Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A single death

I realize it is poor form to quote a genocidal dictator, but I'm going to go out on a limb in public on the interwebs and admit there is a teensy bit of truth in this:  A single death is a tragedy, a million deaths is a statistic.  Imagining the context in which it must have been said makes this... abhorable.  Yes, I know. 

I used to be quite the news hound.  I was in Germany the year the wall came down (though sadly not in Berlin) - that, um, made an impact.  Everything changed.  I used to watch the Sunday shows, read the papers... There was a time when I could name foreign leaders.  And I watched more than one hurricane drinking with friends and laughing at Anderson trying to stand upright in the wind.  But then I watched Katrina while sitting on the couch with my recently arrived son and I could not comprehend the incompetence.  As he got older, we got busier and less likely to turn on the news when he was around to hear about IEDs and fatality counts.  [Also, they had fired Aaron Brown]

I could go on about the whys and wherefores of why I wasn't engaged - in what I'm sure would be a yummy self-justifying defensive tone - but whatever the process I was starting to get sucked back in by the mid-east coverage.  The world was shifting - again.  And that's how I ended up watching the mother in Japan sobbing that her daughter was ripped out of her arms by the tsunami. 

The numbers will be horrific.  The video of the damage is surreal.  There were will be other horrors caught on tape.  That mom - - -

Words can't cover that.

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