The radio coverage and real-world discussions I've heard about Katrina and the tragedy in New Orleans have left me disheartened. It's not possible to listen to the news without analysts pointing fingers and blaming. I understand that when a disaster happens, it's a healthy response to try to figure out if we can do better in the future. If the levees had been built to withstand a Force 4 hurricane, perhaps this wouldn't have happened. When the implication is that the person doing the talking would himself have made smarter decisions in the past...this makes my heart sink. The emergency management in New Orleans doesn't look like it is being handled with a great degree of competence, I agree. But none of us making those value judgments from afar really know what it's like on the ground there--what resources are really available, and what the obstacles are to getting them where they are needed.
Getting my car's oil changed yesterday, a woman in the waiting room went on a bitter rant about the people who didn't do the smart thing and leave during the evacuation. "I just can't understand it! Especially the families with young children!" The implication of what she was saying is that since these families didn't act to protect themselves, she didn't need to feel burdened with sympathy for them in their current plight.
But who am I to complain about the reactions of others? Mostly I feel numb and empty-hearted in the face of this toll of human suffering.
God, give me a better and stronger heart.