Our View

Published 2:52 pm Thursday, September 22, 2005

By Staff
Katrina disaster shows that we still care
Keen observers can always learn a lot by watching the news, and the past few months have been pretty interesting to observe.
Every time a disaster strikes television screens are inundated with images of the carnage. That is no different this time around only three weeks removed from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. Even if one was trying to avoid the ghastly images it seemed it was impossible to do so, but what has been even more interesting is some of the news stories that seemed to have died in that time.
Most of America was riveted throughout the summer by the tragic tale of Natalee Holloway, a high school graduate from Mountain Brook who disappeared on the final night of a senior trip to Aruba. The detectives in Aruba never seemed to get anywhere on the topic, and the release of the final suspect in the case just a few days after Katrina hit went largely unnoticed.
Another controversy that boiled throughout the summer was President George W. Bush's nomination of John G. Roberts to replace Sandra Day O'Connor as an associate justice on the United States Supreme Court. Two days after the storm hit Chief Justice William Rehnquist passed away. President Bush nominated Roberts for his Chief Justice position with little fanfare, and his confirmation hearings have gone off with very little attention.
One story that has, thankfully, run out of steam during the cleanup efforts just west of us is the story of Cindy Sheehan, a mother who lost her son in Operation Iraqi Freedom. She set up camp outside the president's Texas ranch during his month-long working vacation in hopes of meeting with the president and ending our involvement in Iraq. While she is certainly right to question the president's handling of the conflict, her handling of the situation was incredibly poor and inappropriate, and thankfully many of our colleagues in the news business lost interest.
One of the main things that this shows is that we as Americans haven't lost human compassion. Despite the horrific handling of the disaster by emergency management agencies at the local, state, and federal levels, the most encouraging thing to see has been the response by fellow Americans – and especially those here in Atmore – who have volunteered their time and money to restore normalcy to our friends in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Mobile and Baldwin Counties.
While Democrats look for people to blame and Republicans look for anyway to deflect blame, let us all remember that while the government's responsibility is to protect its citizens, very little can replace the tireless efforts of private citizens who just want to help.

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