Friday, September 30, 2005

September's over

And I am grateful. The unrelenting heat of the past few days has been terrible. I sit here in air conditioned comfort while I think of our neighbors to the east and north east. These folks have been without electricity since last Saturday. No electricity also means the gas pumps at the stations don't work. I see reports of people who spend their days and nights outside because the house is simply too hot. I see their children who are covered with mosquito bites, and I worry about their health. I know how many mosquitoes can live in the Piney Woods of Texas. I can only hope and pray that the lights come on soon for them.

Then I see the occupants of the apartment complex on the northeast side of Houston who returned to their homes only to find they had been robbed. To add insult to injury, the thieves cooked themselves a meal before cleaning out the pantry. These folks used any extra money trying to evacuate from a cat 5 storm - or so we kept being told. They don't have extra money to replace all these things.

In the editorials (which I don't normally read), there was criticism of those who did not live in evacuation areas trying to get away from the hurricane. Well duh! If our FEMA guy here is getting his family out by the Wednesday morning before the expected land fall, and the county judge gets his family to Austin, the rest of us should stay to "hide from the wind." That became the motto by our great leaders when it was obvious that an area of roughly 5 million folks couldn't all fit onto 4 main highways. Our homes are not built to withstand winds like that. I'm not sure had Rita come this way all of us would have been able to "hide from the wind" in cat 5 force winds. I believe our homes would have become our tombs. I fully understand getting away from the storm surge areas, but come on, I personally don't like the prospect of my roof coming down on my head.

All this makes me think about the possibility of a terrorist attack. We do have a few refineries here. We do have a major port in the ship channel. We are a pretty ripe target. Now Ellington Field will be shut down so there will be no flights over the gulf and areas as before. The future is rather scary. I sincerely hope the local and state (and national for that matter) officials really begin to look at how we are going to escape from our cities. All of the large cities are in great peril, and I believe this could have a domino effect on smaller cities. Austin, San Antonio, Bryan-College Station all have been impacted by Rita. It all may happen again, and there has to be some sort of plan in place. We are not safe. That's not comforting.

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