Friday, September 02, 2005

We're All Just One Step Away

Before I even opened my eyes this morning, Andrew had tuned in to Canada AM. I was barely conscious when I started hearing words that made me want to put the pillows over my head and hide out from the world. I rode to work this morning, trying to keep down the panic that was rising in my chest as I pedalled.

This is all just so unreal. So horrible. I have to ask, was it like this after the tsunami and we just didn't know because it was so far away? Or is it that, as North Americans, we have so much and expect so much that we have that much farther to fall? America is the richest country in the world, how can this be happening?

I have no idea how I would react in a similar situation. Yeah - we had a hurricane here. Juan was a bastard, but he didn't make our city into a modern day Atlantis. In comparison to Katrina, Juan was just a grumpy giant who toppled our trees, ripped off our roofs and siding and threw some boats around. (In no way is this meant to diminish the lives that were lost during Juan.) Do you think that we, as Canadians, would be any more rational when everything we've ever known has been taken away over night? When everyone we've ever loved is suffering or dewing before our eyes? I know we live through nasty blizzards that can shut us off from the rest of the world for days, but if we hadn't eaten in days... how would we react?

Let's play a game for a second. Let's play the "If I Was In Charge" game. 'cause I know you're all doing it at home.

If I Was In Charge:
1. I would hope that I would have realized that a city sitting below sea level is at risk, and could, at any time, suffer catastrophic damage from a hurricane. And after all the hurricanes last season, I would hope that I would spend some money on ensuring that whatever holds the water out is reinforced. 'cause Superman is not around to fix the dam this time...
2. When ordering a mass evacuation of a city, I would hope that I would be smart enough and sensitive enough to the poor of the city to get them out BEFORE the storm.
3. I would bring my armies home. If not for the sake of the relief effort, but also for the sake of those who had family living in the hurricane's path.

We always forget that we are mere ants in Mother Nature's path.


  1. In Yarmouth we really didn't get all that much with Juan. At my house, the power didn't even go off. It is strange that where we live now, the power almost never goes off, but before, only a 15 minute drive away the power went off all the time.

  2. I totally agree with you, Steph. The government took a Ford Pinto-esque gamble with the preparation for Hurricane Katrina. I think if you were in charge, you would have brought the troops home and had them go in to evacuate. As for the similarities to the tsunami, I think you are right when you say because it's further away, the Western world couldn't identify with the horrific aftermath. I've been to the countries that were devastated by the tsunami and believe me, in many ways it was so much worse than New Orleans and Mississippi. I think the tragedy with Katrina is the government had both the means, money and manpower to prevent loss of human life and didn't use them, whereas the tsunami affected countries had none of them and were decimated.