A hurricane cannot rob a great city of its spirit, but a vicious citizenry can. A bad time with Mother Nature can leave you digging out for a long time, but a bad turn in human behavior frays and tears all the ties that truly bind human being--trust, confidence, mutual regard, belief in the essential goodness of one's fellow citizens.Let me quote this commenter from one of yesterday's threads on this blog:
There seems to be some confusion in terms of terminology on TV. People with no food and water who are walking into supermarkets and taking food and water off the shelves are not criminal, they are sane. They are not looters, they are people who are attempting to survive; they are taking the basics of survival off shelves in stores where there isn't even anyone at the cash register.
Looters are not looking to survive; they're looking to take advantage of the weakness of others. They are predators. They're taking not what they need but what they want....
If this part of the story grows--if cities on the gulf come to seem like some combination of Dodge and the Barbarian invasion--it's going to be bad for our country. One of the things that keeps us together, and that lets this great lumbering nation move forward each day, is the sense that we will be decent and brave in times of crisis, that the fabric holds, that under duress it is American heroism and altruism that take hold and not base instincts born of irresponsibility, immaturity and greed....
If New Orleans damages that sense, it's going to be painful to face. It's going to be damaging to the national spirit. More damaging even than a hurricane, even than the worst in decades.
I wonder if the cruel and stupid young people who are doing the looting know the power they have to damage their country. I wonder, if they knew, if they'd stop it.
I work in New Orleans East. I try to help families there. I've recieved telephone death threats from people I couldn't help. I've known children whose father had been shot. People who moved after they had been held up at gun-point. The list goes on. You can't say that the hurricane is the only root of this problem. Many of the thugs running around the city now, were thugs before Katrina as well. This just gave them an opportunity to turn more of the city into the lawless chaos they tend to drag with them where ever they go. I pray for the innocents who lived in fear of them before the storm and especially those who live in fear of them now. They must be stopped.Most people are decent and brave in times of crisis — and in ordinary times as well. People suffer routinely and inconspicuously in ordinary times. Now we see those ordinary problems magnified and on television. While we're looking and feeling moved to help the victims in New Orleans, we ought to make a note to remember how much people living in that city and other cities have to struggle with violence as part of their lives even when no one is paying attention and thinking about doing anything to help them.
Here's the link to make a donation to the American Red Cross.