I turned on the TV just in time to watch the second plane hit the tower on 9/11. When the tsunami hit Indonesia, I was glued to the videos. The same thing happened when the earthquake hit Japan. As soon as I heard about the volcano in Hawaii, I had to follow the latest update on the computer. I am morbidly fascinated by the details. I am a disaster Junkie.
I was reading about the volcano today, and ran across some posts. One was by a person who lived very near the lava, complaining about the constant roar of helicopters with tourists flying overhead. Another was by a nearby resident angry over the mass of cars parking on his sleepy street, usually by tourists who drove around the “residents only” signs. Obviously, I am not the only disaster junkie. Many people suffer the same affliction. If you doubt, just watch a gawker’s block as you drive past an accident on the freeway. If you suddenly realize that the car ahead has left you in the dust while you gawked, you are a disaster junkie also.
Early on, we watched videos of lava slowly crossing a street to consume a car. Other graphic videos showed “That house is toast” as the house caught fire. Later, as the lava approached Vacationland and Kapoho subdivisions, one wondered what those videos might be like. Then the lava didn’t just slowly consume one house at a time, but overnight covered all of the Vacationland houses and most of Kapoho. It was disappointing until I read the statement, “There were about ten holdouts still in Vacationland.” There was no escape route except the sea that was covered in the deadly laze. Suddenly, the disaster junkie mood dried up.
My wife was telling me about a woman who had been walking her dogs by an alligator pond. A witness suddenly only saw the dogs. They later found her body. She had been warned, just as the Vacationland holdouts had been warned. The problem is that we can feel so superior, saying, “they were stupid for not listening.” People who live in hurricane country can say to the volcano victims that you were fools for building there. Then the hurricane hits and they squawk. Now the people in earthquake country tell the hurricane people that you were fools for building there. Then they beg for help after the earthquake. We can keep this up for tornadoes, landslides/avalanches, fires, tsunamis, etc. I have heard lava victims complain that people are not sympathetic but critical. How often have disaster junkies joined with the criticism?
I know that I have that critical spirit as I follow the disaster. Unfortunately, over half the world population lives in disaster prone areas. There isn’t good alternatives. I need the sympathetic heart. These people have suffered. Some have lost everything they needed for their retirement and are too old to start over. Sure, I follow the disaster carefully, but pray for the people (and pray that my heart would be more loving.) Many people dodge the disaster bullet their whole lives. They feel superior and critical towards those who didn’t. What we forget is that we had nothing to do with it. Any of us could have suffered a disaster, but God in His divine wisdom kept us safe. We should be humble and caring in response.