It's easy to sit here and second guess those people (and I am not talking about those who stayed because they though the idea of a "hurricane party" a bright one) who stayed. Maybe some of them did just refuse to leave because of some sort of bravado, but I'm guessing that's not the case with the majority. There were a lot of people without the means to go or a place to go to. What about the sick, the elderly, the handicapped? What about those with no cars? Some people had no choice but to stay. And yes, some people stayed on their own accord, and I'm going to backtrack a bit on something I wrote about earlier and say, I don't blame them.
I've been thinking about this. I live on an island. If there were a warning to get the hell out (let's say a weather related potential disaster headed this way), I don't know that I would go. Chances that I would get off the island are slim to none, anyhow. Perhaps if I lived closer to the city line I'd have a chance to get over a bridge and away from here, but it's more likely that I'd be stuck in a sea of escaping cars that moved an inch an hour. I would much rather stick it out and possibly survive, or even die in my own home, clinging to my loved ones, than drown while sitting in traffic on the Long Island Expressway, trying to get off the island. I already sat in flood waters on the LIE once, when I was about 14. We saw a coffin drift out of a hearse. I'll pass on having that experience again.
You just don't know. I don't understand the callousness of people who turn their backs on those who need help because they feel it's deserved. I don't understand the cruelty of those who are taking the looters and shooters and making them the poster children for every single refugee in the area now, as if that's what they all are.
And while we are on the subject, I don't understand those that don't understand the anger of the people down there. No, not the shooters, but those who are near rioting and yelling and cursing every one of their government officials. They have lost everything, some of them having lost people, not just possessions. They have nothing to go home to, nothing to go forward to. They are starving. Hot. Tired. Sick. They have small children, elderly parents or are sick themselves. They are frustrated and, in some cases, dying. There are tourists who are completely stranded, left to sleep on street corners. There are kids without parents, parents without their kids, people in need of medicine who are going without, people dying on the streets right in front of them, bodies pushed to the side and left there to rot in the heat. How would you react? What would you be doing? Put yourself in that place for a minute or two.
How easy it is to sit here and Monday morning quarterback a freaking hurricane, like it was some great game and now you're going over the X's and O's and figuring out who to bench the next time.
There's more - check it out.
I'm as guilty as any of making snide comments after hearing some fool talking about "riding the hurricane out". But most of the victims couldn't leave before the storm.
Below are some of the people who are being blamed for not fleeing more promptly.
Isn't that little girl just precious?
That boy's mother is missing.
Still in refugee housing, that couple are already looking for a job in the Houston area. Pray they will be successful in their search.
Folks, since I've moved to SC, I've come to accept some realities - weather can be fearsome, but every part of the world has it's special challenges. In Ohio, tornados, flooding, and massive snow are the challenge. You don't move, you invest in a shovel, emergency supplies, and, when the weather warning is issued, you load up on bread and milk.
On the southern East and South coast, you anticipate the hurricanes of the late summer and early fall. You can't possibly leave for every one. Sometimes, circumstances (illness, family situation, work, or car trouble, for example) make it impossible to evacuate.
Then, the only answer is to stock up, if you can, brace yourself, and pray.
Sometimes, like this last week, that strategy proves wrong. Most of the time, it works. Hurricanes are funny - their paths cannot always be predicted; sometimes they peter out; sometimes the levees hold.
And sometimes not.
Sadly, Katrina proved to be an exceptionally bad disaster. If you can, give to your charity of choice. Me, I'm going to send more money to Catholic Charities. Then, I'm going to go home to SC, and talk to the principal about a fund-raiser. I've already talked to students who have relatives or friends in the areas affected.