Next Year A Bridge Will Collapse

4 September 2005

Intellectual consistency is not all that common. Causes we believe in strongly often cloud our ability to think critically. When that happens, we suspend critical thinking and intellectual consistency. Once our emotions take over, we’re in an area we don’t understand.

One commentator used the word perspective dozens of times last Friday. It was his attempt to deal with all of the emotions that were coming to him from “the field.” He was safe, dry, hydrated and well-fed in New York. Others were talking to him from devasting conditions. His attempt to gain perspective resulted in his own emotions ruling the moment.

Helplessness fosters a similar response. Viewing the media’s treatment of the plight of so many, we want to help. We see the ways. We have the ideas. Why don’t others see the same things. Conversely, those arriving first know the issues. They realize that all things we depend on are missing. There’s no food. There’s no water, except everywhere one looks. Cell phones don’t work. There’s no pathway to the disaster. Fuel is scarce. Debris is everywhere. Water impedes all progress. There are no computers, phones, cash registers or ATM’s.

Why doesn’t someone do something? Absent answers, blame begins. The sense of when the disaster happened is lost. Three days becomes five days in conversation. At this writing it’s been 6 days, 10 hours and 35 minutes since Hurricane Katrina made landfall south of New Orleans.

Moving as slowly as it did, the storm took another 15 to 20 hours to clear the area. Then, flooding began. Those who didn’t leave were in trouble.

As we seek to place blame on all the folks who might be blamed, let’s also decide who will be to blame for a bridge that will collapse next year; or, who will be to blame for an industrial accident we cannot now foresee. Who will be at fault for a massive traffic accident months from now?

Be assured we have just as much factual information for affixing blame for those future calamities as we now have for a disaster that is still unfolding!

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