Wow, what a roller coaster that I have been on in the last 24 hours as I write this! My emotions have run the gamut. These are my disjointed thoughts. I think I am pretty typical. At first, we have fascination with the pure power that Mother Nature can dish out. Then there is shock that this is happening to our friends and neighbors. Then the mental see-saw from elation when we see children reunited with parents, to dejection as we see and hear about the death count. I have had tears of joy and tears of sadness, and have been angry. The body count rises and then hours later, it drops in half.
In any event, hindsight is always 20/20, as they say. We want to blame others and ask questions. We see the best and worst in people. Incredible stories of heroism emerge, as well as incredibly insensitive remarks. Fraud is committed, scammers will try to take advantage of people that have already been devastated and looters are apprehended. Some people are using this as an opportunity to drive home their political points. There are astounding acts of generosity and horrible stories of people's greed and sick jokes. The man-hours are probably already into the thousands from paid professionals and volunteers alike. Churches and businesses immediately ramp-up to take care of fellow human beings, regardless of their religious beliefs. Donations are pouring in from all over the world to give to complete strangers. I’m fascinated with the stories as anyone else and have spent hours in front of the computer screen and television. I have friends in the area, so I am concerned as much as the next person, but I will leave you with the words one of my friends, Joel Johnson, wrote on Facebook:
“The People Have a Right to Know. Media have struck again! I just got through watching a KOCO Channel 5 (Oklahoma City) field reporter interviewing a volunteer nurse and nursing student, who said they'd been told by a rescue worker inside the disaster site perimeter that the search for children inside the school had been turned from a search and rescue operation (live victims) to a "recovery" operation (dead victims). Imagine you're a parent whose child is missing, sitting there while fearfully and tearfully praying...not knowing whether or not your child is dead or alive... hearing that on television. Sometimes the mindlessness, callousness, and senselessness of those "talking heads" astounds even me. The fault does NOT lie with the two well-intended, concerned and dedicated volunteers (although they were not authorized spokespersons). Presumably they were there to selflessly donate their time and skills, and to risk their own personal safety...and weren't seeking media attention. They were lassoed while leaving the disaster site, and were exploited by the media. I called in and spoke to the night news editor. My concerns were voiced as both a crisis intervention professional, and as a surviving parent...and in all probability fell on deaf ears. The public may have a "right to know," but the media does NOT have a right to harm, exploit, and boost ratings at the cost of grieving parents, victims, and survivors.”