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Thursday, September 01, 2005

Sinking In, so to speak

My reaction to the horrible situation in New Orleans, Biloxi, etc. is very like my reaction to 9-11 in one respect: it took a while for me to realize how many people were trapped in the disaster. When I first saw one of the towers collapse, I hadn't yet had a chance to find out whether the towers had been evacuated. I hoped they were nearly empty. When I found out otherwise, I had a weird, hollow, disoriented feeling at having seen something whose tragic dimensions I hadn't understood.

I had been reading Glenn Reynolds' urgings that people evacuate, days before Katrina hit. I didn't know how many were left in New Orleans, hadn't known where else the storm would hit. I hadn't comprehended how logistics and lack of resources would make it hard or impossible for many people to leave. I'm only now understanding how many.

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