What in the world is happening to our country? I’m not talking about the government unrest, or general state of politics, racism, religion, or immigration. I’m talking about disaster.
I do know that people are always preaching about Doomsday and the Apocalypse, and that there most certainly is always someone thinking that every little new thing in our world is a sign of the end of days. I usually shy away from that sort of talk. I try my best to have fun, take care of my own, and mind my own beeswax. Usually it works.
Have you taken a look at the news lately?
I really feel for the people of Houston. Hurricane Harvey blew through there so mightily and with such force that many tens of thousands of people were trapped. People are going to need help for a long time to get cleaned up and get back to real life.
Hurricane Harvey damages are said to rival those of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans and Superstorm Sandy in New Jersey, combined!
One has to wonder though, since we knew at least a week in advance that the storm was coming, why didn’t the powers that be issue evacuation orders for more people? The answer I heard from the governor was that since Houston is such a big city, there was concern that evacuation would have created an even bigger problem, with everyone trying to leave at the same time. Here is the answer Houston’s officials gave to CNN. (All of the links in this article will open in a new tab, you won’t lose my blog post).
It seems to me that it’s really hard to say if that was the correct decision. Sure there would have been traffic jams. And there would have been people refusing to leave, thus still needing to be rescued. There would have been people trying to come back too early, causing more problems with drownings and clogged roads.
What would have really helped, and this is in super duper hindsight, is if the City Engineers were held more accountable in design and load elements. You see, Houston has grown up mightily in the past decade or so. It’s also very flat, mostly dry and super hot. The City officials allowed for significant sprawl without accounting for emergencies. There is nowhere for excessive amounts of water to recede to quickly in that flat sea of concrete.
Did you know that Houston built new sports stadiums instead of shoring up their dams? You can read about that, here.
So far, I have covered how our government and infrastructure nearly failed us, and caused even more havoc than this disaster was already promising to bring. But what I really want to talk about are our American people, especially when faced with disaster.
Mother Nature really can show us that she’s still boss, can’t she?
What I do appreciate about national disasters, especially ones caused by Mother Nature, is that our people know how to come together to help each other out. You have to love the stories about the Cajun Navy. They are a bunch of redneck cowboys, running around with their boats, rescuing people and animals from submerged areas. They are using their own equipment and resources. They took it upon themselves to organize and do their best to help everyone that they possibly could. I salute you Cajun Navy!
I do not salute the rich pastor who refused to open his church until he was publicly shamed. Perhaps you have been under a rock and don’t know the story, click here to read all about it. I am thankful that he eventually did. I have a feeling that Joel Osteen’s mighty empire will become a whole heck of a lot less popular in the days to come.
There are so many volunteers coming from all over the US to help. Oh, and of course from Mexico too. I’m so proud of the Mexican government for sending troops and supplies into Houston, especially after all the hassle going on lately about how Mexico is going to pay for the fictitious wall between our two countries. I am a little irritated with President Trump for telling them that he will “let them know” if we need help. Thanks for sending the help anyway Mexico!
A friend of mine, Ms. Maggie May we’ll call her, signed up to be an emergency FEMA worker this past January. She has had minimal training prior to now. She was called to come and help in Houston. She went without hesitation and is there now, doing her best to alleviate the suffering of our fellow Americans! Thank you for being a stand up American Maggie!
Thank you to Tide for sending cleaning supplies, thank you to Anhauser Busch for shutting down beer production in one of the their plants and switching over to canning water! Thank you to Bass Pro Shops for sending boats, to Lowe’s and Home Depot for sending supplies, and to countless other American Companies who are selflessly donating goods and money in this crisis! Click here to see a list of corporations and how they are helping.
I salute all of our American people in Houston. There have been so many stories lately in the news about racism, Black Lives Matter, Nazi’s, deporting illegal immigrants. Since Hurricane Harvey hit, do you know what I’ve been seeing? You have probably seen the same thing. People in trouble do not see color. They are all helping each other.
In the back of my mind I wonder if all this racism we keep reading about is being brought up to distract us from other issues. Surely, if we were such a divided country, we would not be seeing all of the brotherhood that we are.
Way to go people of the USA, and thank you for your help Mexico. Though it will take many years to bring Texas back to where she was, we have collectively proven that we the people can come together as one heart and mind to help our brothers and sisters in dire need. I applaud you.
Moving on to bigger and better things, eh Hurricane Irma?
Today I am praying for the people of Florida and the Florida Keys. If we are to listen to the news, it’s an even bigger storm. It does seem that the government may have learned a lesson or two though, as many areas are being evacuated. Or maybe that’s because they are used to Hurricanes as an annual event.
Way to go Florida! Now get out of there.
Here in Washington, as you may or may not know, we are fighting our own disastrous situation. The beautiful, majestic Pacific Northwest, including much of Oregon, parts of Washington and a huge swath of Montana is on fire!
People nationwide aren’t hearing so much news about it, as most of the fire is in our vast forestland. Certainly there are personal properties being threatened and people are losing their entire livelihoods, but here too we are seeing a vast mobilization of volunteers.
Our own JBLM soldiers are going through a rigorous 4 day training (I believe they are on day 3 right now), so that they can help with the fires. You can read about their training and deployment here.
The trouble with the fires is that there are so many, and they are quickly behaving as if they will be joining up to form one gigantic burning mass.
These fires are not new news. Most of them have been burning for weeks, and most of them are less than 10% contained.
I am thankful for and pray for all of the men and women fighting those fires. Fire can be and probably usually is more devastating than wind and water. Fire creates total, burned to the blank, black ground, devastation.
Getting close to home, my home, and probably your home as a matter of fact, is the problem of the smoke. As I look out the window now, this would be beautiful end of summer day is an awkward Sepia shade of haze.
I cannot see Mount Rainier, a sight I have seen on the horizon my entire life, except for the six months of rain we have every year of course 🙂 .
The smoke and ash are covering everything, and the nearest fire is at least 100 miles away.
I’ve had a headache for three days and there is ash all over my brand new car. It’s a definite first world problem I know, but our air quality is of huge concern to me. I’ve even been trying to keep our cats in the house and encourage them to stay low. They do understand english you know.
Like every fire season, our brave firemen and volunteers will quash it, and if they can’t, the rains will come, like they do every year. The devastation will last all winter, but the forest will regrow. Maybe that’s why the fires aren’t getting the attention that the Hurricane’s are.
I urge you to think about the people affected by these travesties of nature, and help in any way you can.
I also urge you to think about the issues that have been going on in our country, and how distracting and unimportant they are. I urge you to not fight with your neighbor about the quality of our President, or the color of each other’s skin. I urge you to consider what is important to you, and what you want to hear about and help with. I urge you to take a step back from politics and from your daily life. So many do not have that choice right now.
Stay strong America, we can get through this, we need you.
Our people are not the government. Our people are not the infrastructure. Our people are not petty, not when it really counts.
I am ever proud to be a citizen of this great country, and I am even more proud of the people that really make us who we are.
Stay strong America!