Psychiatrist time!

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So I was talking to an out-of-state friend who had an interesting theory on this whole Katrina debate (see the last post for details). He said, “Are you sure you aren’t just making excuses why New Orleans was destroyed because it makes you feel better? I mean, isn’t Tampa mostly just a bunch of bridges? A major city in Florida could be ruined, too.”

I won’t lie: he’s partially right. Visions of the 275 bridge–does that thing have a name? It connects Tampa with St. Pete?–were dancing in my head as I watched the water slowly rise and soak coastal Louisiana. That is one heck of a long bridge and it’s AT sea level. It’s so close that I get nervous when I’m driving during a bad thunderstorm, never mind a hurricane. And Katrina was allegedly a Category 3 when she broke the levees. Imagine what a 5 would do. It could wipe out parts of Orlando; Clearwater would turn into the lost city of Atlantis.

Maybe it is some kind of defense mechanism. See, they SHOULD have done more, it COULD have been avoided, and since we’re smarter/ more experienced/ better prepared, it won’t happen to us. Is that what we’re all really doing? It could be that we’re unable to produce any sympathy for New Orleans because we can’t stand to think about it…deep down in our hearts, we know Florida could be next.

14 Comments so far

  1. Terry Howard (unregistered) on November 6th, 2006 @ 10:04 am

    Well, I’m quite certain what my feelings stem from, and the guy posted on my post a few back basically calling me insensitive because I didn’t fall to my knees crying over the thought of Katrina (the post was about Orlando crime, so not sure where these New Orleans even draw the connection) just solidified it for me.

    Get over it! I have lived in Florida for every year of my 30 year life and I know ALLLLL about hurricanes and the damage they do. Seems like every other year we experience people’s lives being devastated by the storms, leaving nothing but slabs and rubble. Where was the coming together of the nation then? Where were the all star celebrity candle light vigils? Did Sean Penn helicopter into a shredded trailer park and take photo ops with tears in his eyes? Nope. And the thing is, we didn’t ask for or really want any of that. We know how to take care of the fallout and band together in our own communities, share ice and supplies with people, we pull together all on our own. What did New Orleans do? They were looting and shooting at rescue helicopters, leaving people to die on the concrete and all the time singing a song of woe-is-me why did the government abandon us, or just take a little too long to get to us by our own self imposed uneducated ascertations.

    Let me tell you, members of my family and many of my friends lost their home after the 3 hurricanes of two summers ago. And guess what, they NEVER got a check from FEMA, and never will. You aren’t alone, you aren’t the only people to have suffered, and quite frankly, you need to suck it up and get over it and rebuild and stop expecting everyone to hold your hand and cry with you 24-7. You guys acted like animals in the face of diversity, your leaders finger pointed, your citizens finger pointed (if they weren’t too busy looting and not adhering to evacuation orders) and you guys did next to nothing to pull together as a community and then expect the rest of the world to do it all for you.

    Yeah, I’m a big insensitive jerk, I know nothing of your pain, whatever!


  2. Rachel (unregistered) on November 6th, 2006 @ 11:26 am

    It’s possible Julie – I don’t spend a lot of time in Tampa. I would like to think that a city like Tampa, right on the ocean, would have taken that into consideration when they built the bridge – but I can see the concern. I have been over in Clearwater and I remember thinking that it could easily become Venice in a heartbeat. So honestly, if we take anything positive away from Katrina we should take a look it this and ask our government, “Ok, let’s look at this situation and determine if there is a better way to be prepared or change the way we do things.”

    I can understand why the previous comment, Terry, is upset. I went back and read the posts he was refering to. Yes, the comment from the guy in New Orleans was kinda dumb. Kind of a “I’m WAY worse off then you, so you can’t even compare to my problems!” Well, it was a post about crime and not Katrina in the first place. But SOMEONE always has it worse than you – techinically he could have commented back, “Well, Thailand is pretty much gone, so you can’t even say you have it bad!” Or someone in New York could say “Our crime numbers are way worse than yours!” It would just go on and on in circles. But what point does it prove? Is he saying that we should ignore the fact that there is crime here because its worse somewhere else? Should we ignore the fact that Tampa could get flooded? No – if anything we should be ENCOURAGED to talk about these sorts of things to get them out in the open and see how we can make things better before they get as bad as the next guy below us in the chain.

    I don’t think the gripes from Floridians about New Orleans is about us being afraid – I think it’s more like a very unfortunate type of ‘I told you so’ from a communtity where hurricanes are a very real threat half of the year. Like it was posted before, by you Julie I believe, we have very little sympathy for the guy who choses to drive around in the wind to take pictures or the lady who chooses to surf in the middle of the storm. I think it is more of an outcry of ‘We know what we are talking about, we’ve done this before, and please follow our lead’. I mean really, has it been that long since Andrew?


  3. Dawn (unregistered) on November 6th, 2006 @ 12:50 pm

    Seriously… did Andrew get even a 10th of the attention that Katrina is getting? No… all we got for our trouble is increased insurance premiums and companies who will no longer insure in Florida.

    And my bigger beef is the other coastal communities that were completely wiped off the face of the earth. Little places like Grand Isle and Biloxi. These places got hit harder than New Orleans and competely destroyed in some cases and they didn’t have the option of shoring up levees to protect themselves. Never mind the fact that they didn’t shoot and loot post hurricane!

    Where are THEIR candlelight vigils? Where are their headlines in the news every other day? I doubt we’ve heard more than a peep about these coastal communites more than a few weeks after Katrina.

    I do NOT feel sorry for New Orleans. It was PREVENTABLE. Their leaders chose not to prevent it.


