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Wednesday, January 26, 2022  

We The PeoplePublished 9/19/2005

I am an American. Unless you have been in a coma you are aware of the disaster that hit the Gulf Coast.

I am always amazed at the extremes of good will we are capable of in times like these. During this time of stress and need and devastation, I was also appalled to see some of the behaviors that have surfaced.

It is unfortunate that New Orleans has been destroyed. It is sad that so many lives have been lost. It is despicable that relief was so slow in arriving. It is degrading that during this time of desperation crimes like rape continued to be perpetrated. Looting to some extent is expected and even justified.

When something like this occurs and people are left stranded and without the basic necessities of survival the theft of water must be overlooked. The blankets and even mattresses that I saw lining the outside of the convention center are not even a stretch of imagination for me. If I were stranded and had no idea how long I may be sleeping in the street in front of a building that was supposed to be a pick-up spot, I would likely find a mattress and blankets and make my stay comfortable.

Without food and water I would obviously take anything I could find to sustain myself and my family and likely even a larger group. I can realistically understand that hunting and gathering would be a very natural system to revert to.

Criminal activity though should be easily discernable from hunting and gathering for survival. In a time when there is no electricity, people hauling off appliances are obviously not taking them to help with the tasks of survival. Looting assembly lines running from the back door of high-end clothing shops and jewelry stores is blatantly theft. The most inexcusable, horrendous, unfathomable crime to hear of in this time of already bleak existence is rape.

I want to be somewhat clinical in my outlook when I hear things of this nature. Mental illness is a large problem among the homeless of which we all know New Orleans has more than their fair share. I want to think there are many people who are there that are unbalanced and just don’t really know one way or the other what they should be doing.

Then I think about the entire situation. No police and largely no protection. People just wandering and staying any place they can find. I realize that much of this is most likely just crime of convenience. There will always be those in any society that are on the fringe of lawlessness. Many of these are held to a certain level of corruption simply due to fear of punishment. Regrettably, in a time like this some of those people will push the envelope solely because they can get away with it. This can not be compared to mental illness, this is condemnable.

Thank God for the rest of the American people. Fortunately, the majority is working to help all of those in need. As I stated in the beginning, I am always amazed at the support our country can muster when in need. From one end of the country to the other assistance is arriving daily.

I have already heard suggestions for many things that our unit or our facility can do to try to lend some aid. One nurse suggests that all nurses donate a day’s wages, either work an extra day or just donate the wages from a regularly scheduled day. I know that many of the major healthcare systems are willing to match anything an employee donates. There are suggestions to start food drives to prepare for the shortages that will surely continue for some time to come.

Everyone that is helping deserves our prayers and support. We are the richest nation in the world. Wouldn’t it be nice if we were also the most compatible?

We could all be tolerant and understanding of our neighbors. Their life choices would be their own. We could accept anyone as an equal regardless of race, color, creed, sexual preference or religion. At least we are able to bury our differences and offer aid and assistance and that is a start.

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