Thinking Out Loud….

Thinking Out Loud…

I had an interesting phone call from a good friend who asked me what I thought of the shootings in Roseburg,Oregon. He said Ted’s Head was always thinking and he knew I would have an answer to the problem. Now either he was being patronizing or desperate to think I could solve one of our nation’s most intrinsic enigmas.

Just defining it is complex. We have this constitution that says we have the right to bear arms. Fair enough. There is also a clause that is not an amendment but a basic tenet that says we have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.Stress that life part.  Which right is superior? I don’t have enough brainpower to figure that out. Now I can consult my buddies and see which way the wind is blowing and find the issue divided even Steven. Probably shows my total lack of standards in picking friends.

But this one really is a bitch because for one it probably will never be solved, at least not in our lifetime. We want to have registration of guns and owners as well as background checks. This would lead to a national database that would be dependent on factual input and local adherence. Please note there are over 300 million guns in our country.

Now the VA wants to have a file that would put the records of all armed forces present and past into some jumbo computer. That hasn’t worked out very well. Homeland Security wanted to put together an identification system for guest workers.Ditto. The FBI spent over $500 million on a super computer program that never saw the light of day. I think you get the picture.

Maybe we can look at the problem from a mental health point of view. Let’s assume that 10% of Americans have some sort of mental illness at any given point in time. It could range from common depression to serious schizophrenic or bipolar debilitation. That is 35 million people give or take. We know right now that only 10-15% of that populace seek help even though it is proven that the cure rate or at least management of symptoms surpasses 90%. However our facilities and practitioners are taxed to the limit. What if we introduced another 20% into treatment That would be piling on to the tune of 7 million people. Forget about cost we just don’t have the docs and facilities to even make a dent.

This is where my eternal optimism runs headlong into my ever present pragmatism. What it really comes down to is by using percentages we tend to overlook the real numbers behind some serious problems and their ultimate solution. Take healthcare. The reality of actual numbers is shrouded in percentages. I can tell you that caring for ourselves has risen from 6% of GDP twenty years ago to almost 20% today. To most that is a vague number. What if I tell you that translates into $3TRILLION in expenditures per annum. Which number gets your attention?

Now the national poverty rate is around 8%. That is 45 million people in this great land of ours. Childhood poverty for those under 18 has fallen from 21.8% to 19.9 % Hooray! That means we only have 14.7 million kids that are at best destitute. Those living in severe poverty (less than $10,000 annual income for a family of four) are only 6% of the population. That my friends is 20 million people.

Now maybe you just put this down and have said no more this week big guy. I don’t blame you. I am not trying to have an intervention for you or me. Some will say that’s life and that is their prerogative. Some will wring their hands and say dear me the sky is falling. Me? I guess I am going to go on thinking and trying to figure out a way to make things better.

I have been looking at apps that can monitor our net worth and body worth on this index or that.Not many for solving poverty. I have seen we want to go to Mars while we can’t get Congress to authorize a highway bill. We have geniuses that can figure out how to bypass emission monitoring equipment but no one has figured out how to make an asphalt that doesn’t crumble in the winter. We have new materials that make airplanes more lightweight and stronger than steel but we can’t figure out how to eliminate rust and deterioration on our bridges and highways.

I continue to be fascinated how I and the rest of us focus on the petty or superfluous while we all kick the can down the road. I am not the Donald screaming and ranting how the rest of the world is putting us to shame. I happen to think we are a fabulous country that just has its priorities screwed up. We have a hard time thinking long term because our leaders both in Washington and the board rooms of America are short sighted. There is very little difference whether you are looking at the next elections or the next quarterly financials. Small minds think in short intervals. The big picture gets lost.

I am working on a project to figure out a way to clean up a small section of the Cherry Creek here in Denver. Is is a glorious oasis in the middle of a burgeoning spate of skyscrapers and apartment complexes. I have met the most wonderful people both inside and outside of government. I have gotten response where I never thought possible. It’s a little piece but I am passionate about it. Kind of feels good deep down. Not for me but knowing you can make a difference. Hope you didn’t mind my thinking out loud. Try it. It is good for the soul.

As always
Ted The Great


Stewardship is an ethic that embodies the responsible planning and management of resources. The concepts of stewardship can be applied to the environment and nature,economics, health, property, information,theology, etc. Are we any good?

Right now there are 1 1/2 million apps available to mobiles phone users.
There are almost one hundred computer games that have sold more than one million copies. Time wasted or well used?

50% of the world’s population has neither made nor received a phone call in their lives.
The cost to go to Mars by 2025 has been estimated at up to $500 billion dollars.You know that will go up.

In America, there are approximately 300 million firearms possessed by civilians, and 897,000 carried by police.
The Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms reports that about 5.5 million new firearms were manufactured in America in 2010. 95% of these were for the U.S. market.
Close to 33,000 Americans were victims of gun-related deaths in 2011 and an average of 268 citizens are shot every day.

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