, (March 3, 2013) she reports, “Just across the East river from midtown Manhattan’s shimmering skyscrapers sits one of the nation’s most polluted neighborhoods, fouled by generations of industrial waste, overflow from the city’s sewage system and an underground oil leak bigger than the Exxon Valdez spill. Oily, rainbow-slick water is filled with soda cans, plastic bottles, raw sewage and decaying food.  Ditched vehicles are stuck in the mud. What was once a watershed is now a sewage shed. Today, the creek’s bottom is lined with 15 foot thick layer of petroleum-based pollutants that scientists have dubbed “black mayonnaise.”


(Wildlife eat the plastic trash that eventually kills them.) Photo by www.thewritefuture.com

With endless poisons injected into our rivers, the Mississippi River creates a 10,000 mile square dead-zone at its mouth.  The Yangtze, Ganges and other great rivers create 20,000 square mile dead zones at their mouths.  Yet, we humans do absolutely nothing to clean up our messes all over the planet.

I’ve tried for 40 years to get Peter Coors of Coors Brewing to support a 10 cent deposit return law in Colorado. Instead, his money killed our deposit-return efforts in Colorado in 1974 and 1988.  Why do men and women with money and power in this country—do nothing for the good of our environment?   Why do the men and women of our U.S. Congress do absolutely nothing for the good of our natural world?

What would solve so many of the aforementioned problems?  Answer: first and foremost—education to create responsible citizens who care about their world, loving families, jobs, stable communities, recreation and a healthy natural world.  Is it asking too much for our leaders to work for the betterment of our lives rather than endless wars, profits over humanity and destruction of planet?

In the end, with another 3.1 billion people projected to be added to this planet within the next 37 years, is there any hope for civility, care about our planet and care about our fellow human beings?


Frosty Wooldridge has bicycled across six continents – from the Arctic to the South Pole – as well as six times across the USA, coast to coast and border to border. In 2005, he bicycled from the Arctic Circle, Norway to Athens, Greece.

He presents “The Coming Population Crisis in America: and what you can do about it” to civic clubs, church groups, high schools and colleges. He works to bring about sensible world population balance at his website: www.frostywooldridge.com

Frosty Wooldridge is a regular columnist for Veracity Voice


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  • Tokyofriend

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