Gulf Coast Disaster Questions Keep Surfacing

By Curtis K. Shelburne

As daily we are seeing more ramifications of Hurricane Katrina’s devastation of the Gulf Coast, new dimensions of the disaster continue to impress themselves on our minds.  

It is very hard to wrap your mind around such widespread devastation, but the pictures and sound-bytes just keep pouring in.

Water everywhere.
Wrecked homes and buildings everywhere.
Folks perched on rooftops.
Rescues still going on days after the catastrophic event.
Huge domed stadiums becoming huge anthills of newly-spawned homeless.
Thugs looting.
Thugs shooting.
Families being separated.
Families being reunited.
Evacuees being relocated.
People wondering why such things happen.
People asking some good but tough questions that need to be asked.
People with lots of practice blaming the government blaming the government.
Politicians trying to give good answers.
Politicians trying to duck tough questions.
A really loud and foul-mouthed mayor.
Folks already playing the race card (when the far larger societal cracks are, as usual, much more economic and class-related than race-related).
The usual glory-hounds  drawn to the media frenzy like flies to cow patties.
Quietly good people all over the country, people who just want to help and want no glory, donating money, food, clothing, and time to help salvage wrecked lives.

And even after the most pressing questions for so many are answered, questions like “Where do I get food today?” many, many more questions pile up higher than the water covering New Orleans. Questions like why, apart from understandable but irrational emotion, would anyone even consider rebuilding in the exact below-sea-level locations and situations where the same thing can and certainly will someday happen yet again?

Some of the questions I’d pondered were answered last evening and this morning by the news people.

How do you get cash when your bank’s closed and underwater? Is your credit card any good?

How can you find family members?

What about animals and pets?

Just how toxic is that water anyway?

And I still wonder, what about spiritual families? If you’re not really a serious part of one, you won’t even understand the question. But how hard it must be not just to know that the place where you worship is destroyed, but to have to wonder what’s happened to those you worship with who love you as much or more than your physical families. I pray that those spiritual families can get back together. In the meantime, I hope they learn what a truly large Christian family they have.