I’ve been through at least five hurricanes, including Hurricane Andrew.  I’ve watched tornados tear lives apart. I always maintained control by focusing on the statistics – how fast the storms were tracking ,etc.  Until this morning, I’ve been viewing the horrors of the Asian tsunami as a similar set of statistics – how big the earthquake was that started this, how fast the waves were moving, how many hundreds of square miles have been affected, etc.  I watched the blospace a bit, and got pretty good laugh while Scoble wondered where all the bloggers were during the ordeal, and Dare putting things back into perspective. I’ve been trying to dehumanize the whole thing.  It’s been difficult, as I realized that a former member of the MSDN team, Henry Borys, and his new wife are in India right now, and we haven’t received definitive word of his status.  And then I read this story.

If the link doesn’t work, let me summarize.  61 out of 102 residents of a hospital for physically disabled people were killed in the tsunami.  Kids with muscular distrophy.  Kids in wheelchairs.  These are the stories that are going to continue to haunt us when the tsunami’s 15 minutes of fame expire.  When our attention turns back to Iraq, where some estimates show over 100,000 civilian casualities during this war.  When our attention turns back to Bush’s war on Social Security.  When we all go back to focusing on the weekly TV dramas that let us escape from stories like parapalegic children being killed by tsunamis.

Here’s my request for the new year.  Let’s get past the “who’s giving what…” bullshit.  Yep – $350 million US is what we spend in Iraq in five days.  Yep – Japan has committed $500 million. Yep – Amazon had a donation link up on their web site before Microsoft did.  Let’s move past the statistics.  Ask yourself if you’re doing what you can.  Folks are going to need a lot of help to get back on their feet after this one.  I bet there’s still homeless folks in your area who need help.  I bet there’s schools in your area that need tutors.  I bet there’s family members and friends who would love to hear from you.