Sunday, March 13, 2011

Why Don't Earthquakes Scare Me?

It's been several months since the bombing in Moscow's Domodedovo airport. Today it is time for me to write about it. Indirectly.

When I found out which airport in Moscow had been bombed, I completely freaked out. I had an anxiety attack and felt anxious for several days. The bombing took place at the international baggage claim. I've traveled through that airport several times and the fact that it was the international area made it even worse. For several days all I could think about was "What if there's some kind of terrorist act while I'm in Russia? What if I get hurt or killed or something?"

Yesterday Japan was hit by an earthquake. The last time I checked the death count was over 2,000 and there is fear of a nuclear disaster akin to Chernobyl. There were around 35 deaths in the Moscow bombing. Other then the threat of a nuclear disaster, what happened in Japan doesn't scare me. And even with the threat of nuclear disaster I'm not as paralyzed with terror as I was when I found out about Domodedovo at work today, I began to think about why.

Now before I go any further, I know some of you are thinking "Well Abigail of course this doesn't affect you. It happened in Japan, not Russia." Yes, but over the summer there were fires all around Moscow and I didn't have the same reaction to those as I did to the bombing.

So again, back to the question. Why did the bombing bother me so much? Why didn't the earthquake or the fire scare me?

An answer soon started to emerge.

One of these things is not like the others, one of these things just doesn't belong...

Had to get my little blast from the past there.

I'm serious though.

An earthquake is a natural disaster. A fire (in this case) is a natural disaster. A bombing is not.

Natural disasters are forces that are often unexpected and cannot be helped. Terrorist attacks are unexpected and should be helped. And therein lies my issue.

I suppose it's equally likely that I could go to Russia and there could be some horrible natural disaster that could kill me just as easily and possibly more easily than a terrorist attack. Fire, Flood, Earthquake, Tornado, Tsunami. I mean, one could kill me here for that matter. But in either case, it's something that can't be helped. The terrorist bombing in the Domodedovo airport, and terrorist acts in general, are distressing because the people who are killed didn't *have* to die. It is just senseless murder. And that is what upsets me.

Because things should be different. (Oh yes, you didn't think I'd be able to tie this back to missions did you?) What if these people had been taught differently? What if they knew another way? A lot of Russia's problems stem from discontent in Chechnya. What if there was a way to work with both sides to keep from overusing violence?

I know, you're probably thinking I'm an idealist, that I'll never change the world, or even that I've spent a little too much time hanging out with the hippies here at SPU, but I don't know. What I do know is that the system is broken and people are broken. Not just in Russia, but everywhere else as well and I want to do what I can to help.

3 comments:

Connie said...

Wow! What you wrote strikes a real chord for me. You have put into words something I have felt for a long time. Nature can kill you and be scary, but the scariest things are our own human weaknesses and sins. They way we seem to senselessly hurt each other is what I feel is the worst. Thanks for your thoughtful insights.

Connie said...

Wow! What you wrote strikes a real chord for me. You have put into words something I have felt for a long time. Nature can kill you and be scary, but the scariest things are our own human weaknesses and sins. They way we seem to senselessly hurt each other is what I feel is the worst. Thanks for your thoughtful insights.

Anonymous said...

One thing: Earthquakes themselves probably can't be prevented, but certain building design decisions and methods can greatly reduce their damage. Or humans could possibly use methods to detect earthquakes before they happen and get out of the area.