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Consider this …

By By Lori Dann
E-mail is a wonderful thing.
It allows me to communicate as often as I wish with family members and friends across the courntry, some of whom I haven't seen in years. With a single phone line I can actually send messages to anyone anywhere in the world at a minimal cost.
Sometimes my e-mail makes me laugh. Invariably, when I come into work on Monday morning there are a few jokes waiting for me, along with the more serious work-related messages.
This Monday, there was something a bit more thought-provoking. It was tagged, "Consider this." The text follows.
"If we could shrink the earth's population to a village of precisely 100 people, with all the existing human ratios remaining the same, there would be:
57 Asians
21 Europeans
14 from the Western Hemisphere, both North and South
8 Africans
52 would be female
48 would be male
70 would be people of color
30 would be white
70 would be non-Christian
30 would be Christian
92 would be heterosexual
8 would be homosexual
Six people would possess 59 percent of the entire world's wealth and all six would be from the United States.
80 would live in substandard housing
70 would be unable to read
50 would suffer from malnutrition
1 would be near death; 1 would be near birth
1 (yes . . . only one) would have a college education
1 would own a computer."
The e-mail goes on to say that, "when one considers our world from such a compressed perspective, the need for acceptance, understanding and education becomes glaringly evident."
No kidding.
When I was growing up, I always heard about how many people were less fortunate than I was. Sometimes it takes numbers such as these to make you realize it.
I'm certainly not wealthy, but I live in a nice apartment.
I am able to read, though I don't find the time to do so nearly as much as I should.
I have a college education and I use it every day, just as I do my computer.
And, most importantly, I have loving parents who took me to church and raised me to realize that I am one of the lucky ones. They showed me the value of hard work and taught me the art of compassion.
If they didn't, perhaps I wouldn't be so alarmed at what is going on in the world around me. Perhaps the shootings at a Jewish day care center or the other attacks on people of differing races, religions and orientations would be just another story on the local news.
If we would all try to be more accepting of those who are different, much of the violence could end. Consider for a moment how many of the world's conflicts are caused by differences in religion.
This week, for the first time since two students opened fire on their classmates and teachers, school resumed at Columbine High School in Colorado. A minister at one of the local churches urged teens to be more open to those who are different. The two gunmen were reportedly outcasts who wanted to get back at the athletes and other popular students with their act of violence.
If we could shrink Escambia County's population to 100 people, what would it be like?
You might be surprised.
You might feel very lucky.
Published August 18, 1999