Irma Aftermath 5: Disasters bring out the Good and the Bad in people

There have been plenty of examples of how storms and the other disasters like Irma bring out the worst in people, e.g., those fighting over bottled water. (Hey, people – fill up bottles from your taps!) Or they bring out the worst people – like the home invaders or looters who end up in the news, and hopefully, jail. Then there are those idiots who do not understand that a non functioning traffic light is to be treated as a 4 way stop. The stress of the anticipation of a storm, especially when coupled with the overwhelming news coverage, whether from The Weather Channel’s crazy correspondents or the local channels blowing things out of proportion, creates plenty of emotional reactions that result in poor decision making and meltdowns. But, the other side of this is that disasters bring out the good in people. Among my extended circle of friends, several examples stand out – including the friend (in life and on Facebook) who dug in early to the forecasts and shared them as posts for the benefit of all. Another real (and FB) friend provided weather information, clues to good apps to use, and beyond that, offers of help via airboat or with the loan of generators or supplies. Today I saw a FB post from high school friends who offered a place of respite from the storm to those without power, air conditioning, etc. – a place to stay, a place to shower, or a hot meal. I’ve heard many similar stories. Melissa and I did our part as well by housing storm refugees and helping others who needed travel information during evacuations. Many of us realize that, despite the craziness of the world, despite the polarizing politics we find tiring, and despite the stresses of the storm, that we’re all in this world together. Call it creating Karma if you want to – but helping seems easy when one ends up on the better side of a storm when considering those who did not.

I believe there are more good people than bad people, however, it is often the bad people who receive the most attention.  The news media focus on all the negativity in the world because “it’s news,” while sometimes ignoring the positivity that surrounds us.  David’s and my friend who offered to use his airboat to extract people who were stranded after Hurricane Irma and offered to lend his generator and other survival supplies to those in need is an example of someone who promotes positivity in our world.  (Note to reader: This amazing and wonderful friend is an attorney who has spent his entire career helping people in need.  Thanks, Charles, for being such a fantastic human being!)  As David said, we did our part, albeit small by some measures, to help people in need.  We provided a safe and secure refuge for two dear friends of mine who were forced to evacuate; we helped family members who evacuated their home by informing them of the latest weather conditions in their city, as well as alerting them to the path of the hurricane so that they could drive to safety; we have continued to offer our home to friends who, as of this writing, are still without power.  It is easy to focus on all of the media hype about looters breaking into a boarded up urban shoe store to steal expensive sneakers and other mindless drivel, but it is sometimes difficult to look past the negativity to focus on people like David’s and my friend, Charles, who selflessly give to others.  If we “got lucky” this time by avoiding the direct path of this awful hurricane and we were fortunate to be able to provide help to others, I am certain help will be there for us if and when we need it.  That’s what life is all about to me.  We all shine on!

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