I'm sure I've seen other images that made me feel sad or alarmed, or both, in the past, but I can't think of any right now. The pictures of pelicans covered in oil come to mind many times in a day, with no effort, no provocation. Those images just pop up, never to be forgotten.
And, after the sadness over the suffering of beautiful and innocent creatures, comes the frustration. I ask, "How much oil must there be, in order to coat and kill a brown pelican?" I figure there's a lot and more coming every day, enough to fill up your entire house, no matter how big it is, in a matter of minutes and destroy eveything in it and render it useless and unable to be lived in ever again.
How long can the oil flow? In the backs of our minds we figure somehow someone will figure out a way to stop it. If we didn't hold on to that hope, we wouldn't sleep. But, what if it isn't stopped in a few weeks, or another month. How will we feel then? Some of us will have to quit thinking about it, in an attempt to stop feeling so helpless. Some of us will write checks, offer to volunteer, hoping that our generosity does more than curb our guilt.
I can't help think that back in the 70's, while I waited in line at the gas station, someone knew of the potential for the kind of disaster that is fouling the water in Gulf Of Mexico, killing and possibly causing the extinction of native plants and animals, putting people out of work and making them sick.