Bad things come in clusters

Having spent last day running around school and being nutso, I missed the news that two levees failed in New Orleans, and arrived home to find pictures online of total devastation that eerily mirrored the photos of the tsunami devastation in Asia.

I’ve been wondering, why do these things always hit poor people? Or, why do poor people always live in low-lying, prone to natural disaster-type places? Or maybe the rich, with their hovercrafts and supersonic jets, escape the areas in time while the poor must gather in the Superdome and stare in wonder as the top almost flies off.

Meanwhile, a much larger disaster occurred yesterday in Iraq as at least 648 people died after a stampede on the Tigris bridge. Shiite pilgrims panicked after rumors of a suicide bomber on the bridge, and men, women and children jumped off or were pushed off the bridge.

Let’s repeat that: 648 people.

It’s completely understandable why, for example, CNN has let the New Orleans disaster take over its front page, and all of the links to the right and below the top story. And as I write this, NPR is consumed with the news. It is huge and should be covered.

But in Iraq, a country that we currently occupy (remember?) 648 people died. That’s a ton of people. Maybe they could get the respect of a little news coverage?

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  1. You completely underestimate the death total here in the Gulf Coast and the seriousness of the situation. The WHOLE city of New Orleans is completely devastated and there are many more than 700 people who will die they just don’t know how many yet because they are not able to get that far, whether to locate them and because they are still dying. Please don’t be so cavalier in your noble concern for the difficulties in Iraq.

  2. Sitting here hearing constant updates from the Gulf area on the radio, and reading constantly updated news reports online, it’s hard to underestimate the devastation. If that has come across, my apologies. And maybe many more people will die. But while this disaster is terrible, disasters shouldn’t compete for the news media’s attention based on the numbers of dead, but sadly, they do. My goal here is to critique news media coverage, and the Iraq story is being overshadowed by the New Orleans story. I’d like to see them both get coverage.

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