Are there simply too many of us? Or could we maybe just take care of each other a littler better?

While I was being prepped for my recent procedure, we started with some small talk. But you know, that escalates quickly. I know what the nurses do for work, but when they ask me what I do for work, well...

We got to talking very quickly about the fatal shooting at a Waffle House in Nashville, which was still very recent in the public consciousness.

"Why does this happen?" one of the nurses asked.

"There are just too many of us, I think," I replied.

I know. I was undergoing a procedure to help alleviate a fertility issue so I can actively pursue making more of us. The comment here would commonly be, "so shoot me," but don't. People seem to be taking that literally these days.

When I was doing my thought experiment a couple of months ago, rolling back 50 years at a time to see how much we've advanced, one thing I found was that just 200 years ago, the population of the United States was about the size of New York City today.

That's crazy talk. Yes. There were "only" 20 states in 1818. But still, the total population of those 20 states was the same as are crammed into a single city in the nation's northeast today.

I wonder if one of the reasons we see shootings like Nashville and Parkland and others is that we're just not meant to deal with so many people around us.

Have you ever waited in Home Depot to get keys made? I'm not talking about showing up on Tuesday at 7 a.m. and having to wait for someone to figure out who's in the store at that hour with keys to the machine. I mean waited on a Saturday at noon when seven people are in line at checkout and five people want to have keys made and there's no room to form a line so everyone just crowds around and you crank it up to eight figuring if just one of these people dares to say they were here before you, you might just lose it?

Now imagine that you have no self-control. And maybe you have a firearm. How many of those people are dead, just because there are too many people waiting for keys? Too many people around, too much traffic on your way to the store...there are a lot of us.

I'm not suggesting you go out and start eliminating people, thinning the crowd, as it were. I'm really looking for us all to take responsibility for each other. It's really hard when there are so many of us. It's a lot to be responsible for.

But we have to do it.

I was born in 1976. At that time the world's population was 4.1 billion. Today, it's 7.6 billion. That's an 85 percent increase in 42 years. The "good news" is, annual growth is slowing down. The bad news is that the earth might only be able to hold 10 billion of us (actually, that's the high end of the estimate) If we think the slowing population growth will plateau at about 1 percent annually (it was 1.7 and 1.8 percent through the second half of the 1970s and throughout the 1980s), we hit critical mass in less than 30 years.

Just about everybody who might read this can expect to live another 30 years, so that should scare the hell out of you. If you can't expect to live another 30 years, you for sure love someone who does expect to live another 30 years.

Holy. Shit.

This might not be a call to be better stewards of our environment, or think about what we're eating. I for sure need to spend some time looking in the mirror on these and other things. I don't have answers there, but this little bit of research that I just did will certainly spur some looking around and reflection.

But it is a call to say, hey, you're gonna have less elbow room. People are going to continue to want to stay alive. People are going to keep having sex. We're going to have to be nicer to each other.


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