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Others left high and dry

Don Rogers

One casualty of the immense giving that followed the terrorist attacks Sept. 11, 2001, was all the other charitable giving that pretty much dried up.Lots of worthy causes suffered painfully while our hearts poured out and wallets opened for those devastated directly by al-Qaida’s unholy brutality. In our heartfelt philanthropy, though, we gave more than the victims needed and shorted many, many others whose need was at least as great. Talk about your double whammies, your unintended consequences of caring.The high tide of contributions following the tsunami that killed nearly 200,000 people on Indian Ocean coastlines likewise threatens to leave other causes high and dry. Including some right here at home.Better to donate generally to the Red Cross or your favored international organization rather than earmark for the same specific disaster that everyone else has, you know? Those more “pedestrian” catastrophes are no less devastating to their victims than the tsunami.The tsunami areas are not suffering from a lack of dollar contributions at this point. But the causes that have been swept aside by the tide of donations to one disaster, tragic and gripping as this one surely is, surely will be.A ripple disaster would be for other worthy causes and organizations to go ignored while earnest givers compete with each other for who gives the most to tsunami relief, as if a contest.Why not expand that contest? The Salvation Army and The Vail Valley Charitable Fund, for example, are among many local organizations easing suffering right here at home. Tsunamis and terrorists flying planes into buildings certainly do capture the imagination, but let’s see them as examples rather than the totality of those who need our help. Vail, Colorado


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