Thursday, May 15, 2008

5-15-08: Natural Disasters

It seems like nature is fighting back a bit recently. With the terrible earthquake in China, the cyclone in Burma, and tornadoes all across the midwestern United States, it's not looking too promising for humanity in general. Oh well, we had a good run.

Joking aside, doesn't it seem funny how, since the Katrina disaster, one of the first things that comes up in the news is the response time and breadth of the government in the affected country? China caught a lot of flack from the international community with the bad weather last winter; Burma's junta is getting nailed every day because people think they're too paranoid; the Federal Government is still hearing it about Katrina. It seems so rare that people are praising governments for their responses. I think the only recent disaster that resulted in satisfactory government response was the tsunami in Southeast Asia a few years back.

I don't know if this is a recent trend or it has always been like this, so far as people jumping on governments for not responding well to disasters. Maybe it's just that the critics are more easily heard nowadays, or maybe it just helps to get better ratings. I'm sick of it, to be honest. These are called disasters for a reason: they're unexpectedly devastating. Of course governments and aide workers will have a tough time helping the victims. It's not like they're deliberately ignoring people.

I think this is probably more of an issue in America than anywhere else. We seem to have become a society that lives by the motto "sue first, ask questions later." Everything is a criticism. Everything needs to be perfect. Please, just relax. I know things can always be better, but it doesn't mean you need to call some paranoid military men in Burma "the Devil." Sure, they're probably not the best thing for their country, but they've been in power for quite a while now.

I think it's great that so many people want to help the victims in China and Burma, don't get me wrong. I think it's awesome that the Chinese are actually allowing Japanese aide workers to come in and help. There are positive signs in all of this, which is encouraging. But blindly blaming a government for not predicting such a disaster is not constructive. God forbid something like that ever happens where you live. Just say a quick prayer for the poor souls who have lost family, friends, their homes... everything. Don't blame a person or a government or a culture for a natural disaster. Shit happens. Stay positive.

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