The 1989 Sioux City plane crash caused 112 deaths but 184 survived! How often do we have survivors in a jetliner crash? One would expect these survivors to become religious zealots and to avidly buy lottery tickets. Instead there were more lawsuits filed by survivors than by the families of the dead. Go figure. Surviving a horrific plane crash is a pretty decent solution by itself and should leave the survivor eternally grateful to their maker, yet the plaintiff lawyers would not hesitate to fashion it into a legal problem that would generate cash instead of blessings. I often wondered how much of that cash was donated by the survivors to a charity or church of their choice, or how much of it went into plane crash prevention. The tragedy of 9/11 is a similar example where a horrific event becomes a kitty bank for the survivors.
I was highjacked flying on China Air from Beijing to Shanghai in December 1991, and ended up in Fukuoka Japan with 17 other americans. A lot of delays and disruptions but no injuries. I wonder it I had a case. I did have a couple of nightmares come to think of it. I guess it is too late now. At Fukuoka airport, after we were released, we were literally mobbed by the Japanese paparazzi, with all their Sony and Toshiba equipment clicking and flashing at us. Before I was pushed into a cab, I saw across the car top a tall dirty blonde american-looking woman. She said she was from NBC and asked me: “Any violence? anybody got hurt?”. When I said I did not think so, she swiftly walked away with disdain in her step. I robbed her from her story I guess.
Let us now take a look at the Japanese tsunami of 2011. Very scary and devastating event that drags on and on, causing a meltdown in the Fukushima nuclear plant among other catastrophes . The people banded together, with no complaints to speak of, and went about the task of rebuilding their country as soon as humanly possible. They did that religiously after each and every earthquake and after WWII, Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The Asian culture heightens and glorifies personal responsibility. It is singularly focused on solving problems versus pointing fingers on who dunnit. The former action is a lot more complicated and requires consensus, time and hard work; the latter is a quick fix and gives the public pounds of flesh to appease it, embellished by media sensationalism and the works.
The “quick fix” culture is pervasive in our very government with its sidekick “kick the can down the line”. This is why we are having such a difficult problem resolving long-term problems such as taxes, healthcare, entitlements, immigration, national debt, etc.
Prevention works and it is the perfect solution yet it is incomprehensibly mired in problems in this country and most western countries: First and foremost, it threatens the business of big pharma, big hospitals, big health insurers and a large herd of various providers. How can we consume it? how can you pay and reimburse for it? If it starts working lots of people will have to start packing as they became obsolete. Second, it is not a quick fix and it requires daily hard work and focus. You cannot get it in a bottle or by pressing a button. You actually have to WORK at it. Bummer!
On this note, I will leave you with a quote from Albert Einstein: “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we had in creating them”. He is said to have defined “insanity as repeating the same behavior and expecting different results”