Despite growth, humanity has a long way to go

James Everetts

For a species that really hasn’t been around that long on the genetic timeline, human beings sure have come a long way.

Regardless if you believe that we crawled out of the ocean or were miraculously created in the Garden of Eden, humans have successfully populated the world, created a number of magnificent works of art and developed tremendous feats of technological innovation.

And while we should all be proud of the progress mankind has made, we may also want to reserve just a bit of shame for our failures, especially when it comes to those technological breakthroughs I mentioned before — or lack thereof.

But don’t listen to me, listen to Katherine Moser, a woman who learned just days ago that she will develop Huntington’s disease, which can make people jerk and twitch uncontrollably, and often renders them progressively unable to walk, talk, think or even swallow.

Amy Harmon of the New York Times detailed Moser’s horrific experience of learning she had the disease when she took part in DNA testing. The Connecticut native’s grandfather had suffered with the disease during his final years, and she knew the chances of the disease affecting her were high.

Naturally, there is no cure for Huntington’s — and that’s why we should be ashamed.

Here we are, a species capable of accurately predicting a disease that someone will suffer from years down the road, and we have no way of stopping it.

We see it every day — AIDS, Lou Gehrig’s, Alzheimer’s, Multiple sclerosis.

For all our success in the world we seem to fail in the most important department: the power to heal. We can take a heart from a person’s body and successfully place it into another, but we have failed to learn the secret to stopping some of the most destructive diseases.

And people just don’t seem to care.

We pass the signs every day. They’re on bumper stickers and street signs. They’re on bulletin boards and magazine ads. They are the countless foundations and clinics that are working every day to find cures to the weapons of mass destruction that we don’t realize might already be targeting us.

Now don’t mistake my opinion for judgment. I for one am just as guilty of ignoring this problem as anyone else. Up to this point my idea of contributing to society was sending $100 to the Red Cross after Hurricane Katrina.

And yes, I am ashamed.

I’m ashamed that the men and women who fight every day to rid the world of these horrific diseases are, for the most part, fighting the battle alone. I am ashamed that some of the strongest minds in the country — yours and mine — are wasting an opportunity to contribute in any way, shape or form.

But, again, don’t listen to me. Listen to Katherine Moser, who may start showing signs of Huntington’s as early as her mid-30s. She, for one, knows that any support is more valuable than none.

For as long as we accept failure, we can never succeed.

James Everetts is a broadcast news major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].