Devastation on both sides
People are strange. Things that are too big, too far away, or affect too many people, are harder for us to process and react to than things that are small, near, or affect one or two. Obviously, the devastation and death in Japan is overwhelmingly worse than what happened on the Pacific Coast of the US. But overwhelmingly is a good word in more than one way. I've never been to Japan. The pictures and video are ... too much. I can't process it. I can react, I can donate (Red Cross, Global Giving, Doctors Without Borders, Mercy Corps), but I can't quite ... believe it.
On the other hand, I've been to Depoe Bay, Oregon. Not quite a year ago, in fact. So when I hear that their little jewel of a harbor is smashed up ... from an earthquake in Japan - over 4500 miles away - I start to feel it.
Depoe Bay's harbor, April 2010:
And the docks after the wave hit yesterday (image from The Oregonian)