Torrent of Emotion
4:16 p.m. - 2005-08-31
Gas here is $2.99 a gallon. They're expecting another 10 cent increase tomorrow.
New Orleans just keeps filling up with water, and they're powerless to stop it. People have been living on their roofs for days now, with nothing to eat or drink, and no end in sight. It's 100 degrees outside with 100% humidity, and people are caged in by water on all sides. Bodies are floating down the street, and the coast guard is just pushing them out of the way. It's not worth wasting time on the dead, because the living still need to be rescued. Maybe they're hoping that the sharks and alligators from the aquarium will hold off attacking people if there are carcasses to eat. Thousands are dead, and officials have said that they'll never be able to give an accurate count on the bodies, because there's no way to find them all.
The police finally caved in and turned loose the prisoners in all the jails. They immediately broke into Wal-Marts and pawn shops to steal all the guns and ammunition they could get their hands on. Now gangs of armed men are roaming the streets, killing officers and robbing people at gun point. I heard a news report earlier of a nurse who stepped outside for a breath of fresh air, and someone held a gun to her head. Looters are carrying off everything they can tote, though I don't see the good of a Rolex or a plasma television when there's ten feet of water surrounding you. The images of people breaking into stores and carrying out cartfuls of stuff makes me sick to my stomach. They disgust me, and a hateful part of me thinks disturbing thoughts about them. Thoughts that I never would have believed myself capable of.
But the larger part of me feels defeated. I've been in tears for three days, and I didn't even lose anything. I feel so helpless, and aside from making donations and praying, I don't know what I can do. There's nothing TO do, I guess. I watch video of our president smiling and waving with his little black dog in arm, and I'm so ANGRY, even though this isn't his fault. I think about the troops in Iraq, wasting their time and their lives when they should be here, helping AMERICAN citizens. I remember how upset we all were after 9/11, and this is really so much worse. These people's lives are every bit as much as important as those killed and affected by the WTC tragedy. Where are the celebrity donations? Where are the tears and the wringing hands and the offers to help?
I watch video of people being picked up by helicopters and air boats, and I'm grateful for the men and women who are saving lives. I see mothers in labor being floated down the street in plastic containers, and realize how lucky I am. The shelters here are overflowing, and still people are flooding in, looking for somewhere to stay. Local churches, banks, and groceries have banded together to hand out free meals and provide children with play areas, and I'm so proud of the kindness and compassion being displayed. Another temporary shelter has been set up at the high school at the end of my street, and I plan to take a bag of clothes down there tomorrow.
My doctor told me this morning that he delivered a baby to a woman from down south, and that he's taken on a few more patients that are close to their due dates. One woman had her baby while stuck in evacuation traffic, and she named her Katrina. I don't know that I'd have wanted to attach that memory to my baby, but I suppose that she figured that it was the one good thing to come out of the storm.
My sister and her husband were told not to even try and go back for a month, but they didn't listen. They found out that their house was one of the few that didn't flood, and they left today to try and salvage what they could before it was stolen. I'm terribly worried about them, and wish that they'd have used better sense, but hopefully they'll make it back safely. All of the cell phones from that area are down, so there's no way to get in touch with them.
Never in my wildest nightmares could I have imagined such chaos and devastation. I sit in front of the television, mouth agape, shaking my head, wondering how much worse it can possibly get.