Haiti.

You know, living in an earthquake zone like the Kantou region of Japan can make you focus on a tragedy such as the one unfolding in Haiti this week. More than might happen if you live somewhere where the ground really never shakes.

The talking heads back home are saying everything from “this is another test for the Obama Administration!”, to Limbaugh-types (maybe Glenn Beck who I don’t follow) saying that the U.S. already provides enough assistance to Haiti that they’re on their own.

This is obviously a human tragedy. But the sadder part is that it happened to a down-on-their-luck people as the Haitians. A lookup shows that the average income in the country is about a thousand bucks a year. So it’s hardscrabble. And the estimated number of deaths at the moment is somewhere in the high tens of thousands (out of a national population about 10,000,000). It’s quite a number.

Go hit the wiki, and you’ll discover that the U.S. has gotten our asses down there time and again in the last 130 years whenever an administration felt uncomfortable about the politics going on. So this is a country that America has taken an interest in when there seemed to be some regional geopolitcal issue. You would think that the States would also enthusiastically help out when the tectonic plates start acting up in unfortunate ways.

As is typical with third world tragedies (Indonesian Tsunami, etc.), there is a report that someone just a few years ago had laid out a scientific report that said a threat of a major earthquake to Haiti was something that should not be ignored.

And like most threats that involve poor people, it was ignored.