January 31, 2005

I Am Numb, How Can I Not Be

This is going to be another choppy post filled with flotsam and jetsam, just bits and pieces of me and my thoughts as encounter them.

I like being informed, that is, I am a newshound. I like the news. I want to stay abreast of the events of the day. I want to know what is happening where, it is important to me. But there is a price to pay.

There is an overwhelming amount of information to absorb. Hundreds of stories about humanity and inhumanity. There are stories of children who never live to see 10, lives snuffed out by monsters in the dark, and some of those monsters are their parents. Lives shattered and crushed by terrorists, by the ocean, earthquakes and so many other senseless acts.

There are stories of rape, murder and molestation. Victims whose cries for helps were ignored or laughed at. Unimaginable cruelty as wives watch their husbands murdered and children see their mothers raped.

The really sad thing here, the tragic thing is that none of what I have written about is made up. All of them are pieces of stories that I have read or heard about. Horror stories that would make Stephen King cry.

So the question is how does a thinking, feeling person deal with these things. How do you accept a world in which this happens.

Well, I am a little numb to it all. I can be upset and dismayed, but I cannot allow myself to be really upset by it all. It could occupy your entire day.

And at the same time how do you remain positive. Well, there are lots of stories of good. There are hundreds of stories of people doing nice things to help other people. One of my favorite stories is one I read today about Costco employees and their reaction to the recent train crash in Glendale.

"When employees heard the boom, they didn't even hesitate," said Roland Prydz, the store's assistant warehouse manager. "They felt compelled to go out there and do whatever they could to help."

Just after 6 a.m. Wednesday, as a dozen Costco employees unloaded crates and recorded inventory, the ground began to shake. They heard metal ripping, then a thundering crash.

Mark Zavali, a 20-year Costco employee, ran into the warehouse's backyard. He saw mangled trains, blood and fire. Zavali yelled to his fellow workers: "There's been an accident."

Minutes later, the Costco early shift crew ran a few hundred yards toward the wreckage, carrying fire extinguishers taken off the store's shelves.

"Everyone just worked together, and no one seemed to have to tell anyone what to do," Jenny Doll, 10-year Costco employee, said in an interview on Sunday, adding, "I am so proud I work at this warehouse."

And

"Firefighters and other trained rescue workers arrived within about 15 minutes.

But the Costco staff kept working.

More than 120 other Costco employees pitched in throughout the day. They brought muffins, coffee and water to rescue crews. They built canopies with tarps. They wheeled the injured on flat carts. They cooked 350 pizzas and 350 hot dogs for workers. They guided victims and rescuers to restrooms. They found shoes, pants and shirts for victims with ripped and bloody clothes.

The cost of food and supplies came to $10,000 for Costco, but money was not an issue, said manager Dennis Davenport, who helped organize his employees that day.

"It never crossed out minds how much we were giving or what the price was," he said. "You can't put a price on life." (http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-costco31jan31,1,6246621.story?coll=la-headlines-california)

There are a lot of good stories of happy, life affirming events, you just have to keep your eyes open for them.

4 comments:

Stacey said...

I hadn't heard this about the enormous support given by the Costco employees. It tempers the sadness to learn of such goodness at times of tragedy.

The Misanthrope said...

The warning signs will be when good-deed stories appear on a regular basis, which means that being good is rare. News by definition is generally bad or unusual. People are still basically good, if more good deeds are reported it means they are becoming newsworthy, which will be a shame.

anybody said...

"So the question is how does a thinking, feeling person deal with these things. How do you accept a world in which this happens."

I think you've answered your own question. You simply strive to live your life by making the right choices when the bad stuff comes down.

Nittai said...

I think we need to dettach. If we don't, it is too much to bear. But I don't mean that we mustn't care. I know what you mean, it's hard to love the world, to try to stay well informed, and to deal with all the bleak aspects of it.