Written by WATYF on Thursday, 15 September 2005 (4009 hits)
Category: Serious Crap
I don't really intend to talk about serious stuff too often in this Blog. Not because I don't have a serious side (which I do), but because I've learned after many, many years of "discussions" (if you can call them that) on the internet, that most conversations on the web, of even a remotely serious nature, eventually end up in some kind of worthless "us vs. them" flame-fest. There is very little objective, rational conversation left on the net, and I'd much rather stick to facetiousness and sarcasm then try to cut through the fog of years of bitter, divisive verbal lambasting.... but that's just me.
Anyway... the point is, every once in a while, I'll probably end up posting something resembling a serious topic... and this happens to be the first time that has happened...
For those of you who don't know, I have what's is commonly known as a "cake" job. It's not that I don't do important work (if you can consider a corporate job to be "important"), or that my performance is shoddy (quite the opposite)... It's just that my job is usually very low-stress, and flexibly scheduled. There are many good sides to that... one of which is that I'm never a seething glob of stressed-out anger when I get home from work, so I don't have to worry about taking out my frustrations on my family. There are also a couple (not exactly life-threatening) bad sides to it... one of these bad sides is that I have the time available to me to keep up with everything that's going on at any given moment... so whenever something bad happens... I can end up spending entire days consuming misery and devastation as fast as the media (and the internet) can dish it up for me.
And this has happened a few times...
I read every account and watched every video available on the internet of the Columbine massacre as it unfolded. I heard the death toll jump up, then down, then up again. I watched live feeds of teens climbing out of windows, trying to escape the death in the hallways.
I was glued to my computer from the minute the first plane hit the twin towers until they were nothing more than a pile of rubble in the center of Manhattan. I watched replay after replay of the planes colliding... and saw pictures of people making the decision to jump to their death instead of being burned alive 80 floors up...
...and now, again, another event has occurred, and I soak up every bit of information about it like a dry sponge.
While going through what can only be described as a "routine" that I do every time a disaster strikes, I always end up running across some interesting stories and individuals, so I figured I'd post some of the more noteworthy ones.
The first one is a guy in Downtown New Orleans who decided to stay in the city (instead of evacuating) and who fought to keep his friend's business running, and the internet working in NO. Granted, this isn't exactly the most noble cause. There were people dying miles away, and I'm sure we could have done without that section of the internet for a couple days without it really causing too much "devastation". But his story is a very interesting account of how things went down in NO, from a "center of the storm" perspective. You get a much different picture painted for you than what you got on the TV, for the most part... and the guy is very down-to-earth about it... he doesn't get political or pushy... he just tells it like it is. You can read all the way from the day the hurricane hit, to the current status of the city and the goings on around their building. This blog has actually been mentioned in a number of media outlets and websites, considering he was (at one time) one of the few people in the entire city who was in contact with the outside world.
The other one is a story written by a retired military man from Texas who decided to pack up his huge truck full of supplies and drive it all the way to Mississippi so he could help his friend. He ended up doing a lot more than just that, too. Frankly, this account is a lot more impressive than the first one... mainly because he went down into the "war zone" and (literally) risked his life to get food and supplies to people who had nothing.
I feel compelled to mention that the same caveat should be applied to these stories as should be applied to everything on the internet... they may or may not be completely true. But both of them look to be fairly reputable and have been corroborated to some extent by others (more so in the case of the first account).
Aside from those, it's mostly just been a bunch of looking at pictures of devastated landscapes and buildings and reading about atrocities that you really would have hoped people wouldn't be capable of... and, of course, wading through all the politically motivated finger-pointing that has inevitably emerged from all this. It's a good thing crap like this doesn't happen too often... I'd be a head-case for sure... (oh yeah... and people would be dying a lot more frequently... so that would be bad too)