Even with tsunamis, life goes on | VailDaily.com

Even with tsunamis, life goes on

Matt Zalaznick

How much did the Indian Ocean tsunami affect life in the Rocky Mountains? Well, there were lots of people on the slopes that day after Christmas, as there have been in the month or so since the wave wiped out all those very far-away villages. There were still New Year’s Eve parties. Icy roads still caused car wrecks. Bad weather killed a few people. And folks in the valley talked as intensively about the string of early January powder days as they did about donating to the Red Cross. Overall, it’s safe to assume that a majority of locals worried more about getting some turns in the powder than about how horrible and unimaginable life in Indonesia and Sri Lanka must be these days. The Vail Daily has taken some heat over the past few weeks for having the audacity to write that people in the valley were getting on with their lives and thinking about other things in the wake of the tsunami that tore apart coastline villages on the other side of world. One day in the past three weeks, the front page headline promised powder days ahead. Yes, some 200,000 people are confirmed dead, and the toll will continue to rise. Still, folks in ski country still want to know if the skiing’s going to be good, even as they lament the catastrophe. Skiing nonetheless remains an overriding priority here in a place that exists because of – skiing. And a newspaper, particularly one as locally focused as the Vail Daily, is supposed to reflect the priorities of its readers while still informing them about world events. We’re not supposed to stifle news because some may find it unseemly or something truly awful is happening someplace else. Interestingly enough, readers haven’t complained about the “fluffier” pieces that run in addition to news that Africans are being slaughtered in Sudan or tens of the thousands of Haitians drowned last hurricane season. In another recent a story, a visiting college student who was asked about his new year’s resolution said he was committed to having more sex in 2005. How could he express such a self-centered sentiment amid all this water-borne devastation? And how could the Vail Daily print such a silly sentiment from a 20-year-old?For one thing, a society that loses its sense of humor because of a disaster on the other side of the world would be unbearable. For another, what can you expect from a nation so self-centered that a majority supported invading a country that didn’t attack them? The reason the Daily printed what the young man said is that’s what he said. He was asked a question and that was his answer. And isn’t that other great indictment of the press is our alleged failure to just report the “facts”? Newspapers, when gathering local sentiment, shouldn’t judge or censor people’s opinion, no matter how lofty or tawdry their goals for the new year. Some might have been just as irritated had the kid said he want to spend more time in church. Human beings simply manage to maintain and be fulfilled by their trivial desires even when others have lost everything. City Editor Matt Zalaznick can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 606, or mzalaznick@vaildaily.comVail, Colorado

Support Local Journalism