Number of dead in hurricane vs. number of dead in Iraq today

The only place that this one seemed worth opening was in the Pit. It truly is a MPSIMS thread, but I thought better to open it here in case of fallout.

We don’t know how many people died in the terrible devastation of hurricane Katrina. Hundreds certainly, perhaps the number will climb into the thousands when they finally get it all sorted out the next few weeks. I’m sure it’ll take that long.

Interesting news story out of Iraq today.

Baghdad Stampede Death Toll Climbs to 953; 815 Hurt

Funny how when it’s “us” getting killed, it’s the biggest thing in the world, and when it’s “them” it’s just another news day.

I don’t need flamed, as I feel such sorrow for all those who lost life, loved ones, property and anything else in the NO, MS, AL area. Just beyond my comprehension, sitting here in Ohio, where I got three inches of rain. And no loss.

But does anyone else see the irony of a similar disaster in terms of human life taking place in another part of the world, and it is only a minor blip on the radar of my life?

Something just ain’t right…

Not really. It’s common human nature. The further away from you and yours, the greater the body count it takes to arouse the same degree of response. One kid at my school = 3 people in the next town = a couple of dozen in another state = hundreds in a country I care about = thousands in a country I can’t find on a map. I’m not saying it’s right…just saying it’s natural.

People care more about themselves than they do about other people, they care more about the people they know than the people they don’t, and they care more about people who are like them more than they care about the people who are unlike them.

As several other threads have pointed out, American floods are telegenic. Iraqi crushes, not so much. And 3,000 miners dead in China this year? Does anyone care? Certainly not the networks.

I seem to recall some talk of a tsunami in SE Asia/India ealrlier this year. Did you take time to get an Iraqi death toll during that?

We all know about Iraq. We saw it. We know. Really. But you’re fuckin’-a right that the stampede is not as big an issue to me RIGHT NOW, when we all know that Iraq has been fucked for a long time, new tragedies are common stories from there, and one of MY FUCKING GROOMSMEN might be a bloated corpse floating down Tchoupitoulas right now.

Also, NOLA is here. I’ve been there. My parents honeymooned there. I sang “Sittin’ On the Dock of the Bay” at the top of my lungs with a street musician on Royale there last year. It’s up close and personal.

And one other thing, the representative from the Louisiana Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness Agency was on CNN earlier with their first casualty predictions. They say there is a strong possibility that by the time this is sorted out, up to one-third of all the people who stayed in NOLA could be dead. That works out, according to his numbers, to close to 70,000 dead.

70,000 possible casualties. The magnitude should speak for itself.

No, when I read about the tsunami, I was also devastated. I can’t wrap my head around such a number of dead and suffering.

I didn’t search out an Iraqi death toll tonight. Or then. It just happened to be another world headline on my news page tonight. Just in case you think this is political…it’s not.

Human misery is not a contest.

The stampede was Story #2 on CNN, ABC, the Lehrer report, and my lo-cal CBS affiliate news. It was mentioned second in the PBS BBC News summary but first in the actual news part. FTR.

And oh yeah, what Case Sensitive said.

I dunno, samclem. I was watching CNN when the news broke. And it broke. And people are still talking, writing, and filing reports about it. It’s a horrible thing, but what do you expect, realistically? People to stop fretting about an ongoing American tragedy? People are going to continue to die in the weeks and months ahead, and the number of displaced and ruined people is utterly incomprehensible. It’s freaking huge.

Yeah, a big part of it is that it’s closer to home – or even just plain home – but it’s also that it’s continuing to unfold. We don’t even know how many people have died so far.

So much can be said about what is happening with Katrina and its aftermath.

How could you fill up the pages or airtime with news about the Tigris stampede? The disparity between the initial death counts doesn’t make the stampede an objectively bigger story. Billions of dollars of property damage and a continuing humanitarian crisis count for something.

Of course there’s more focus on Katrina.

Oh, and if you do want to be all reductionist and compare death tolls, in all probability there are more dead from Katrina. Just haven’t gotten around to accounting for everyone. Too fucking busy trying to keep on top of things.

It has been the #2 story all day, but any country would lead with its own disaster first. I am willing to guess that the nightmare at Baghdad is the #1 story in the countries near Iraq. I’m willing to believe Katrina is #1 in Canada and Mexico.

