First let me state the obvious. I am shocked and horrified at what has happened (and what is continuing to happen), and I feel awful for the people of Japan. Japan is a great nation, a steady ally of ours, and possesses a culture I greatly admire. They are a smart, disciplined people (much more so than the general population of the U.S.), and I have faith in their ability to endure this mighty struggle. That having been said, this will not be a “look how bad things are” piece. You can read that kind of stuff and see the accompanying images and video from countless other sources. I’m gonna instead do what I do best, and that’s take a look at the patterns of media hoopla and the online reaction that I’ve noticed here in America. Just a few things I’ve seen that I wanted to quickly address.
-I know it’s the job of reporters to chase the story, but I just find something exploitative about the fact that mere days after something like this happens, with bodies still washing ashore, media outlets from around the world dump thousands of reporters and cameramen on the disaster area looking for a story, looking for the saddest or most uplifting angles they can find. Yeah, we wanna know what’s going on, but at what point do you just wish we would leave these people alone for a few days? I don’t need a second-by-second account of what’s going on there. Let the Japanese reporters do that for their own people. How many different everyday Japanese people do we need to see giving their accounting of the events? And how many brokenhearted, hungry, weary people did you stick a microphone and camera in front of before you found one that would tell you what they saw? I dunno, it just rubs me the wrong way. But this is the 24-7 media world we live in, and I understand what that entails. I’d just like to see some more civility, and less “Oh, we just found ANOTHER starving family whose house was washed away. Let’s go talk to them!” Yeah, we get it.
And again, I want to be crystal clear, this isn’t me whining about hearing too much about Japan. I’m saying this kind of complete saturation of coverage in the immediate aftermath is insensitive to the people most affected. Offensively so in my view.
-Speaking of the media, enough with the constant updates and estimates on the death toll. Why is this so friggin important? Is there a scoreboard somewhere? I doubt the people of Japan, most notably the families of those lost, care where this tragedy ranks on the all-time list of “deaths caused by natural disasters.” A lot of people -too many- are dead. Let’s leave it at that until there actually IS a final tally. Two days ago, we were almost certain the number of dead was just over a thousand. Today, I’m hearing that it’s likely at least 10,000. Well that’s a pretty big discrepancy is it not? Again, GIVE IT A GODDAMN MINUTE. The people at the Guinness Book of World Records can wait.
-Predictably, as the attention has turned towards possible nuclear reactor meltdowns, the discussion at home has turned to whether or not Americans should be supporting nuclear power. Well, it’s a bit late for that discussion, since we already have 104 nuclear facilities across the country. What are we gonna do, close em all down and switch to solar? Let’s be both reasonable and realistic. Yeah, it’s pretty scary that two of the plants in California near the coast are within range of the San Andreas Fault, and are supposedly only equipped to handle up to a 7.5 magnitude quake. Well, maybe we should have considered that YEARS AGO when the plants were approved and built. Aside from a natural catastrophe or terrorist attack, nuclear power is safe. It’ll be decades before we come up with an alternative energy source that will even come close to replacing nuclear power en masse. Until then, I don’t see any alternative other than investing in making the plants we have now safer. And if you’re THAT concerned about a meltdown at your local plant, MOVE!
-The internet reaction on the social networks has been similarly illogical and annoying. Typical of events like this, the first thing you saw online from most people was “I’m praying for the people of Japan” or something to that effect. O RLY? So let me get this straight, you want God to intervene on behalf of the people of Japan? Okay, that’s fine. However, is this the same god that allowed something like this to happen in the first place? And you’re what, asking him to please hurry and clean up his mess? What the hell sense does that make? Does anyone else see the complete lack of logic there? I really, really wish people would think before they go public with their ideas. Most people don’t bother to think before they speak, but you have plenty of time to think before you type. Shit, you can even think some more AFTER you type, and then erase the stupid stuff! Me, I’m just asking the questions. If there is a god, and he has a “reason” for allowing this to happen, I for one am not gonna ask that same a-hole to help the people he’s just ruined. If you can separate the god who doesn’t prevent this sort of thing and the god you now want to help these people, then so be it. Maybe you believe in multiple gods, good and evil. Maybe Hades caused the earthquake and tsunami, and you’re praying to Zeus to fix Hades’ mess. What do I know.
I’m trying to keep this right around 1,000 words, so there you have it. My thoughts continue to be with the good people of Japan, but I ain’t pickin up the phone and calling on God to fix this. The strength and will of the Japanese people and her friends around the world will turn the tide on this atrocity. This is the kind of situation worthy of sending our troops and aid abroad. If only we had about 50,000 fewer soldiers acting as social workers in the desert, they could have been sent to Japan for a worthy cause.
“Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then He is not omnipotent. Is He able, but not willing? Then He is malevolent. Is He both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is He neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?”