Monday, August 29, 2005


Last night I couldn’t stop reading the Katrina updates. It was addictive for D, too; he was on one computer checking different satellite and radar views, while I was on the laptop reading blogs and disaster projections.

Some were writing with almost glee at the possible scope of the disaster for New Orleans—city destroyed, a hundred thousand dead, evacuees having no home to return to, chemical pollution disaster, and so on. And the weather people certainly get excited about the prospect of a huge, destroying storm. What’s in human nature that almost looks forward to something horrible happening, as long as it’s taking place somewhere else?

The thing that makes a hurricane different from an earthquake, tornado, or tsunami is that you can see it coming days in advance, and there’s nothing you can do about it, except grab your family photos and pets and RUN. Where the other natural disasters strike suddenly, you have several days to see this twisting, growing storm bearing down on you, and know that there’s nothing that can be done to allay its destruction.

It’s hard for the mind to absorb the idea that a major U.S. city could be destroyed by the elements. We believe we have gotten so good at controlling our environment. Surely “they” will think of something.

So the hurricane is coming ashore right now, and it’s maybe not the worst possible hit for New Orleans, but still bad. What a dumb place to build a city—below the Mississippi River, with water on three sides. And where’s the National Guard, to help with security and clean up afterwards? Mostly in Iraq!

The best to hope for is that the weather people were once again crying wolf, and desensitizing people yet again to their forecasts. But it will still be an excuse to raise gas prices.


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