As difficult and often scary as last night’s events in Ferguson were, they were not the only devastation that happened this past week.
- In Madagascar, an outbreak of plague has killed more than 40 people–2% of these cases have been pneumonic plague, a significantly more contagious variant that spreads though cough.
- Buffalo, NY was hit by a lake-effect storm that dumped 7 feet of snow and killed at least 13 people in just a few days. The city is now threatened with flooding as the snow melts.
- In Kabul, Afghanistan more than 40 people were killed by a suicide bomber at a volleyball match. Two soldiers were also killed in a separate incident.
It’s hard to look at that list plus last night’s events and not feel like all but one could have been prevented*–by fighting institutionalized inequality and racism, by addressing healthcare quality and living conditions…by… I don’t know what to say about Afghanistan or about war in general. I have to believe that there is some alternative to sending in troops and killing soldiers and civilians alike. But what that might be, centuries worth of smarter minds than mine have failed to identify. Then again, maybe smart isn’t what’s called for in any of these circumstances. Maybe what’s called for is empathy.
* If we take a hard look at humanity’s role in climate change, we could probably include Buffalo, too.