My Letter to Paul Shirley

Paul Shirley, a former NBA player, wrote an incredulous blog about the situation in Haiti. You can read his words here. The following is my response to his position on the situation in Haiti.

***********
Mr. Shirley,

The offensive and flat-out ignorant content of your blog aside, I write to you this evening out of sheer disbelief with the words you’ve chosen to share on your site. It is absolutely incredulous to me that you would publish such soulless, dismissive and apathetic sentiments toward a people that are suffering from the after-effects of a natural disaster. Not only do you make a juvenile attempt to present an argument from a perspective of hindsight, your myopic view of the world outside the fantasy bubble in which you live is wholly laughable and, quite frankly, upsetting.

In your blog, you blame the Haitian people for their own misfortune. You question how they allowed themselves to get to the point of living in abject poverty to begin with. You debate the usefulness of donating money and rebuilding an island nation that will likely suffer another natural disaster in the future. You cite a woman who is crying out for help, not sure who is responsible to provide the help, but obviously hoping for any form of assistance in her time of crisis and obvious grief. Your response to her is a flippant, “I don’t know whose responsibility it is, either. What I do know is that it is not the responsibility of the outside world to provide help.”

Wow.

It’s rare that such heartless discussion is made available for public consumption. It’s hard to believe that you actually chose to publish those words and reveal your apparent lack of decency and humanity. For someone who’s been given the gift of athleticism and has earned more money in one month than most people earn in one year, your lack of compassion and humility as a citizen of this planet is horrifying.

What’s truly astonishing is you were born in Redwood City, California, which is a suburb of San Francisco. Applying your less-than-sophomoric logic to your home town, why should there continue to be a sprawling metropolis sitting on top of a fault line in California? Why should the victims of the Embarcadero Freeway collapse during the earthquake of 1989 been tended to or rescued? Surely they knew better than to drive on a freeway in a city susceptible to earthquakes! I could go on and on, but it’s obvious to anyone with any form of common sense – or a human heart for that matter – that such backward thinking logic is completely moronic.

And that is what your blog is; 1900 words of moronic gibberish. I will also tell you what it’s not. It’s not the work of a decent and honest human being. It’s not the opinion of someone who is grateful of their current situation and blessings, and who understands it was sheer luck he was born to a family in Redwood City, California and not to one in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Your blog could be described as having been written by a monster or an agent of evil. Rather, I think the appropriate word is coward.

“I would like to help, but only if I feel that my assistance is deserved and justified.” Those are your words, and I still fail to understand what part of 150,000 deaths* is undeserving and not justified of your help. I simply hope you never find yourself the victim of an accident or natural disaster whereby your survival depends on the intervention of others. At that moment, would you really want the thoughts of the person able to save your life to be, “Is my assistance deserved and justified?” Based on the words in your blog, you have a long way to go before you even come close to meeting that requirement.

*source Australian Broadcasting Corporation

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