Last week was one with rather disturbing reminders.  These reminders have caused us to pause beyond our usual Supply Chain Matters commentaries..

Last week began with the Boston Marathon bombings on Monday which inflicted horrendous injuries and the subsequent tragic loss of life of four individuals.  A sporting event of huge traditions and broad community spirit was shattered by the acts of cowardly terrorists. Supply Chain Matters originates from the Boston area and thus, the tragedy and the subsequent days of terror and suspects on the loose was very real and very visual.  Our hearts go out to all of the victims.  We also echo the praise of all law enforcement, first responders and all other medical support professionals who risk their own lives in their efforts to aid all victims in their time of grave need.

Then there was the massive explosion of the fertilizer plant in West, Texas on Wednesday that nearly wiped-out a small town.  The devastating explosion could be felt 50 miles away and the video images were disturbing to watch.  As we pen this posting, 14 bodies have been found, the majority of those that perished being firefighters and first responders who sacrificed their lives to save others.  Many, perhaps up to 60 more, remain missing, and many more have been severely and emotionally injured.  Much effort will be required to rebuild. Our hearts go out to these victims as well.

Saturday morning, a 6.6 magnitude earthquake struck residents in the steep hills of China’s southwestern Sichuan Province. Thus far, 160 have been reported killed with over 6000 injured. The earthquake was shallow, estimated to be about 13 kilometers, causing additional amplification. Numerous aftershocks continue. The government of China has dispatched over 7000 military and other rescue personnel to assist in the rescue effort.  The impacted area is quite close to the earthquake that struck in 2008 which claimed the lives of 70,000 people, but fortunately, reports from seismologists indicate that the current quake was not as severe as in 2008.  Regardless, more lives have been lost and many have been again injured.  Our hearts go out to earthquake victims in China.

More than likely, there were many other unreported, yet personal tragedies.  We had one in our extended family.

Last week was a brutal reminder of the fragility of human existence and that resiliency is not just a word, but an expression and state of purposefulness.

We have written many commentaries reflecting on business and supply chain risk.  Sometimes, the human side of these events gets blurred in the news and commentary cycle.  Not so, last week.

Last week was a stark reminder of what is really important and of personal priorities.  We all need to take accounting of the blessing of friends, family, colleagues and life.

The 24 hour news cycle, convenient memory and the next priority sometimes numb us all to the fragility of our surroundings and to the bonds we have as a global community. Violence, accidents, disaster and who knows what else, surrounds us each day.  Insuring what is important in one’s life transcends events, and bonds us as a human society.

Bob Ferrari