Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Watching from Abroad

I was too sick to go the Carnival, but from what I've heard from others it was a disappointment. The heat and the crowds would have undoubtedly sent me to the hospital, where since I am not part of the European health scheme I would have been charged untold thousands of pounds.

The biggest news on the automotive front is the Frankfurt car show, but as an American, like most of my fellow citizens I have been more concerned with the goings-on in Mississipi and Louisiana. The absolute devestation, the lives lost all put my travails in the UK (job hunting, finding a place to live) to shame. I hope that the war in Iraq has not consumed too much of state funding that rebuilding will be delayed. The National Guard is stretched quite thin as well, which could lead to further problems. One thing that most people don't realize about armies is their value to reconstruction efforts during disasters. The National Guard in California spends every summer I can remember in the mountains and hills of Southern part of the state battling forest fires.

I am very concerned as to why so many people stayed behind, and in many cases had children with them. The hurricane made landfall in Mississippi, did they not know to evacuate like those in New Orleans did? I don't understand why people stay behind, but I believe it has to do in part with our culture's love of material possessions, and more specifically love of your house. I've never owned a home personally, and have lived the last several years through college and law school like a fugitive with few personal belongings so these feelings are somewhat foreign to me. No matter what the value of your home to your personal finances, you can't spend the money your saved home if you are dead. It reminds me of the imbeciles who built their homes in wildfire zones and stay behind to battle the flames with sprinklers and a garden hose. That's not to say these events aren't similar, since this hurricane was a once in a lifetime event, but it boggles the mind why people would stay behind and face death. Do they think the news reports are lying?

Anyway I'll continue with the automotive writing after this entry. I apologize for this minor digression.

Rick the sad truth is that many that stayed behind in New Orleans did so out of ignorance or to avoid being arrested for drugs, weapons or on outstanding warrants. The criminal element that is now suround the poor and sick families that were trapped in the city. And now they are run rampant over the city looting, killing and partying. Who would think that in one of the most prosperous and developed countries in the world, something like this could happen. Biloxi took a harder hit from the huricane, New Orleans took a harder hit from the people left behind. TV footage showing fires burning and the riots and looting is very disheartening.

I live in NY and 9/11 hurt us all, but this is hell on earth. I'm in shock and I'm safely 1,500 miles away.
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