Pink Phizz

Friday, September 09, 2005

Got the whinging down pat

We have a newspaper that comes out every Friday. It's primarily news that covers the towns of Medway. I perked up after I saw this headline:

Hurricane Katrina wrecked our dream

The article is about a married couple, the husband from here, the wife an American. After visiting New Orleans and having fallen in love with the city, they packed up lock, stock, and barrel and moved from Atlanta, Georgia, to New Orleans. And bought a house and was there for one month.

"We knew it had its problems and was below sea-level but never expected to be victims of the worst hurricane the United States has seen in 100 years.
We will never try and set up home there again. I refuse to take the risk. The hurricanes seem to be getting stronger and nobody seems to be able to explain why."

Now, don't get me wrong. I sympathize over the plight of this couple. However, the last line of this article, damn near made me choke on my coffee this morning:

"We have faced a country that doesn't seem to care what we have been through," she said.

I really don't know what to make of that statement. Walking in the wood with my dog, I contemplated it a great deal. One thing I did think about was the fact that this couple, knowing that they were moving into an area where:

Hurricanes are perhaps the most dangerous weather element on the Earth. These storms form in the warm, tropical oceans of the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, and the Gulf of Mexico and can produce winds up 170 mph. The wind can tear trees apart, snap power lines and roofs from buildings. The wind is not the only threat from these storms. Flooding rains and dangerous tornados, spawned from the hurricane, can produce immense floods and catastrophic damage.

This little tidbit came from Tester.

Still chose to do so. And that's okay. They had the freedom to choose the risk. Since hurricane season begins on June 1st and lasts through the 31st of October, they also had the freedom and right to choose to move into an area during hurricane season, which they apparently did because according to the article, they had been there a month when Hurricane Katrina hit.

I also hope for their sakes, that since they knew they were moving to an area of the country that is part of the hurricane corridor, that they had the presence of mind to take out the proper insurance on their home. Evidently, only 25% of those insured in the three states had flood insurance. I know that if I were to live down there, my home would have been insured for everything under the sun - possibly more. I have been wondering about that. Don't know this couple, so don't know whether they took the responsibility of looking out for themselves and their property or not. Who's to say? Not me.

Finally, from what I have seen, it seems like there are a hell of a lot of people from our (hers and mine) country that seem to care; opening up their homes, donating money, time, energy, products to take care of those that lost everything. So, I'm not quite sure of what she means by that. That they "faced a country that didn't care what they had gone through." Frankly, and I might be all wet about this, but I hold this couple just a wee bit responsible for their actions.

However, she will fit in very well over on this side of the pond. Why? Because she has her whinging down pat.


At 3:20 AM , Anonymous the letter b said...

it seems that the whingeing bug has been making its rounds around this planet. that aside, it's amazing that people these days point their fingers at just everything else when things go horribly pear shape, instead of taking responsibility, like you have pointed out.

At 6:34 AM , Blogger MonicaR said...

Amazing that they are talking like this. They are lucky to be alive for one. They will get their payout from the feds for two.

I've said for years - why in Gods name do people buy houses in cities that are below sea level? Or cities that sit on an active fault line?

You are correct though about Americans (and the rest of the world) opening their hearts and wallets to them. We are by no means well-to-do but we have sent a little money and will be sending care packages early next week. I hope that the person who gets our little pittance sees it for what it is - a little act of kindness and hope for them.

At 9:00 AM , Blogger "Alice" said...

monicar: Trust me, they will appreciate it.

letter b: It's easier to blame someone else than take responsibility. That takes work.

I suppose what irked me about this article is her whinging about how her country deserted her, when as home owners the American taxpayers will be picking up the tab that they will receive from FEMA through their,if not stupidity, at least carelessness of buying in such a place. I watched on FNC a report from John Stalsol(sp) where he built a place on the beach, knowing that FEMA would replace his home or any damage done to his home during a storm. They did...twice his home was wrecked, and he got a total of $500,000 to offset the damage.

Doesn't sound like to me her country is deserting her. Of course, if they don't want the money from FEMA, I'm sure the taxpayers won't mind not giving it to them.

At 6:38 PM , Blogger Fred said...

Well said. Sure, a few days after the storm everyone was running around in circles. But, since then, it's amazing what the relief effort looks like.

I got caught up in Hurricane Andrew. It was less painful than Katrina, but we just sucked it up and rebuilt. We were grateful to all the agencies that helped us.

At 4:23 AM , Blogger MonicaR said...

I remember the devastation that Andrew caused. It was awful. I have friends who lost their home in Andrew. I don't remember any of this political crap surrounding Andrew, though.

At 5:14 AM , Anonymous GZ Expat said...

Her country didn't fail her...her Mayor and Governor failed her by not forcing the issue with evacuations.
BTW...those stingy Americans who forgot about their plight have donated $690 million so far.
Also...thanks for teaching me how to spell whinging! heh...

At 9:58 AM , Anonymous Inkling said...

By "country" she means the government, obviously. Apparently she has been married long enough to a European to pick up the same attitude toward government intervention. My European wife of 8 years continues to be (positively) amazed at the generosity of private citizens here in the U.S. Europeans, on the other hand, prefer to sit back and wait for their government to solve all major problems.

Remember the 15,000 French who died in the 2003 heat wave? It looks like the biggest natural disaster ever to strike the U.S. will result in fewer deaths than that. Just trying to help everyone to maintain perspective.

At 9:32 PM , Blogger GaffaUK said...

Inkling - there are over 40 independent countries in Europe. Lumping them together and making out they all have the same attitude towards their particular government is pretty ignorant.

That's like assuming all Argentinians, Mexicans, Americans, Canadians, Cubans etc are all cowboys and anti-government militia who sit around all day and chew gum.

At 6:45 AM , Blogger "Alice" said...

gaffauk, I don't think inkling meant it that way. Besides, it looks like you are from the UK, so therefore you aren't an European, are you. The main European countries do have rather socialistic governments.

At 7:29 PM , Blogger GaffaUK said...

Alice - The U.K is part of the continent of Europe and we are in the European Union. This makes Brits European despite the fact most of us don't like that.

As for European countries being socialistic - I think that with so many countries this varies over time as well as which country.

Spain voted in a socialist government only last year whilst Germany may be losing it's socialist government in the elections soon. France and Italy have centre-right governments whilst Ireland has a liberal party who supports the free markets.

Ironically in the UK New Labour is supposed to socialist but the UK was one of the few to back US in the Iraq War.

I think the problem is interpretation - we see the States having two parties on the right. The Democrats on the right of centre and the Republicans being further to the right. Therefore you see the Democrats being left and/or liberal and therefore see any party left of the Republicans in Europe as being socialist. Whereas if you look at the dogma of socialism and compare it to European governments you will find that not as many as you would think are socialistic.

Therefore not all Europeans 'sit back and wait for their government to solve all major problems'

At 9:21 AM , Blogger "Alice" said...

Ooooh, don't let Krip hear you say that the English are Europeans. Of course, the last place that many English want to be is in the EU.


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