I’ve finally turned off my TV. I had to. Intellectually reconciling myself with the grim realities of a disaster on the scale of Hurricane Katrina is disturbing enough, but the constant CNN video feed of the people stuck in New Orleans, suffering, starving, and helpless, reduced me to a puddle. I’m one of those people who cries more often watching the news than during sad movies or as a result of personal pain. The world keeps me up at night, and last night, I stayed up like it was my own private wake for the people I saw on CNN.

Maybe social injustice is just the lens through which I see the world, but I kept wondering, if they can get 40,000 soldiers into New Orleans, why can’t they get 50,000 people out? And on that note, why does it seem like almost all the people stuck and screaming outside the convention centre are black, while those safely inside the Houston Astrodome are almost all white? I hope it’s just me, but even though I don’t particularly believe in god, I’m saying extra prayers just in case.
Please let all those people be rescued safely and cared for gently.
Please don’t let the world be as awful a place as I sometimes think it is.

There are almost as many police and soldiers in New Orleans as stranded civilians, and I have to admit to myself why: because two days is all it takes for some people to become animals. I know that’s a simplistic way to look at it, but I can’t concede that I might share my species with people who would rape other people trying to escape the aftermath of a hurricane. Looting is one thing. In a system where many people are disenfranchised and taught a value set that compels them to want what they will never be able to afford, looting when the system falls apart seems somehow natural to me. Hell, we’ve had looting here because our hockey team lost. Looting is a crime against property, not humanity. Raping hurricane victims, on the other hand…
Please watch over all those people still stuck in hell. Protect them from nature and each other.
Besides, most of the stolen goods were things like food, drinks, and toilet paper.

Katrina is my little sister’s name. She is moving away this weekend to start university, and I tell her that it’s a good thing we don’t believe in omens. I joke about always having known that her fury could be deadly even though I’m the one in the family known for my temper. It was a bad joke to begin with, but somehow I’m still secretly scared for her. If I can cry all night watching the news, what kind of effect could it have to have such suffering become associated with your name? I tell her maybe she shouldn’t travel south for awhile, but quit because none of this was ever even funny, it’s just that I didn’t know what to say.