As I write this Hurricane Ike is pounding the shores of Galveston Texas, with Weather.com showing the eye of the storm just about as far away from Galveston as Galveston is from Houston. At the same time that Hurricane Ike is slamming to the shore, various news agencies report that thousands are still in the direct path of the storm and refuse to leave. Various state and federal authorities are on record saying that people who remain in the path of the storm... will die. Some analysts think that Hurricane Ike could take more lives than Hurricane Katrina and Rita combined, and possibly be the most lethal hurricane to ever strike US soil.
While talking about the potential death toll, some friends of mine were shocked at the pure indifference I displayed towards the people remaining in the path of the storm. Quite simply, I can't care about them.
One of the best, and worst, stories I have from the Hurricane Katrina disaster is one I mentioned in passing on the Livejournal site back in September 2005. I seriously took a call from a person who was not getting any cable TV, wanted to watch WWE, and had no roof over their head.
During Top Gear's American Journey across the south a couple seasons ago, Jeremy Clarkson wondered how the richest country in the world could possibly let the squalor and damage remain years after Katrina hit. I just wanted to scream back at Clarkson that he didn't get it. People in Louisiana simply didn't care about their state, or about New Orleans. It was full of Liberal Democrats whose complete and utter failure at the governmental level resulted in the devastation of the city. After Katrina hit, people in New Orleans expected financial handouts, and expected the government, and through the government all the surrounding states to fix everything up and pay for everything.
All I can do is just point at South Carolina, North Carolina, South Georgia, and Flordia, which get smacked by Hurricanes and Tropical storms just about every year. Even after disasters such as Hurricane Hugo or Hurricane Bonnie there were no expectations that the federal government, or the rest of the states, would swoop in and fix everything and pay the financing. Private citizens did the work themselves. Yes, they accepted volunteer help, but even less than 6months after Hurricane Hugo struck in Charleston, the town was pretty much back to normal.
That difference between the costs is marked in a political manner. I shouldn't have to explain it. New Orleans was a disaster because the political party running the city was a disaster.
I can't explain liberalism. I can't explain mental insanity. That's what New Orleans was.
In the same way, I can't explain why people would hunker down with a 200mile plus wide category 2 hurricane moving in. If I had been living in Galveston, or any of the coastal towns in Texas, I'd have done bugged out of there as soon as it became known that the Hurricane was going to hit.
I can't explain people who want to sit in the path of a Hurricane and hope for the best. I don't want to explain people like that. I'm glad I don't think like that. From what I've heard bus business's were offering free rides to people moving away from the coast. I've heard that hotels in the states just north of Texas, and in North Texas, are opening up rooms for Free. Simply provide a drivers license showing you live in one of the landfall cities, and you have shelter for a few days. That's not including the standard opening of Church doors to provide shelter, and the offers that shoot up from people 2 or 3 states away to host families whose homes are in the direct path of the hurricane.
Why, in the world, would someone willingly sit in the middle of a hurricane path then?
I don't know. I have no sympathy for anybody that does.
Honestly, I only feel sorry for the clean-up people, because I've dealt with some of the soon to be, and affected geographical territories. I've taken calls, and I've had to explain to people that a Hurricane hit. I've had to explain that a Hurricane is big. I've had to explain that if a car is flipped over in your drive-way, you probably should have left town (not a joke, trust me on that).
Maybe I'm cold, maybe I'm heartless, and I hope the damage isn't as bad as expected... but sympathy for Hurricane victims who chose to stay in the way of the storm? I have none of that.