It has been inescapable the last few months, and at times overwhelming. The human suffering we are witnessing on such a global scale, from a passenger plane shot out of the sky, to the horrible violence in the Middle East, to the desperation of so many South American children, we are in a world of hurt.

A blogger on the Huffington Post on Monday decried one response he called “the posture of looking away in pity and calling it ‘heartbreaking,’” but really, what can the rest of us do? What can Madison do? What can one individual do?

An editorial writer colleague tried something over the weekend we think is worth noting. The Statesman Journal in Eugene, Oregon unveiled a new community project entitled the Summer of Human Suffering.

It posed two especially relevant and difficult questions: what should our response be to the global suffering, and what can we do as individuals this week?

We thought we might challenge ourselves, and you, do think about those questions. That alone is a start to something other than “looking away in pity.”