Wednesday, October 24, 2007

[The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind] Blue Sky...

From what I've been able to gather, things seem to be calming down on the Southern California fire-front as people far more courageous than I --or anyone I know for that matter-- have started to get a handle on the fires and beat back the threatening flames. This morning, there was blue sky visible in the San Diego area, and when you are stuck in an area choked with smoke and ash, and your world is a blazing chaotic nightmare, something blue can become a welcomed beacon of calm and hope.

Now, one of the things I've noticed which truly annoys me (and probably annoys a hell of a lot of other people) is how the media has been desperately trying to find parallels between these Southern California wildfires and Hurricane Katrina which pounded the Gulf Coast some years back. It's baffling as they seek to proclaim this is either a black/white or rich/poor issue when it quite possibly couldn't be further from either of those social issues.

The fact is, people in the San Diego area were prepared for these fires, while those along the Gulf Coast were surprised by the devastation of Katrina. It has nothing to do with money, and it has nothing to do with the color of one's skin. If New Orleans were to be ravaged by a hurricane every year, I think we could all expect them to be considerably more prepared, and, as a result, that situation could have been handled considerably better and we wouldn't be bemoaning the federal shortcomings today. In fact, as far as San Diego is concerned, it seems the general opinion is that the government would simply get in the way of what is a rather impressive and effective state-level emergency response that has been nothing short of heroic and admirable. All that seems needed at the federal level is for them to sign the checks when it comes time to rebuild.

Perhaps if these wildfires were taking place in a part of the nation less familiar with such a phenomenon, I'd imagine the level of confusion and chaos would be easily comparable. For example, if the city of Chicago we overtaken by fire (again), I think you would definitely see the same results we saw following Katrina. Chicago, quite simply, doesn't deal with wildfires on a yearly basis --just as New Orleans doesn't deal with hurricanes once a year.

Nonetheless, even though what is happening in San Diego is horrendous and tragic, it's not something foreign or unexpected. However, for the media to go this far out of their way in trying to marry these two tragedies is pointless and a complete waste of time, and it's an insult to the victims of both catastrophes.



Posted By Dan to The Wisdom of a Distracted Mind at 10/24/2007 03:56:00 PM


  1. Sometimes, I'm really glad that I miss most mass media.  (I will state that I have heard only good things in regards to the USCG and NOAA in relation to Hurricane Katrina and the other one right along with it, but ah, yeah, the others seemed to have boggled things.)

    I'm glad to hear that there is some blue sky again.  I can't imagine what this will do long-term there, for the landscape (plants, animals, ocean), as well as the material.  I know that fire is often an important and needed aspect for some plants / forest systems.  Anyway, sure do hope as many people (pets, et al), are doing well as is possible to.  It does get so dry out there.

  2. I hadn't heard about that comparison. What a joke!

  3. As a Brit, I was waiting for this to raise it's ugly head. I am not sure of the racial mix of the area, but I am sure black people have also had their houses burnt down too.
    I agree with everything you have said Dan.