So. For the past few days we’ve been working Hurricane Katrina issues on base like crazy. People are working quite literally around the clock sending troops, food, water, relief supplies, and money, we’re downloading supplies off of international airplanes that are bringing in provisions for the affected areas. So far we’ve had Chinese, British, African, Indian, and Russian representatives fly in, and these are just the ones that I’m aware of. Folks are walking around like zombies—going without sleep, eating whatever they can find in the snack bars, and sneaking minutes here and there when they can to get some personal time. Our resources are exhausted, yet people still want to give more and more.
I’m running a base wide fundraiser for money to send to our Air Force family at Keesler AFB, we have lodging available on base, cots set up in our barracks, vacant base housing has been furnished and is ready for evacuees. On the way home from work yesterday I saw a sign up at the local community center for a job fair and kids day for Katrina victims. Local apartment complexes are opening up their vacant spaces for the evacuees, television stations and radio channels are talking about nothing but volunteer opportunities, drop off points for supplies and money, holding donation drives. I’ve received a note on my windshield offering supplies and refuge after someone saw my Louisiana plates, my neighbors have asked about family and friends back home and offered any help they can give. Tomorrow my secretary’s church is holding an impromptu wedding for a couple that had to evacuate New Orleans days before their wedding and have absolutely nothing now. The church is scrambling to find them a cake, flowers, candles, wedding gifts, and these two people will manage to overcome the odds and still get married on their wedding day because of the kindness and generosity of complete strangers.
On a daily basis, I come home from my day or night at work, turn on the news and see nothing but the people who refuse to leave New Orleans—after a MANDATORY EVACUATION ORDER mind you—bitching about how no one is helping them and they are being left to die and rot in sewage and squalor. They’re screaming at the National Guardsmen who are risking their own lives to go in and rescue them about how they are American citizens and have their rights and will not be treated this way and blahdy freakin’ blah, now I’m going to go rob a store at gunpoint and shoot contractors who are trying to FIX THE DAMN BRIDGE SO PEOPLE CAN GET THE HELL OUT. (Okay, I know that’s a broad generalization, and I realize that not all of the residents of New Orleans are rampaging murderers, please do not send me angry email because I will probably hunt you down and rip your head off, this is venting here people)
Then I’m reading my brainless entertainment news, since that’s all I can handle now, and I read this completely asinine quote from the internationally known news pundit, Celine Dion, about how people who are looting should be left along because “they just want to touch something nice for once in their life”—what on earth?? Since when does Celine Dion even live in the same reality as the rest of us that she has the insight to make a comment like that?? I swear to God, nothing makes sense to me anymore. I refuse to even watch the news now because the media has managed to zero in on every negative aspect of this admittedly appalling tragedy and magnify it, while at the same time managing to ignore the valiant efforts people and governments AROUND THE WORLD are going to to send assistance. And then, if anyone has the audacity to talk about anything other than the hurricane they are immediately cast down as cruel, heartless, and selfish for even beginning to think of themselves and not devoting every waking minute to reflection and sadness for the people along the gulf coast. All that we can do as a nation is look for who we can blame, who we can tear down, what sort of political statement we can turn this into—both Democrat and Republican—instead of seeing this for the natural disaster that it is, learning from it, and marveling at the outpouring of human kindness and compassion that it has evoked in people around the world.