Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Storm

No Name Storm of 1991
Hurricane Sandy will be known simply as The Storm for some time to come. I haven't been able to check the news very thoroughly or very often so I don't know very much about what has been going on along the East Coast, but there are plenty of lessons for the rest of us.

The statistics of loss, damage and destruction are not really the important thing to those who are affected by these events, and hurricanes are not the only events that give rise to the lessons I'm thinking of. How many people and animals are lost and injured, how much property damage there has been, how long it takes to get things back in some kind of order... these are all matters that become abstractions at the individual and family level of people trying to adjust and survive in the midst of chaos and greater or lesser disruption.

The trauma is really what affects the people who live through these events. I remember, for example, how traumatized my mother was by the 1925 earthquake in Santa Barbara. She was a teen-ager at the time, and apparently her mother was trapped for a while in a collapsed building. My mother didn't know where her mother was, though, and she was terrified. The trauma never left her for the rest of her life. It was obvious in her eyes when she told me about it decades later.

It seems that most of those who lived through the wrath of The Storm this time did not actually suffer loss -- apart from, perhaps, some inconvenience of some sort. Many are apparently taking it in stride, in part because they are OK and everyone they know is OK. They have what they need and are able to carry on well enough in the midst of the chaos.

But there are so many others who can't. Their routine is completely disrupted. Perhaps they have no home any more. Their treasured things are gone. They've lost loved ones. They can't find their pets. Their clothes are ruined or they can't get to their jobs. They're out of food and water. On and on. The disruption and the loss from The Storm -- or from any stupendous event -- can be overwhelming.

Unfortunately, there are too many people who seek their own advantage at the expense of the victims who are overwhelmed by the disruption and loss others have experienced. These are the carrion feeders and predators who are always among us. They look forward to seeing others in such distress or so overwhelmed, they make easy prey.

We saw this horrifyingly in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina -- which doesn't seem so very long ago now. Whether we will see it in the aftermath of Sandy remains to be seen, but from a distance the mood and the spirit seems to be quite different. Well, except for a certain smirking former Massachusetts governor who decides to collect food at campaign events in Ohio -- food which none of the helping agencies want or need. The sight of it is stomach churning.

Meanwhile for those who have "lost everything and who are trying to pick up the pieces," the legacy of The Storm will last the rest of their lives. Most of that legacy is trauma and loss, but some of it-- the survival part of that legacy -- is the chance for something new. Not everyone can handle or wants that. But those who can and do may find the legacy of The Storm to be energizing.

I just hope that those who have lost loved ones, homes, livelihoods, ways of life and so on are not further victimized -- as many of the survivors of Katrina were -- by predators and carrion feeders, such as that smirking doofus. Things are tough enough for them already.


  1. Che,

    I shouldn't have mentioned the tree. (This was in my comment on your last article.) Immediately after I wrote that, the wind picked up horribly. I shut the computer down just as the tree split in half and took out the electricity. Luckily, it fell into the alleyway and we managed to remove the worst of it off the neighbor's garage yesterday with no lasting damage done. The tree guy will come in the next day or so to remove the remainder of what is standing, which will fall onto my house if it goes too. So a day or so without electric or phone (or internet!) and a mess to clean up, but we are all okay.

    My heart breaks for the people further north - NY and NJ - and the "beach people" - Ocean City and Rehobeth here in Md. Most of them have lost everything.

    We in the US need to talk about climate change and the toxins we allow in our environment and foodstuffs.

    Re: the Bill Gates/NM experiment I mentioned, see here:
    I believe has also run several articles about this.

    It appears no-one will stop him; he is being allowed to proceed with this. Isn't that bizarre? He may end up killing a few million of us and will certainly increase the hole in the ozone layer, since his sulpher particles are exactly what make the holes in the tropisphere ozone layer, regardless of what effect they may or may not have on reflecting the sun's rays. Of course, if you block enough of the sun's rays, you kill all the plants, no people.

    I'm glad you wrote about the storm.


    PS: fuck Romney. He is a creep of the first order.

