When the Earth is Rockin’ Don’t Come Knockin’


Cartoon by Frank Vieira

Ryan Shaffer, Opinions Editor

Last Tuesday Pittsburgh, and most of the East Coast, shook violently.  An earthquake recorded a measurement of 5.8 on the Richter scale, and the tremors roared through the ground.  Reactions of those Americans who experienced the ground-moving event differ greatly from each standpoint.  Some people believe that the earthquake was horrific and eye-opening, while others seem anxious to brag and joke about their own experiences.  Each opinion holds some merit, but one may be more politically correct than the other.

Nearly 10 years ago, the attacks on the World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon frightened United States citizens beyond anything else in American history.  Air travel heavily declined, neighborly trust disappeared, and the overall moral of the nation was bottomed out.  Overall, approximately 2,985 people died.   Last year in Haiti, around 100,000 people lost their lives to a horrendous earthquake.  Entire generations of Haitians disappeared, and thousands more lost multiple family members.  The earthquake on Aug. 23 took no lives, though that should not be reason to joke and celebrate.  Haitians are still rebuilding their buildings, homes, and lives after the natural disaster.  Would Americans have appreciated jokes and celebration about a lesser terrorist attack a year after 9/11?

The moving ground caused buildings to shake, desks to move, and fragile items to fall.  The unexpected quake surprised everyone who felt it equally.  Many Virginians feared that terrorists were attacking, yet again.  Luckily, terrorism had nothing to do with the matter.  Celebrations may be somewhat in order after the earthquake, because significant damage was at a minimum, and no lives were spared.  Americans are all very lucky to walk away from the incident unscathed.  U.S. inhabitants should certainly be grateful, and a few light jokes sparked from relief could be tasteful.  After all, it could have been worse.

Each vantage point of the Virginia earthquake differed from one another, but I think Americans all have the same idea.  Lives were spared, homes still stand, and the quake has passed for now, thus the worst passed and American soil remains safe.  People should also be mindful of similar situations, and how their jokes and celebrations affect others who weren’t as lucky.  We have a responsibility as humans to be compassionate and sympathetic.  So, as you walk to class, remember to be grateful for your luck, and mindful that others were not so lucky.