Further. Katrina is probably #1 in most of Europe, Russia, China and Japan as Katrina will affect the world economy.

What does any of this prove or disprove. I think nothing.

I have relatives that stayed on in NO as they are medical. (A Doctor and a Medical Biologist). So my concern is overwhelmingly NO and not even Mississippi or Alabama. I know of the other disasters, but I have been focused on New Orleans.

Whats the top story on Al Jeezera?

Now look on
Hell I couldn’t even find about the hurricane on Irans news page.

Yes I have a point, the point is for whatever reason nations closer to a tragedy, whether by heritage, or beliefs or whatever tend to empathise with those people involved closer.

It’s the Monkeysphere effect (it’s a humourous site, but it makes serious points very well).

Funny, you’re taking less of a beating in your Pit thread than I am in my innocuously-intentioned MPSIMS thread on the same topic. I suspect people like you better.

Last edited by samclem : Yesterday at 09:44 PM.

At least somone gets to edit his own OP. I heard about the stampede as soon as it was reported. What the hell is your point? NO being flooded is a tish more important to Americans than some Islamic group trying to kill another group of Islamics. Get a grip. You’ve managed to shit on corpses on both sides of the world with your political whim. This is what we can expect from moderators?

I know two people in Iraq, both former students of mine. Either of their deaths would upset me more than all of the Iraqis who died in the stampede today. For that matter, the death of my dog would make me cry harder than reading about the death of 5 people in a car crash in Oregon (a far away state picked at random- nothing personal). Does this mean that I think my two young friends lives are intrinsically more valuable than those of 900 Iraqis, or that my dog’s life is worth more than the lives of 5 human beings? Absolutely not. But I have personal emotional connections to the one and only intellectual acknowledgement and diluted compassion for the others.

I say with complete and total honesty and no sense of shame whatever that what has happened in LA/MS/AL affects me one hell of a lot more viscerally than what happened in Iraq today, what happened in Thailand last December, or quite frankly what happened at the WTC (which, don’t get me wrong, sickened me as much as it did most people). I KNOW people on the Gulf Coast (thank God the ones I know best are accounted for) and I’ve been there many times and the cultural impact alone of what’s lost in New Orleans makes me want to puke- the human tragedy, knowing that there are people screaming on top of houses while I’m writing on a computer in an air conditioned house, makes me feel completely impotent. It hit close to home. Fuck yourself if the fact it bothers me more than hundreds of people I’ll never see in a nation where I’ll never set foot. If we grieved equally for every tragedy we heard about we’d either go totally insane from our sorrow whenever I turned on the news or we’d be emotionally dead out of absolute necessity.

Hurricane Katrina was an abysmally horrific thing to happen, and I have been keeping close eye on the unfolding both here and through my local news sources. The number of people who have had their lives destroyed is truly mindblowing.

The riot/stampede in Iraq was also horrific, and my stomach turned at the thought of what those poor people must have been thinking and feeling as they were being trampled or drowing in the Tigris.

On Tuesday here in Victoria we had a rather nasty storm blowing ourselves. A group of schoolgirls were camping up in the mountains on an Outdoor Education program, when a bough of an old eucalypt snapped in the middle of the night and landed on a tent, killing young Alice Sloan (aged 15) instantly.

That’s the one that really shook me about.

It’s not about the numbers dead or the general magnitude of the catastrophe. Well, actually, in a way it sort-of is, because sometimes the mind just cannot comprehend the enormity of a disaster, so it focusses on something a bit more tangible like knowing someone who has died, or having been at that place where the event happened, or just imagining that it could have been oneself there in a different time. It’s not that people don’t care about other horrible events, it’s just (IMHO) too much of an emotional overload to focus on.

There’s just been too many rotten things happening lately.

Now I remember why I opened this in the Pit.

There was nothing political in my musing. Period. You may have put your spin on it.

Right. Many outfits tend to assign news stories to categories and those categories already have a niche, a time slot of the news broadcast or page or section of the newspaper.

Well, here’s the English language web edition of the Asahi Newspaper. Not word one on that page of this particular hurricane.

I think you’re right on that.

Makes sense to me: take care of what’s nearest first.

Hmmm…I suppose the link would help:

Accessed at 10:26 pm Korea Standard Time: the Asahi Shimbun.