Saturday, September 03, 2005

Can't sleep...

Here I am, just after midnight, unable to settle down and go to sleep. I made the mistake of turning on the news and watching hurricane coverage. I tend to stay relatively sheltered - don't really watch the evening news and don't have time to read the paper, except on Sunday. I knew things were bad in the south, but I didn't realize how bad until I picked up the paper today while visiting my in-laws. The front page of the Oregonian had a photo of a man in a lawn chair, bent over, his head resting on the arm. His clothes were torn and filthy, and he didn't have any socks on. My stomach turned when I read the caption and it stated that the man was dead. I didn't know which was worse - the fact that the man had died in a lawn chair while waiting to be rescued, or that there were people milling around in the background, oblivious or desensitized to the fact that he was dead. That was the moment that it really hit me how bad things are.

Then I got angry. How could this happen here? Reading the descriptions of the looting and violence, and the horrifying conditions in the Superdome and the NO Convention Center - places where people thought they were going to get shelter and help - it was like reading about a third world country. I don't want to get overly political here, but why is it taking so long to get things organized? Why doesn't anybody seem to be in control? Why are the weakest members of society completely abandoned, left to fend for themselves among criminals? Shouldn't they be the ones who are helped first? On Nightline, a reporter interviewed a woman in the convention center with her 90-year-old mother who suffers from dementia. She was very concerned that her mother wasn't going to make it since she'd been without food and water for days. She said that the dead were being thrown into the river behind the convention center, and she just couldn't bear the thought of her mother being put back there. I couldn't help thinking that that could be my grandmother, or my husband's...or anyone's, for that matter. Well, the difference is that we have the means to get our loved ones out of harm's way.

My baby is crying, and I'm happy to be able to go to my warm bed and feed him. I am going to give him a bunch of extra kisses tonight.


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