[I’m really tired and probably not thinking clearly, but here is my Hurricane Harvey ramble rant.]
I see the sun peeking in through my window and only now do I believe that Hurricane Harvey is over.
Finally, finally over.
I’ve seen a lot of good out on the streets of Houston. Neighbors helping neighbors. People volunteering time and money to shelter those without a safe place to stay. Everyone pitched in. We donated food and clothes to some folks sheltering in a nearby church.
If I’m being honest though, we were all wearing thin. The onslaught of rain, day in and day out, was exhausting. Worrying about the storm drain capacity and if we were going to get water in our house was exhausting. Answering texts and messages from worried family members was exhausting. Watching the news was exhausting. Now that Harvey is over and I’m looking at the sun, I know Houston is exhausted.
And yet I know our work is just beginning. The end of the storm is only the start of people putting their lives back together.
All the water that has collected in Houston has to go somewhere. And it’s going to flow downhill to the Gulf of Mexico. Which means there is going to be epic flooding in the counties south of Houston. My in laws live down there. I am worried about them.
I am tired of worrying.
People worn thin with worry and fear do terrible things and Houston saw its share of ugliness.
There are so many good people in this city, and so many other good people rushed in from other states to help. Louisiana, Oklahoma, New York state… You’re all heroes. Some of those heroes got shot at when they tried to rescue people. Looters tried to steal their boats. Looters tricked frightened people into opening their doors thinking they were going to be rescued only to have their house robbed.
Looters earned a special place in hell during Harvey.
I am not a huge fan of guns. I’ve been held up. I know what it feels like to have a stranger point a loaded gun in my face, and as a consequence they make me nervous as hell. But you know what? I’m not sorry we had guns in our house during Harvey. Frightened people do stupid things, and, if I can help it, they are not going to stupid things to my family.
Houston saw ugliness from outside the disaster, too. While we were all praying water wouldn’t get in our houses and that our friends down the road were safe because God knows we weren’t in any better of a position, the media decided that this was a great time to criticize Houstonians for not leaving.
This makes me angry. This makes me lacking-for-words angry.
Let me tell you something.
It took Harvey about five minutes to go from a Tropical Storm to a Category 4 hurricane. Houstonians know how to handle Tropical Storms. We don’t like them, but we know how to handle them. We also know to run from a Category 4 hurricane, if there is time.
There was no time this time.
The bizarre judgement that 6 million people should have evacuated the 4th largest city in the United States in less than 19 hours is absolute insanity.
In 2005 3.7 million evacuated for Rita. And even though the storm turned and didn’t hit Houston, more died on the roads evacuating from the storm than died from the storm itself. The shortest time on the road from Houston to Dallas that I’ve heard was twelve hours. The longest, thirty.
Imagine for a moment what that looks like: Sitting in gridlock traffic, in the middle of a Texas August with no air conditioning (because you want to preserve precious gasoline). Many ran out of gas on the road. Many also ran out of water. People had to be rescued by helicopter or they would have died.
The evacuation was a bigger disaster than the storm.
That was 3.7 million. Now, for Harvey, double that. And this time the storm hit us. How many of those 6 million would have drowned in their cars?
So, fuck you, CNN, and all the other media outlets that picked up on this line of bullshit disguised as reasoning just to make ratings. Help or get out of the way. There is no room for anything else right now.
Houston will recover. So will the communities south of us.
As for today? Today we are going to enjoy the sun.