  4. Terry Howard (unregistered) on November 6th, 2006 @ 1:28 pm

    I’ll be the first to admit I was a bit harsh before, I tend to write from the heart and I’m not going to apologize for that, but I will attempt to elaborate (yeah, because my comment was much too brief!)

    The comments I’ve seen from New Orleanians kinda illustrates my point. Their is much finger pointing and none of it ever is going in the direction of oneself. Somehow it seems like even the distant Iraqi war is to blame, which is just about as far of the mark as you can get. If you want to get really technical about it, the original architects of the city of New Orleans did not heed their own engineers’ advice to not build the city there, and that city has been in place for a long long time just waiting to be flooded. I can recall Discover magazine articles going back 10-15 years that explained how this exactly this would happen, and there was no Bush or Iraqi Wars to blame it on then. I mean, with knowing all that, and then watching what looked like people behaving like it was the complete collapse of humanity only to follow it with nothing but finger pointing. You do realize that Katrina hit Florida before it hit New Orleans, that people in South Florida were without power for months and they had rubble to sift through just the same. Given all that, what do you expect from Floridians when people from New Orleans come out of the blue throwing Katrina in their face like our problems don’t matter. Geez, think about the people who live on the Caribbean Islands. EVERY hurricane season is like Katrina for them, they get pretty much every ‘cane to pass through, multiple times per summer. Think about that.


  5. Chris (unregistered) on November 6th, 2006 @ 3:00 pm

    “I do NOT feel sorry for New Orleans. It was PREVENTABLE. Their leaders chose not to prevent it.”

    Uh, no Dawn, YOUR leaders chose not to prevent it. The hurricane protection levees are under the control of the Army Corps of Engineers. AKA the Federal Government, and they are responsible for their failure. OUR leaders have been lobbying for increased hurricane protection from them for decades now, which has fallen on deaf ears. The cost to prevent the failure of the levees would have been roughly 1% of the cost of the damage caused by their failure. Congress was been unwilling to appropriate those funds before the hurricane and they are still unwilling to pay for adequate protection. Get your facts straight.


  6. Terry Howard (unregistered) on November 6th, 2006 @ 3:17 pm

    Hmmm… where was your state representative and Senate that you elected to be your voice in the federal government and deal with these matters? Democracy puts the power in the people’s hands, and as such, the responsibility as well. The government is not your baby sitter, it is up to you to let them know what is needed via your elected officials.


  7. Jack Ware (unregistered) on November 6th, 2006 @ 3:25 pm

    He was busy stuffing money into his freezer.


  8. Dawn (unregistered) on November 6th, 2006 @ 11:54 pm

    My point is still the same. It was AVOIDABLE. That is a fact that YOU seem to need to get straight Chris.

    Like it or not… it was PREVENTALBE. How do you tell folks in Miami that the devastation from Andrew was preventable? How do you tell folks in Cozumel that Wilma’s damage and destruction was preventable? You can’t.

    Meanwhile, everyone feels awful for New Orleans, but what about the rest of the folks who suffer from the hands of these natural disasters?!?!

    Seems very one-sided to me.


  9. doctorj (unregistered) on November 7th, 2006 @ 7:29 am

    What sterling American citizens you are! Not my problem. Won’t happen to me. Guess what, it does happen. We learned the hard way. What I think is sad is that you can’t have a discussion without denigrtating your own fellow citizens that are suffering. Oh, that’s right. We are not Americans. When did America go so wrong?


  10. Terry Howard (unregistered) on November 7th, 2006 @ 1:01 pm

    Talk about missing the point entirely! Uh, yeah it does happen to us, a lot. Difference is we didn’t ignore a problem identified nearly 300 years ago and every year since and then when the inevitable happened act surprised, chaotic and extremely bitter and accusatory towards anyone and everyone in your path. Having a flood, no matter what the magnitude, does not give you a pass to behave stubbornly before the event, ignorantly and disorderly during the event, and recklessly accusatory after the event.


  11. Chris (unregistered) on November 7th, 2006 @ 1:53 pm

    Well, Dawn, if you want to go there, certainly the damage from Andrew and Wilma was preventable. Those people could have built their houses out of solid concrete, with no windows, and then they would not have been damaged. Or they could have chosen not to live in the path of hurricanes. Hindsight is always 20/20, right? But I think that is a particularly heartless and ignorant point of view, as is your uninformed opinion of the situation in New Orleans.


  12. Terry Howard (unregistered) on November 8th, 2006 @ 12:50 pm

    Yeah, they live in New Orleans, we live in Disney World. We are not allowed to have problems or opinions! Sorry, couldn’t resist! :)


  13. Leon (unregistered) on November 8th, 2006 @ 6:14 pm

    Dawn is a callous See You Next Tuesday. When her home sits in weeks of tepid, polluted water, looted and picked clean by hoodlums, and stands as a skeleton of its former self for months on end, remind me not to have sympathy for her.


  14. Dawn (unregistered) on November 9th, 2006 @ 11:01 am

    You know it’s funny…. people get mad at me for pointing out that their officials and leaders ignored them and the levee situation.

    If you want to take it out on me, fine. But I’m not in a position of authority to fix your broken city. And I don’t disagree that it should be fixed.

    But this problem didn’t creep up overnight. It went ignored for decades, by the locals and politicans alike and then everyone is crying a sob story when the enevitable happens.

    If your city water was in danger of being polluted or your sanitation department was in danger of no longer running or if the schools were threatening to close … you’d be up in arms daily demanding something be done .. until it was. The levees are just as vital to your daily lives… but they went ignored.

    Gee… kill me for me for being the one to point out the obvious. It was preventable. Argue that point and then I’ll change my tune.



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