We thought we had dodged a bullet. We thought Katrina was going to be a meteorological flop. When she crossed Florida she left damage but not the kind of devastation left by Charlie or Andrew.
But Katrina hung around over the warm waters of the Gulf long enough to become a major killer. She made landfall as a category five with winds in excess of 150 miles per hour. In her wake was destruction on an apocalyptic scale. The entire city of New Orleans lay under up to 20 feet of water and major populations centers in Mississippi and Alabama suffered major destruction. Katrina will carve our her place in history as the worst national disaster in United States history.
Katrina's wrath revealed the best and the worst in people of every race and from every economic level. On the positive side were incredible acts of heroism from rescue wirkers who risked life annd limb to pluck people off the housetops and off of floating debris. The outpouring of financial support from all over America and around the world has been encouraging. For the most part, Americans are generous and compassionate. The American Red Cross, the Salvation Army, Samaritians Purse, The Southern Baptist Convention Disaster Relief teams, and countless other organizations were on the scene within 24 hours offering hot meals and giving comfort and hope to people who lost all of their material possessions. The United Stated government pledged over 15 billion dollars and mobilized over 30,000 National Guard troops. The federal government sent in the navy the allow helicopters a platform from which to conduct rescue operations.
On the bad side you have the looters. Some of the looters were simply trying to find food and water and to them I say "no harm, no foul." When a person kicks in a door in order to survive under unprecedented circumstances it is understandable and restitution can be made after the crisis passes.
But we also saw incredible scenes of lawlessness as people waded through waist deep water with television sets, jewelry, and other material treasures. I couldn't help but shake my head at the irony of people stealing expensive electronic devises in a city with no electricity. Or the insanity of people pushing shopping carts through the rising water filled with tennis shoes and other clothing items. Chaos brought out the beast as mobs of thugs surrounded and threatened to destroy a hospital just to get to the drugs. Other armed looters