It is said that when Mother Nature shows her worst, people show their best. It is difficult to fathom what the people of Texas went through because of Hurricane Harvey. Photos, film clips and media reports are gut-wrenching. Other recent natural disasters come to mind: an earthquake in Haiti; earthquakes and tsunamis in Japan and the Indian Ocean; the eruption of Mount St. Helens, wildfires in California, Hurricane Katrina; and in New Jersey, Hurricane Irene and Superstore Sandy. It would not take much to double the size of this list.
The common thread among these disasters is the outpouring of help that came from places far and wide to help the victims. Local, state and national government and agencies, police and sheriffs’ departments and firefighters, the National Guard all did their jobs and went above and beyond the call of duty. Whenever I see how quickly and generously people are willing to give of themselves, I marvel at the magnitude of donations of money, medical supplies, clothing and other necessaries from charitable organizations, relief agencies, non-profits and ordinary citizens. Strength in numbers is evident, and dit works.
To be sure, there are always those who would profit from disasters by looting, price-gouging and other despicable actions. And politics sometimes inserted its ugly head (like when some members of Congress objected to Federal relief for New Jersey disaster victims – the same members who now (rightly) seek the flood relief and who should not, and will not, be turned away). The malevolence of the few pales in comparison to the benevolence of the many.
We should all be proud of the first responders and those who have no obligation to respond other than their sense of duty and morality.
There is a need to move on and find a solution to continual flooding in certain areas of the country. First, however, lets help the victims get onto a path of recovery.