Response to comment
Wow, I've been absolutely astounded by the amount of comments I've gotten on my itty-bitty blog! There's now like SEVEN total comments on the whole site! ;) I'm so humbled.
Of course you know I've made it in the blogging world when I start getting spam comments-- I appreciate that very much, to those offenders. Like enough shit isn't going on in my life for me to drudge through spam comments, but anyway, to my lovely readers (the three or four of you out there), please don't think those idiots posting spam stuff reflects on me.
Anyway, I did want to respond to one comment that I got on my "Analysis of Human Waste..." post. I'm not sure if this post is from my absolutely wonderful friend Judi from Australia, who's one of the coolest people on the planet, but even if it's not, it does bring up a good point that probably should be addressed after the rant that I made in that post. Anyway, here's the anonymous comment:
Now being a citizen of the lucky country (Australia that is, - lucky we don't get hurricanes at least)I am not going to profess that I know anything at all about American politics. God knows, it is hard enough for me to come to grips with our brown nosing prime minister who continually has his head up the amazing Mr Bushs' bum!! But even without reading the devastating description that you have posted, I have to wonder - who would actively choose to stay in a place where their lives are in grave danger?!? Do your politicians really think that the people who stayed did so out of choice?!? Very enlightening - thanks
First off, yes, Australia is a lucky country-- absolutely beautiful and some of the nicest people on the planet. (Edited to add: I mean this is the country that brought us the exquisite movie, Priscilla, Queen of the Desert! How can anyone not think this is one of the greatest countries on the planet???) But you didn't think that's what I would address, did you? ;)
What's more important is the question about whether or not people would stay in the direct path of a hurricane and put their lives in danger. It's hard for people not in hurricane zones to understand, but yes, there are always people who deliberately stay behind despite having the means and ability to evacuate. (Katrina, however, had fewer people doing this than your average hurricane-- it wasn't hard to see how catastrophic it could be compared with the past hurricane threats we had dealt with.)
In my opinion, after having lived almost a quarter of a century in a hurricane zone, the people who stay behind usually fall into two camps. The first are the die-hard, good ol' American "I have to protect my property against this menace!" type of people. For Hurricane Ivan last year, my father fell into this camp, mostly because one of his best friends is ALWAYS in this camp. Property and the protection of it are so ingrained into the American psyche as one of the most important values out there, and a lot of Americans, not the least of which those in the hurricane zones, feel a need to protect their property at all costs. So some will stay behind during a hurricane to be on hand if any desperate need to save the house or land arises, or in the worst case scenario (though they won't admit it), to die for the noble cause of "saving" their property.
Even though I've always known people who do this, it doesn't 100% make sense. You can protect your property from a burglar-- lock your doors and windows, get a burglar alarm, call 911 for police, and if necessary, shoot the burglar to protect your family and your property. That's a scenario where you can usually take some action from beginning to end to do your part in "saving your property." But a hurricane? The most you can do for those is board up your windows and set up sandbags at the doors and spots most vulnerable for flooding. After that, the hurricane kind of has the upper hand and there really isn't much else you can do.
But maybe you could try arguing that with one of these people and get it to work, but so far few have. They're usually the ones who are "set in their ways".
Anyway, in the second camp are the people who feel, "Well, I lived through Hurricane X and Hurricane Y and survived that, so I can definitely make it through this storm." Or something along the lines of, "I've been evacuating from all these hurricanes time after time and nothing's ever happend-- I'm sick of it, and I won't do it anymore."
I must confess that I have said the second sentence whilst deciding whether or not to evacuate, but in the end I'm always a wimp and I evacuate, no matter how sick I am of it. But if you've lived here a while, being on the run is exhausting and often fruitless; you spend all that time evacuating, and 9 times out of 10, the bloody hurricane will make a last minute shift and not even head towards you. And you think, "Damn, what a waste. I wish I had stayed home."
So those are the two general mindsets that keep some people here in the path of a hurricane. But again, before any lawmakers or idiots like Bill O'Reilly take me out of context (because I'm so important like that), Katrina was a different story altogether. Most people who could leave, did, even if they wanted to protect their property or if they were sick of evacuating. When you live here long enough, you develop enough of a sixth-sense about these storms, and we all knew this storm was different than most of the ones in the past.