Rapid responses are electronic comments to the editor. They enable our users to debate issues raised in articles published on bmj.com. A rapid response is first posted online. If you need the URL (web address) of an individual response, simply click on the response headline and copy the URL from the browser window. A proportion of responses will, after editing, be published online and in the print journal as letters, which are indexed in PubMed. Rapid responses are not indexed in PubMed and they are not journal articles. The BMJ reserves the right to remove responses which are being wilfully misrepresented as published articles.
Every spring, a bluebird flies down our chimney, gets trapped in the flue, and makes a tremendous racket trying to free itself. But birds cannot fly vertically, so eventually the little fellow falls into our woodstove, exhausted and defeated. Then we gently rescue him, take him outside, and watch him fly away. Like the bluebird, mankind is trapped, unable to escape or ascend. And man is waiting for the gentle hand of kindness to lift him up.