When there is a particularly horrible catastrophe the one thing that will really haunt me is the survivors describing the dead bodies that they see afterward. I was reading about the horrible cyclone that struck Myanmar (formally Burma) which killed over 22,000 people with 40,000 people still missing. Hurricane Katrina was horrible, but it only killed 1,100 people. Think about that. And now today with the earthquake in China that has killed at least 9,000 people, it really makes me wonder why I live in a place that is seemingly invisible to disasters. We don’t have earthquakes, we don’t get hurricanes, tidal waves or volcano eruptions. The worst that could happen would be a unbelievably bad blizzard, but even that would not compare to these.
When 9/11 happened I had just started my senior year of high school and was 17. I remember that day so clearly and how shocked and numb I felt as I watched the news and the horrible images. The worst thing that I have ever seen was the footage of individual people jumping out of the windows 100+ stories off the ground. It just made it so personal. It was no longer a mass of people killed, there was now 1 specific person that I was witnessing the end of their life. It made it real, it made it personal. And now when I read the survivors talking about seeing “dead bodies” dotting across fields with loved ones crying and searching all around them for family members, it makes it real. It makes me feel guilty to not help in some way, to not be there to give them food or comfort them. I feel helpless and embarrassed. Why was I chosen to live in this perfect Utopian society in Denver, CO? I know we are not immune from disaster, but it sure feels like it.