  2. So sorry about the loss of your tree. Being without electricity is one of those things we think we're ready for, but we really aren't. We're so dependent on public infrastructure.

    I read that stuff about Gates and his scheme to curb or mitigate or do something about global warming. But whatever he has planned is daft. Sulfur in the atmosphere reacts to form sulfur dioxide and sulfuric acid, which I would think everybody knows almost instinctively, and neither one is the least bit useful for the purpose proposed. They are deadly in high concentrations -- but I doubt Gates' scheme will have concentrations that high. The problem is that they contribute to greenhouse warming almost as efficiently as carbon dioxide. Or at least so I thought. Cf: Venus.

    Bizarre is right. They're trying to poison and cook us all.

  3. I am not sure how well, if at all, the rest of us will survive when a couple of rich people are allowed to run rampant over the earth with the flea-brained ideas to meddle with the planet sold to them by so-called (and self-styled) "scientists". I must say that the very wealthy also ironically appear to be very stupid. I think of the Empress clasping Rasputin to her bosom when I read these stories. But why is our gov't not protecting us from these fools?

    I noticed that the first stories about this American businessman who dumped iron off the coast of Canada mentioned that he had been able to use some resources from US agencies, such as NOAA, to monitor the progress of his "experiment". See, for example, this story:

    International Uproar: American Businessman Dumps Tons of Iron into the Ocean in World's Biggest Geoengineering Experiment

    By the next day, the media had scrubbed all mention of the US involvement, and the UN was talking of investigating the Canadian government's abetting of the project.

    I was rather shocked to see the name of Neil Young (the singer) mentioned as a financial backer and active participant of one such scheme, and to hear that the ocean off Hawaii had already been used as an iron dump experiment. The company mentioned in the below article, Planktos, was owned by the same Russ George mentioned in the article about the Canadian iron dump. He simply formed a new company.

    From the article cited below:


    [...]Example– The Planktos Story

    Planktos, Inc. was a U.S. start-up company that intended to sow the oceans with iron in order to create plankton blooms that would theoretically sequester CO2. By early 2007 Planktos was already selling carbon offsets on its web site, claiming its initial ocean fertilization test, conducted off the coast of Hawaii from the private yacht of singer Neil Young, were taking carbon out of the atmosphere. In May 2007, Planktos announced plans to set sail from Florida to dump tens of thousands of pounds of tiny iron particles over 10,000 square kilometers of international waters near the Galapagos Islands, a location chosen, among other reasons, because no government permit or oversight would be required. In efforts to stop Planktos, civil society groups filed a formal request with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to investigate Planktos’s activities and to regulate them under the U.S. Ocean Dumping Act. In addition, public interest organizations asked the Securities Exchange Commission to investigate Planktos’s misleading statements to potential investors regarding the legality and purported environmental benefits of their actions. Hit with negative publicity, Planktos announced in February 2008 it was indefinitely postponing its plans because of a “highly effective disinformation campaign waged by anti-offset crusaders.” In April 2008, Planktos announced bankruptcy, sold its vessel and dismissed all employees. It “decided to abandon any future ocean fertilization efforts” due to “serious difficulty” raising capital as a result of “widespread opposition.”

    Yes, good luck and godspeed to us lesser mortals, who will not have guarded compounds to protect us when the inevitable happens.

  4. I've had a hard time trying to make sense of the bone stupidity of Our Betters when it comes to very important topics, whether it is climate change or imperial adventurism, or functioning social and community infrastructure.

    It's not so much that these people are actually ignorant -- though some are. It is more that they desperately want to fuck up or fuck over somebody else, or be first with something that'll cause a big stir or whatever, and if that means that they fall head first into the stupid and the crazy, they do it. No matter what happens to anybody else.

    There is no reasoning with them. And I'm not usually one to say that, but I've encountered the stupid and the crazy too many times. You can't reason with it; you can only thwart or stop it dead in its tracks.

    Too often, you can't even do that.

    Ah, but cheer up! The "election" is
    Tuesday, and so we'll get to find out whether the Rs have successfully stolen the White House (again.) Won't that be fun?