My empathy meter goes through the roof with these kinds of disasters. I don't know how to be callous to it, but sometimes I wish I did. Like this morning when I clicked on a CNN link about the storms, and on the top of the page was a picture of a woman comforting a dying dog amid the debris.
Who chose to use that photo, front and center, with that story?
I know, I know, "if it bleeds, it leads", but give me a break. Then, I see a video all over facebook; An elderly woman is being interviewed while she searches through the rubble that was her home. She is talking about how she hid in a small bathroom holding on to her dog, and how after the house collapsed, she lost him, when the reporter says, "Oh, look! A dog!" And that's when you see the woman's badly cut and bruised arms trying to lift that debris off of her beloved dog. And then you see his sweet little face peeking through the pile-of-stuff-formerly-known-as-house, frightened eyes pleading to be rescued. The scene cuts, apparently to omit a few minutes of her trying to lift stuff in order to free him, and finally, you hear her plead, no, more than plead - she begs, "Oh, help me! Help me!"
Finally, either the reporter's arm or a crew member's arm reaches in and helps her lift a heavy looking sheet of something or other up just enough that the dog is able to come out of his buried alive trap of rubble.
Why, WHY did this poor old lady even have to ask?! WTF?!
Have we really lost that much of our connections to others that we can stand by filming, watching this struggle and do nothing to help until asked?
Because if it is, maybe we do deserve this kind of devastation. Maybe we need this kind of loss to change our ways. Maybe it's our collective karma kicking our asses. Maybe my empathy and that of those, who like me still have it, is simply not enough to suffice, to offset all of the douchery and ass-hattery of today's modern society, what, with all the suicide bombers, kidnappers and rapists, sadists, and the bigots.
And then there's the politicizers- you know, the politicians, wannabe politicians, pundits, and general dick heads who can't wait to turn even a tragedy of this magnitude into a political cry for or against some policy or another.
True, everything is political, when you get down to it. I realize that. I understand how it works, the connectedness of it all. But I want people to just wait a minute or two before going on the rampage about federal relief funding, about god's wrath for our sins, and the need for prayer and about all the garbage that gets tossed around. Just stop and think, what would I want to hear if I was searching through rubble for my family, for my belongings, for my child...
I'd probably just want to hear, "How can I help you right now?"
And that's really all those people should be hearing from us.