SoCal fire, pt. 4
October 25, 2007, 6:39 am
Filed under: culture, family, friends, politics, San Diego, social action

I wasn’t able to pay close attention to news updates yesterday as I had the previous couple of days. The fires continue, but the weather has begun a more helpful turn, so hopefully that will give the firefighters an edge. Nothing new to report on our immediate family and friends. Everyone is safe and sound, and as far as we know, they’re all back home . . . which is more than can be said for a lot of others, in particular, those who have lost their homes.

O.k., time for a rant or two.

In the national as well as local (San Diego) news coverage of this event, over and over, I have heard little off-hand comparisons of this situation with the hurricane Katrina disaster. Perhaps its the scale of evacuations, perhaps its the fact that many evacueess are at a major stadium. Whatever the case, with my one lone voice in the blogosphere, all I can say is this: PLEASE STOP. These situations are most definitely not the same. There are a ton of reasons why.

First, the evacuation is different because a huge number of people have had family and friends within the same region to stay with. There was a ton of traffic, but not for hundreds of miles in every direction, like with Katrina. Second, given that San Diego went through this just four years ago, people are extremely well rehearsed for this, and the relief work was done in an impressively organized way . . . which, by the way, is markedly different than the last go round. City/county officials know how to run the show without merely hoping that FEMA can handle everything. Third (this is the one that may open a can of worms), the economic realities of most of the people affected by these two scenarios couldn’t be more different. Many of the areas devastated by Katrina were the poorest areas of the city . . . which was already a very poor city, mind you. In San Diego, the damage done by the fires has primarily been done in upper middle class to wealthy areas. I don’t say this in any way to take compassion away from the people who have lost homes to fire – it’s an intensely difficult thing for them, and I hurt for them. Having lived through a little piece of this myself, I know it’s going to be hard, but the difference in economic starting places is different. Trust me, I’m also well aware that some poorer folks have lost their homes – no insensitivity to them intended. My point is not class warfare here, but to say that San Diego wildfires and Hurricane Katrina are just not the same.

For the record, my San Diego and fire disaster credentials are already on record, and I’ve been to New Orleans twice since Katrina, so I’m not completely ignorant (perhaps unintelligent, but not ignorant).

Jason and Brooke, and their housemates in San Diego are part of a really great effort to aid the migrant workers who have been displaced by the fires. Dangit, I love those people. Michelle mentioned to me just a minute ago that 1/3 of California’s avocado trees were lost in the fires – think for a minute about the people that work those groves, and pick those delicious guacamole gems. That makes me actually very disturbed at reading this story this morning. Talk about adding insult to injury.

Sorry to be cranky this morning. I just want to think and pray with a clear head about these things, and help others who don’t know the situation to do the same.

UPDATE, 10:10am – Now I’m really pissed. Read Jason’s latest update on his family’s efforts to support the migrant worker volunteers. Speechless.


2 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Thanks for keeping things real, Steve – one of the things I love about your blog.

Comment by michael

Thanks for the great posts. I have been thinking about your family in S.D. Know that I will pray for them.

I’m grateful God has allowed you to give direction to inter::mission and you are a part of our Kingdom team.

Comment by WES

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