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About two-thirds of people with chronic pain describe it as “constant”, and half of people describe it as “unbearable and excruciating”. I think about all of the miserable people in my psychiatric clinic. Then I multiply by ten similarly-sized clinics in my city.– About 7% of people have depression in any given year – About 2% of people are cognitively disabled aka mentally retarded – About 1% of people are schizophrenic – About 20% of people are on food stamps – About 1% of people are wheelchair-bound – About 7% of people are alcoholic – About 0.5% of people are chronic heroin users – About 5% of people are unemployed as per the official definition which includes only those looking for jobs – About 3% of people are former workers now receiving disability payments – About 1% of people experience domestic violence each year – About 10% of people were sexually abused as children, many of whom are still working through the trauma. Then I multiply by a thousand such cities in the United States.
And yet, even though I probably know about a hundred fifty people, I am pretty confident that not one of them is creationist. 1/2^150 = 1/10^45 = approximately the chance of picking a particular atom if you are randomly selecting among all the atoms on Earth.
These numbers might be inflated, since I took them from groups working on these problems and those groups have every incentive to make them sound as bad as possible. And this wasn’t supposed to be advocating any particular response, but I was recently asked to plug Giving What We Can’s pledge drive, and maybe one of the good responses to realizing how awful things are is committing to donate a little bit of what you’ve got to making them better. My anecdotal experience suggests that there are certain kinds of people who somehow wind up in these situations.
There’s also a really big problem where a lot of these are conditional upon one another – that is, a person in prison is not also in a nursing home, but a person who is unemployed is far more likely to be on food stamps. That some people, not through anything that’s obviously their fault, nonetheless manage to attract misfortune and accidents and drug-addicted in-laws and abusive uncles into their lives at a rate far greater than that suggested by chance.
About forty percent of Americans want to ban gay marriage.
I think if I really stretch it, maybe ten of my top hundred fifty friends might fall into this group.
She also has one grandchild, her only remaining joy in the world – but her drug-addict son-in-law uses access to him as a bargaining chip to make her give him money from her rapidly-dwindling retirement account so he can buy drugs. Ran off at age 15, got a job in a factory, married let’s say a waitress.