Thursday, September 01, 2005

Disasters bring out the best and the worst

The Good: Over 250 Red Cross volunteers in the areas affected by Hurrican Katrina. 230 shelters set up. Over 200 Emergency Rescue Vehicles. Southern Baptists fixing 500,000 meals a day for victims. Celebrities in the entertainment, art, and sports industries are pouring millions of dollars of aid to help in the relief effort. Churches and city groups all over the world are sending food, water, clothes, blankets, and other stuff into the gulf states. Hospitals are donating medical supplies. People in the areas less affected are helping serve food, unload supplies and work search and rescue.

The Bad: Millions of people displaced. The poor and elderly with no transportation or money to evacuate trapped in their homes or the Superdome. Levees broken and with the city basically a bowl trapped under sea level the chances of clearing the water in the immediate future look bleak. I'm sure they'll get it cleared away sometime. In the meantime we have a city underwater. That water is filled with gators, toxins, garbage, sewage, debris, and the bodies of those that died in the storm...human and animals.

The Ugly: Gunmen pulled over and robbed a delivery truck filled with food, water, and medical supplies. The National Guard was sent in. Snipers were shooting at their vehicles. Vehicles also holding injured victims that they were transferring from hospitals that had lost power or were out of supplies to ones that had power and supplies. People shooting at helicopters trying to rescue victims or transfer them from the Superdome to the Astrodome. In a city like New Orleans there are plenty of addicts. These addicts have little food, no power, and no way of getting any more drugs. They will be going through withdrawls and I don't want to think what behavior that could conjure up. People scamming others who want to donate. Insurance companies commiting fraud and not helping people who've lost their home, their pets, loved ones, everything. People are going into stores and people's homes and stealing whatever they can. They're robbing people. If you don't own a gun, expect to get your stuff stolen. People who's homes were only slightly damaged are held up on their property with shotguns fending off possible theives.

Meanwhile we've got people shooting at those sent to help them. We have people holding up trucks of supplies at gunpoint. We have thousands dead. We have all these troubles. So many willing to help. So many ready to rip them off.

And what's the topic of the day? Yahoo ran dual pictures of people wading through flood waters and carrying items they stole. One was a photo of a black man and the caption mentioned he had "Looted" the items. The other was a photo of a white couple and the caption said they had "found" the items. So that's what we're going to focus on? Not the stuff up there in the Good, Bad and Ugly...but racism. Surely racism should be stamped out when it shows itself but at the moment...are there not more important things to focus our efforts on?


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