Humanity got on a long time without flush toilets, but now everyone looks for a toilet to defecate and urinate in when necessity arises - because proper disposal of waste reduces a community's mortality and morbidity rates. Most of these toilets are equipped with a sink, and though handwashing with soap saves lives by reducing infection rates and preventing the spread of communicable disease, nearly a third of Americans still do not use soap when washing hands and 10% forego handwashing entirely (Borchgrevink, Cha & Kim, Michigan State University: "Hand Washing Practices" Journal of Environmental Health Vol 75 No 8). The American diet is (by choice!) not only insufficient to prevent malnutrition, but is the cause of morbidity and mortality. We do not keep our homes, businesses or public places clean enough, nor do we keep our bodies clean enough. We pollute our air and water - and thus our bodies as well. Yet, over many generations, we are improving: it may be hoped that in the future, all Americans will look for a sink and soap, eat better and bathe - and stop polluting the air and water on whose purity we rely for health and long life.
The difference between morbidity and mortality is an important one. Not everything dangerous in life kills you. Tobacco is a dangerous product which does not kill. However, it causes numerous diseases, most notably for causing cancer. Yet tobacco remains widely used because it does not kill. Marijuana, too, does not kill: but it does result in numerous diseases of the body, including the nervous system, respiratory system, circulatory system and digestive system - no matter whether it is eaten, smoked, or rubbed on. And marijuana's popularity as an intoxicant continues to grow - because it does not kill. Not like alcohol. There is a false belief that morbidity is less important than morbidity - yet the cost of disease cannot be measured merely in dollars. Disease prevents us from accomplishing the full potential of our humanity and sometimes, in some ways, is worse than death.
Yet even something as dangerous as alcohol, which does result in both morbidity and mortality, is frequently used. Unintentional death by self-poisoning remains the #1 cause of death (CDC: Accidents or Unintentional Injuries Fact Sheet). The #2 cause of death? We drive too fast, we disregard our duty to the traffic laws designed for the public's safety and then kill ourselves - and others (CDC). And when our Police attempt to curb both accidental poisoning and traffic deaths by enforcing laws made for the public safety, we call it "injustice." By disregarding the law, we have lost our faith in Justice - even as we have lost a love for ourselves by disregarding our basic hygiene.
But we now revel in our filth, our misery. We burn our trash and modify our vehicles (which already pollute significantly) to purposefully emit more air pollutants ("coal rolling"), polluting the air - and hurting not only our lungs but those of the community's most vulnerable: children, elderly and asthmatics. We use our vehicles as weapons of fear, cutting off those who have wronged us; we deprive our homeless and our school children of proper nutrition out of jealous greed for our own meager wealth. We transform our political process from one of consensus, cooperation and harmony into an instrument of fear.
We have lost our empathy because we failed to see the value in it - as so many have lost their health and lives because they failed to see the value in it. Please remember, your life has value, your health has value, your empathy has value. Be careful! Be diligent! Take care of yourself. Do not accidentally kill yourself, or others.