As the images and stories come in, I simply am crushed by what has happened in the South.
Locally, prices at the pump here didn’t maintain their sanity. While the price of a barrel of oil increased by about a dollar, the price of a gallon of gas here went up between 30 and 40 cents. There are folks saying that the price of a barrel could go up to $100. If a dollar increase in the barrel price translates to 30 cents per gallon at the pump, then a gallon of gas will then increase by $8.70/gallon, to about $11.50 a gallon.
And now there’s talk of moving oil from the strategic reserve to the oil companies. Why? If half the refinery capacity is offline right now, what good is more barrels of oil? The refineries can’t process them, so there’s no benefit to the price of heating oil or gasoline. That smells political to me, pure and simple. Unless I’m missing the boat somewhere, all the oil barrels in the world wouldn’t do any good, and no increase in unrefined oil will lower prices.
So many things today lead me to such a sense of insecurity, helplessness, and a lack of control. I’ll be writing off and on throughout the night and the next many days and weeks as things strike me. Few are listening, but it’s therapeutic for me. As I hear more stories of the folks in the way of Katrina, I realize I have no room to whine about the price of gas, the weather, the cost of living day to day. Those folks have nothing. Nothing. And a nothing of a kind that I certainly can’t imagine, and probably neither can almost any one else in our country.
And, without anything, along with a lack of basic needs, people are reverting to their lowest level. Looting, stealing, carjacking. And loads of angry people doing things they wouldn’t otherwise do. And under cover of darkness, it’ll probably only get worse.
New Orleans is 80% under water, and the water is still rising. The news is reporting that the mayor is suggesting that a mandatory evacuation of the whole city may be necessary. It’s just so staggering. 5,000,000 folks without power, and they may be that way for weeks or months. Likely an unimaginable toll in lives lost. Not enough supplies. No where for the survivores to go, and no way to get there.
I think it was Biloxi’s mayor that said this was “our tsunami”. He’s right. Do I really believe that other countries and other people will come to our aid the way Americans did after the Tsunami last year? I doubt it. I can’t imagine that other countries will remember our charity, and come to our aid.
It’s a feeling of desparation. I feel such a sense of wanting to help, far beyond sending money. Hands can help clear away debris, fill sandbags, and maybe give a shoulder to cry upon. Money can’t supply that, but money’s all I can give. Even if I could break away from work for a few weeks or months, there’s no way to get there, and they probably don’t need another mouth to feed down there anyway. Sending money seems so impersonal and so useless, but I know it’s the right and only thing to do at this point.
To me, this is easily as shell-shocking as 9/11 was, and not because of the financial and economic impact, but because of the human toll. Seeing people that talk like I do, live in places I’ve lived and visited, and that I share a common sense of family and culture with in such a state of choas and destruction feels like someone sucker punched me.
I don’t know how to end this tonight, except to say that I will be praying, and praying hard. You should too.