Small-minded American News

I am in one of my ticked-off moods at the U.S. news media. This morning’s seaquake off the coast of Indonesia has wreaked untold devastation, not that you would know anything from U.S. news outlets. Kudos to BBC for taking charge in delivering painstaking, breathtaking coverage.

My fear is that sometime during the next 12 hours that someone will figure out there are probably a bunch of U.S. tourists missing or found dead. Then, suddenly the story will tick off some headlines, but I’m sure nothing like the 24-7 coverage that followed 9/11. Right now, the estimated death toll—in six countries!—is more than 10,000, or more than three times the horrific loss from the attack on the twin towers. But, of course, America the small-minded country pays no mind. 

My condolences to the people whose lives the seaquake has devastated. Loss of life is only the beginning; coastal areas in six countries are devastated or destroyed. Apparently, in many areas, the tidal waves struck without warning, because the quake and its aftershocks occurred at sea.

In 1986, I took a sociology class taught by a professor who had just moved the Disaster Research Center from Ohio State University to University of Delaware. He said that in major disasters, sending food and supplies is often the wrong thing to do. He recommended sending money, which could be used to procure needed supplies through local channels. Influx of goods, even well intended, typically does more harm than good because of their impact on the local economy. If you want to help, send cash.