Thursday, September 01, 2005

Thoughts On Katrina

As I went from blog to blog this morning, almost every one had some comment on Katrina. Most of the sites seemed angry at Bush for cutting natural disaster preparedness funding, and for sending most of the needed National Guard troops to fight the war in Iraq. Some blogs also made note of the ecological degradation of the delta swampland, the "straightening" of the Mississippi River to flow faster, and increasing development of coastal regions as factors which made the devastation worse. Not being politically savvy, nor a scientist, I cannot say if these comments are correct, but they seem sensible.

What is not sensible is the behavior of people. When a Category 5 hurricane is bearing down on your below-sea-level city, and your local government orders you to leave, and you stay...well, you either likely die, suffer enormously, or put someone else (a rescue professional) at risk to save you from your dire straits.

What is not sensible is the behavior of people who take this opportunity to loot, set fires, and shoot bullets at each other. Contrast the behavior of those in New Orleans with the tsunami victims of last December. I don't remember seeing hordes of looters, but memory is fickle. I'm not proud to be an American today.

What troubles me most at this moment, apart from the appalling loss of life and the prospect of months of suffering for tens of thousands, is my own rascist thoughts as I watched the television coverage. The only explanation which makes sense to explain all these irrational and sinful events is the doctrine of total depravity, which sits on the foundation of original sin. That is, we are all sinners and fall short of the glory of God, and it is our nature, to quote the Heidelberg Catechism, "to hate God and our neighbor" (Q.5). So why then am I always shocked at displays of human wickedness and stupidity? Why do I blithely assume that I am exempt from the same wickedness and stupidity?


Blogger Jill said...

Politics aside, from what we have heard, at least some of the people had no way to get out, no transportation. A lot of the people at the Superdome are very poor. How or who could have helped those who have not way out. As for looters, crisis brings out the best or the worst in all of us. I wonder if a bigger police presence in the area would have helped?

11:52 AM  
Blogger Scribe said...

Thanks Jill.

You're right of course, many of those suffering are the poor and ignored. I don't blame anyone for looting water & food after being ignored for days because they are black & poor. Today's reports seem to indicate a total lack of protection from police, as the National Guard is needed...but they are busy making it safe for Iraqis to sell us oil.

Sorry. Feeling very cynical today.

1:26 PM  
Blogger Apostle John said...

Great post. I agree with you, but I will say that it is difficult to understand why people don't leave. I never leave in Miami because we live at the end of a long penensula. The thought of trying to leave and getting stuck in traffic, no room in shelters, and the hurricane moves north a bit to where I'm stuck -- well, you get the point.

It's tough to understand why people do what they do.

1:03 AM  
Blogger Katherine said...

More people probably would have been able to leave had the hurricane hit after September 1st, which is when government assistance checks arrive.

4:25 PM  

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