The Lucky Ones

I know that the factory collapsing in Bangladesh happened a couple weeks ago now, but it has been weighing heavy on my mind for a while. Only now do I feel like I can express my feelings into words although the emotions I am feeling within are a bit darker than I can say. If ever a thing can happen to make me feel grateful for what I have, it is a tragedy like this.

I read the story and felt horrible for what had happened, especially in my field as an architect. Shoddy construction work lead to the collapse of a large factory and over 1,000 deaths of humans have been tallied so far. A THOUSAND. Keeping everything cheap, the factory building itself, the pay for those who work there, the conditions they are working in; it's all so I can get a shirt for 5 bucks from a big box store here in America. Some people think that their lives are worth less than ours... some people can be so wrong.

The story made me sad, but it wasn't until I saw the much talked about photo from Taslima Akhter of the last embrace of one couple that I became physically emotional. I just can't post the picture here because it is too powerful, but since it went viral you can look it up on your own if you wish. Just know that it is a shot of a man and a woman, deceased, in a hug and clinging, literally, for their lives before they were so senselessly taken. I immediately starting crying uncontrollably when I saw it... A picture really does say 1,000 words and it lead me to so many questions I have about God and the universe and humanity and life and...

Why are we, as Americans, the lucky ones? Why do I care so much about having a nice outfit to wear to a wedding this summer? I run the water for at least 30 seconds until it is warm so I can wash my face at night. I feed my purebred french bulldog a grain free diet. I got rid of my last car because the air conditioning went out. I am an American, and not even the worst of us either - I also turn out the lights when not in use, recycle, combine my errands into one to save gas, volunteer my time to those who are less fortunate...

I can't help but think of the tributes and stickers on cars, and memorials, and lawsuits filed of the 9 Charleston firefighters that lost their lives a few years back. All of that over 9 people. Does that make me seem heartless that I wonder why we did all of that for 9 people here while I wonder what they will do for over a THOUSAND people who died there? Can you imagine if that happened in the United States? It is unfathomable. The stupid lawsuits in this country are ridiculous. The sense of entitlement, the fear that people will sue you over slippery floors or hot coffee or even making the wrong weather predictions?

This story will definitely make me think differently before I start to complain about the temperature of my office next time. At least I know it will not collapse on me.

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From Charleston, South Carolina to your computer. I hope you enjoy. :)