We humans are a strange breed. We are at our best during the worst of times. It would seem disaster, be it man made or natural, is the great equalizer. Consider 9/11, hurricane Katrina, the cyclone in Myanmar and the quakes in China. The world has put aside nationality, religion, gender and color for the sake of need.
Consider too, the out pouring of support for Ted Kennedy upon learning his diagnosis of a malignant brain tumor. As I look at all these stories as they unfold, I sense a degree of detachment that is troublesome. All the correct words are being spoken; the facial expressions mirror sadness, grief, fear. Yet there is still a sense of detachment.
I watch the news of local flooding on the increase. It's closer to home, yet the stories seem to lack empathy. What really drove it home, however, is a story in the Coeur d'Alene Press about the owner of a home built for him and his late sister's kids by the Extreme Home Makeover being forced to sell.
The detachment, I think, needs to be tied with a lack of forethought and proper follow up when dealing with disasters. Ted Kennedy will receive the best medial care available. The others will not be so lucky if things proceed as usual. It's because the sentiment tends to be reactionary rather than well thought out.
9/11. It still lingers on. The rebuild has yet to begin. Katrina. New Orleans is still a shambles. What happens in Myanmar? The government is still resisting aid. And China? When the headlines go away, what will happen to the people left behind?
We, the people, need to think things through before tragedy strikes. Good intentions and the outpouring of reactionary support are wonderful attributes, but they don't always serve us well.
Take the "extreme home" as an example close at hand. Here is a man who was chosen to have a home built for him by well intentioned people. He was a construction worker at the time, living with the two youngsters in a bermed basement. What did they build for him? For a single man and two youngsters? A nearly 3700 square foot house on an acre of property. All this for a man who works full time, when he has work, and spends the rest of his time raising those kids. His pay didn't go up to offset the increase in expenses. The construction business, especially in his area, has tanked. So now he has no other option except to sell.
The kids will be uprooted from the nicest home they'll have for some time. The owner isn't even sure where he'll go.
So here we are. People trying to help people. People needing people. The forethought wasn't there. The follow up is sad. Unfortunately, we don't hear enough to drive the aftermath home. What will happen to all those people who's homes will be damaged or ruined by the flood waters?
It's time, people. Forethought. Follow up.