Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Yesterday, I worked late, went home and ate dinner, read for a bit, then went to bed early. I think the excitement has gone out of my life.

Today will be a bit of a link-fest. We start with two posts from A Stitch in Haste on the evil that lurks in the hearts of men (if you know what that's originally from, you are older than I am). Notice that the first two have nothing to do with a natural disaster. Natural disasters simply loosen the lid enough to let the real person out. That these kind of events are both rare and shocking at least tells us that civilization works in a broad sense. The last is Katrina-related, but certainly not caused by Katrina. The defense from the medical staff is simply bone-chilling: "To my knowledge -- and I'll go to my grave with this -- there was no one there who could have been salvaged." Sorry "Dr." John J. Kokemor, but you have no business practicing medicine. I have no idea of the size of this medical center, and maybe it was true that right at the moment of evacuation there were 34 people "in their death throes." But this kind of callousness is inexcusable. Salvaged indeed.

Two articles that point out better than anything I have seen what people like Fred Reed mean when they talk about two nations living in one set of borders. Read this article, watch the video, look at the slides. Then tell me what that group of people from New Orleans have in common with this person:

Letter from South Louisiana

Dear America,

I suppose we should introduce ourselves: We're South Louisiana.

We have arrived on your doorstep on short notice and we apologize for that, but we never were much for waiting around for invitations. We're not much on formalities like that.

And we might be staying around your town for a while, enrolling in your schools and looking for jobs, so we wanted to tell you a few things about us. We know you didn't ask for this and neither did we, so we're just going to have to make the best of it.

First of all, we thank you. For your money, your water, your food, your prayers, your boats and buses and the men and women of your National Guards, fire departments, hospitals and everyone else who has come to our rescue.

We're a fiercely proud and independent people, and we don't cotton much to outside interference, but we're not ashamed to accept help when we need it. And right now, we need it.

Just don't get carried away. For instance, once we get around to fishing again, don't try to tell us what kind of lures work best in your waters. We're not going to listen. We're stubborn that way.

You probably already know that we talk funny and listen to strange music and eat things you'd probably hire an exterminator to get out of your yard.

We dance even if there's no radio. We drink at funerals. We talk too much and laugh too loud and live too large and, frankly, we're suspicious of others who don't.

But we'll try not to judge you while we're in your town.

Everybody loves their home, we know that. But we love South Louisiana with a ferocity that borders on the pathological. Sometimes we bury our dead in LSU sweatshirts.

Often we don't make sense. You may wonder why, for instance - if we could only carry one small bag of belongings with us on our journey to your state - why in God's name did we bring a pair of shrimp boots?

We can't really explain that. It is what it is.

You've probably heard that many of us stayed behind. As bad as it is, many of us cannot fathom a life outside of our border, out in that place we call Elsewhere.

The only way you could understand that is if you have been there, and so many of you have. So you realize that when you strip away all the craziness and bars and parades and music and architecture and all that hooey, really, the best thing about where we come from is us.

We are what made this place a national treasure. We're good people. And don't be afraid to ask us how to pronounce our names. It happens all the time.

When you meet us now and you look into our eyes, you will see the saddest story ever told. Our hearts are broken into a thousand pieces.

But don't pity us. We're gonna make it. We're resilient. After all, we've been rooting for the Saints for 35 years. That's got to count for something.

OK, maybe something else you should know is that we make jokes at inappropriate times.

But what the hell.

And one more thing: In our part of the country, we're used to having visitors. It's our way of life. So when all this is over and we move back home, we will repay to you the hospitality and generosity of spirit you offer to us in this season of our despair.

That is our promise. That is our faith.

More from Chris Rose here, here, here, and here.

Speaking of evil, the AnalPhilosopher starts off with The Logical Problem of Evil, followed by Can Implies Ought? Both are important and need some thought.

And last, it seems the reputation of bureaucrats is not holding up well under Katrina. Big surprise, that.

And I need to do some work.

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