"Pilate saith unto him, What is truth? And when he had said this, he went out again..."

Location: Tampa, FL, United States

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Hurricane Katrina

A popular American expression is "I can only imagine how I would have..." Having digested hours and hours of Hurricane Katrina coverage, and having fasted for up to a day before, having been hot and thirsty before, having smelled the smells of a dirty Guatemalan restroom before, in no way can I begin to say "I can only imagine how I would have (fill in the blank)," with respect to explaining what this tragedy was like. The only people who can relate to the past 12 days in the hurricane-ravaged area are the Ground Zeroites themselves.

That mess was and is unfathomable. In addition to all the physical pain, death and suffering was the emotional anguish of the survivors who had healthy loved ones slip, slide away in torrential floods on day one and two, or who lost track of loved ones at some point. Love ones that are still missing... or worse.

Having said that, these observations come to mind:

Property is replaceable and lives are a one-crack-at-it opportunity. It was instructive to watch our socialistic-style governing system fail miserably in its aftermath work on many levels. You had the Louisiana Homeland Security people thwarting the supplies-loaded Red Cross from descending into the heart of the disaster area for whatever reason. You had the unqualified head of FEMA—the now fired Michael Brown—going on TV with his well-pressed shirts essentially singing “don’t worry, be happy.” Volunteer medical personnel were stifled from volunteering early on because of bureaucratic red tape. Out of state medical personnel were ordered to sit tight while regulatory issues were sorted out. Local school buses experienced equal opportunity flooding instead of being used to evacuate refugees-to-be. Violators of the mandatory evacuation orders received preferential rescue efforts at their rooftops while law-abiding evacuees in the Super Dome waited impatiently for water, food and portable toilets.

It was sad to see so many New Orleaners, many of whom are now Houstorleaners, begging for help from the feds. This is essentially a quasi- instructional video inviting a like bungling to happen again in a neighborhood near you. Even though the bulk of the blame deserves to be foisted on the lawbreakers, Nagin, Blanco, et.al., the federal government has kinda admitted it was slow to respond. It will investigate itself, expand itself, and continue to provide failing service upon future disasters. Federal government has botched public education, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and more. The evidence indicates it will botch future disaster relief efforts. Federal government exists in its present form because the grassroots perpetuate it.

With disaster help centralized in federal government and large third parties (ala Red Cross, Salvation Army, etc.) the lines of distribution are too few and many go hungry, thirsty and worse waiting for assistance. Red Cross and Salvation Army do great work but it's the paucity of the smaller players that we as a nation really miss, and need.

Did the churches respond swiftly and efficiently to the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina? We don't know. With respect to relief efforts, of the 90,000 square miles of damaged property only about 300 of them garned television coverage. Any Good Samaritan work, or lack thereof, in the other 89,700 square miles wasn't privy to any media coverage. I suspect the private sector did a wealth of good on the periphery yet their efforts will not likely get mentioned much--the pictures from the fringe areas wouldn't bring in the TV ratings like the ones from Ground Zero do.

People from all walks of life have been helping the afflicted and giving of themselves by way of their bank accounts and their time. One of the larger lessons has not been learned though. What’s been missing is repentance in the nation as a whole. Instead of “God forgive us for our sins and save us,” it's been "we will rebuild, "we will rescue you, "we will provide resources,” etc. The rhetoric has been mostly very Satanic in character in that it's been anti-Christian at its core. Good-hearted yet still anti-Christian.

If New Orleans ever rises from the toxic ashes it's reasonable to believe school prayer in the name of Jesus will still be outlawed, decadent behavior will be protected by "First Amendment" rights, abortions will take place, and man will thank himself for all his hard work in restoring the great city of New Orleans.


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