Why shoot at policemen and rescue helicopters and neighbors who planned ahead and prepared for worst-case?
Why add to the hurt and the pain?
Is the veneer of civilization really so thin?
It's easy to sit here, so far away, in the warmth and cozy darkness of my home, with running water and lights shining in the windows and shake my head in wonder and despair. If it was my children starving and my house in a soggy pile around me, what would I do? I wouldn't be shooting people for their generators, no matter how desperate I was. Would I? If my children were dying and I was turned away, with no hope, knowing that time was running out, what would I do?
I don't want to write about this. I haven't even watched any footage on TV. The CNN website headlines and the few photos are enough to bite ragged holes in my heart. I know that if I start, I will not be able to stop, and like I did during and after 9/11, I will not be able to tear myself away from the awesome and awful evidence of our humanity.
You know, I'm not surprised, not really, at the lawlessness and chaos that has taken place, the sense of "every man for himself" and then some that was beginning to prevail in the wake of the destruction. Having read countless science fiction end-of-the-world novels, I recognize this story. The world goes to hell in a handbasket and only a brave few fight against the rising tide of brutal barbarism and selfishness.
Is it really so thin? A frail and shredding coating that we've taken for granted?
It's easy to disdain the people who stuck their heads in the sand and thought it couldn't possibly be as bad as all that, the people who ignored the warnings, the people who don't or can't or won't help themselves. It's easy to denounce the government, the authorities, the businesses and organizations for not doing enough, for not being prepared, for not moving faster. From here, it's all too easy. Someone has to take the blame and we're all searching for the one whose FAULT it is.
I've never been much of a one for giving to charities, at least not to organizations that benefit humans. My sympathies have always been with the earth, the animals: the blameless victims that are completely without defenses in the great killing dance of exploitation that humankind has unleashed. I didn't want to write about this. I don't want to view humans as blameless victims, even when some of them so patently are. It's not their FAULT that everything they knew blew and washed away; that they couldn't or didn't or wouldn't get out of the way. It's no one's FAULT. It just is.
I don't know anyone personally that was affected, that I can think of. I have online friends who I've rejoiced are safe, and real-life friends who are in shock, and I lived in Alabama for a year as a pre-teen, but I've never been to New Orleans, and only driven through Mississippi, and my connections to the area are tenuous at best. But my heart and my mind don't seem to care. They're there, along with yours, and everyone else's.
I can't put myself in the skin of someone who has watched their husband swept away from them by the rising, raging flood. I can't imagine how that dog perched on the rooftop, surrounded by water, will survive. There's no way for me to understand viscerally the thoughts and emotions of anyone who was caught, who thought it would just blow by...there are storms every year, how bad could it be?
For too many, civilization is worn like a cloak, cast off when inconvenient.
You always think it happens to others. You never think it might happen to you.
Jewelry fundraiser to help with relief efforts
Mississippi Animal Rescue League
American Humane Society Animal Emergency Services