My power was off today and I was in a bad mood. The air conditioner wasn’t running, the coffee was getting cold, and the beer was getting warm. Now, I am ashamed of myself. As I watch the coverage of Hurricane Katrina’s devastation, I realize that I should be counting my blessings rather than ranting about the inconvenience of losing electricity for less than ten hours.
Since our electricity was out, I had not seen any video until lunch today when I took my two kids into the city nearby to get a sandwich at a coffee shop and meet some business associates. At first, when my daughter, who is four, said “how awful”, I assumed she was complaining about her sandwich. She usually does. My son, who is a year older, replied “Is that from Katrina?” It was then that I turned around to see the images of the devastation on CNN. As much as a father wants to shelter his children from the horrors of the world around them, I was proud that they understood. Yes, it certainly is “awful”.
I saw a report of a man who held onto his wife as their house was washing away beneath them. She slipped away and disappeared in the raging water and wind. According to the report, her last words were “take care of the kids”. He wept as he told the story. He is not alone. Hundreds of lives have been lost, and thousands more have been changed forever.
My thoughts returned to that man and his family tonight after I tucked my kids into bed. Why were they still in their home when evacuation orders had been given? What emotional scars will those children carry with them forever as the images of their mother slipping away remain embedded in their minds? Not to judge them, but it’s a fair question.
Already, people are making a political point about the hurricane. I read one report from a hate blogger who said it was Bush’s fault because he ignored global warming. How so? I’m no Bush apologist (some may disagree with this self-assessment), although I think he is a decent person. I fail to see how a treaty (Kyoto), which was defeated before he came into office, has anything whatsoever to do with cyclical changes in hurricane trends. Anything to turn the pain of others into a political point, I guess.
Another appalling image from New Orleans is the looting that is being widely reported. I have heard reports of television reporters filming it and even catching police officers joining in on the thievery. I didn’t see this myself and I don’t mention it to smear the 99% of police officers who do a noble job every day. Perhaps one of the thieves who managed to carry off “essential” items like bread, milk, or a computer will one day read this. The loss of hundreds of lives is not a prime opportunity to get the kid a new ten-speed Schwinn. I hope the police catch every one of these low-life thieves and put them in jail for a long time. I hope Bush sends troops in to help them stop it.
Let’s keep in mind that we are human beings.
So, what do you tell your kids when they see such “awful” images? I’ve taught them, and continue to teach myself, that God has a purpose for all things. I sincerely believe this to be true, but I don’t pretend to know God’s mind or to understand his methods. It’s a matter of faith to understand that life is full of tests and that we grow when we overcome challenges. Perhaps we as a society need to grow in some way. I know that America is a generous nation – perhaps the most generous nation ever on Earth – and I know that we will donate money and time to help our neighbors rebuild. Then what? Then we will likely forget them until the next disaster. That’s not a knock on our great country, but a simple fact of human nature all over the globe.
To all of my friends affected by the storm, know that my prayers are with you.
This isn’t the topic I wanted to write about in my first post on my site. I typically try to offer a different spin and a bit of humor to a variety of subjects. However, since this is based on my Front Porch Mood Swings, I had to write about what I was thinking at the time. It is what it is. I’m starting to appreciate the lukewarm beer now.