Depending on your religion, there is a Mother of Mercy. But for people of ALL religions, there is a Mother of no mercy. For those who don't believe in God as a person, a spirit, or a thing, then you better as hell believe in the merciless powers of Mother Nature as forces that can generate life and then destroy it without remorse or looking back.
We are so small. So very small. We are at the mood-reactive mercy of water, wind, and fire. They own us. They control us. They allow us to live, and they will kill with short notice or no warning at all.
Hurricane Katrina is a child of the same Mother Nature that raised its inescapable watery hand and slapped it down on the people of India earlier this year. This Mother has children who are as vicious as she. And Mother tells them what to do, and where to do it. And they do whatever Mother says.
The older I get, the more I look at the Bible as a novel. A novel that has spawned so many imitations. Maybe the tales of great storms that drench the pages of the Old Testament were the tsunamis of today? But to the people of that day, storms that colossal would force the primitive instinct of man, as the most basic form of reason, to praise and pray to those powers of nature as gods.
No reverent signs of worship? Down you went. Made a sacrifice? All would be well. For awhile anyway, until another child of Mother Nature decided to make itself known. "Where's my sacrifice? Damn you!" Another natural disaster. Maybe this time a volcano with flesh-dissolving lava in the place of body-crushing ocean waters. Time for another sacrifice. Only this time, it's a bigger one with bigger prayers and greater praise. Makes you wonder. Makes me wonder.
If nothing else, the Bible proves that people never change. The years change. Styles change. Conveniences change. Nothing more. Sophistication? What about sophistication, you might ask? Haven't we progressed in our superior levels of reason and invention? How more sophisticated can you get than the perfect and still perplexing construction of the pyramids? To me, that's more taxing to any brain today than any of that formulaic sewerage Alfred Einstein baffled minds with. As far as sophistication is concerned though, consider this: When faced with the desperation of survival, our society degenerates into a savage horde, and we are nothing more than clothed animals.
Among ourselves, we ARE the lions of the jungle; the alligators of the swamps, the bears of the Klondike. We will eat and kill upon need. Our savagery will rival any of the wild and untamed animals of land and water. Make no mistake about it, what Katrina has left as a result of her explosive rage is a mini end-of-the world. The end of the world in a bottle. In a microcosm.
If you haven't experienced a natural disaster - in this case, a hurricane - the evacuation can become even more frightening than the storm itself. In the case of Katrina, it's beyond frightening. It's dehumanizing, causing absolute numbness, loss of spirit, and loss of heart. Much worse than fright. Then horror. An evacuation becomes more of an apocalyptic exodus - an exorcism of short-circuited, nerve-ending panic, and an exercise in raw, instinctive self-preservation and survival. If your car stalls on the highway, people "will" help push the car ... right off the road, upside down and off a cliff if one happens to be there.
But the question I have is, what would we do here in Carson City? I mean, what would we do in the face of such a disaster here? Would we think with more intelligence than the people of New Orleans when the chips are down and the cards are on the table?
What do you think would happen here if an earthquake rumbled beneath our feet, splitting craters in the ground we walk on and tumbled our surrounding mountain range to make way for Lake Tahoe to pour a mile-high mountain of water over Carson City and its surrounding areas?
Forget how clean the water is now. I'm talking about what you'd do once the water was filled with excrement, decomposed bodies, dead animals, rotted food, toxic waste, fuel? For the fortunate (or unfortunate, depending on how you'd look at it) few who survive such a deadly mountain-top spill, they'd all be reduced to the one basic instinct we share with animals - survival. Make that survival in the midst of panic in year-zero. Or is it less than zero? In quick time, all thoughts and values on money and vanity would vanish as if they never existed. It would be just naked man. Naked woman. But naked with clothes on. The kind of nakedness that lies in the mind being stripped of all reason, logic, and rationale.
Katrina landed her own unforgiving weaponry that no single act of terrorism can compete against. She proved to be a daughter of darkness. A daughter of Mother Nature - that same Mother who covets, who blankets, who revels in her fury, and then ... strikes.
More economical in her approach than any man-created bomb. And she is one who could stand back to admire her work in the aftermath, just to determine her next move.
But in the end, I have a selfish thought. It's one many of you have too. Don't lie to yourselves. New Orleans, in good times, is seeded with crime. So why would anyone expect Southern hospitality during a natural disaster?
Though I think that sending 300 victims to Reno (if that plan goes through) is the Samaritan thing to do, I wonder if that little community of 300 includes ones who were among the lawless punks who looted firearms before they thought of finding fresh water and food? Or, how about the grimy animals who raped instead of extending a hand to those in need? Or the ones who killed without cause, which is below animal level since animals kill mainly for food?
For those people who are truly innocent victims, and not the ones who preyed upon other people with acts of ultra violence more dangerous than Katrina, I'll be the first to help. If they are among the barnyard pigs who raped and killed in the chaos of the storm, send them back. I, for one, do not want our crime rate to catapult to hurricane strength. This has nothing to do with race. I'm colorblind. But I hate all cold-blooded murderers and rapists. The only color I see with them is red.
But to the real victims of the hurricane, I could not imagine being in their place. And I wonder about Mother Nature. Is it possible for us to implore this merciless Mother's mercy? She has disciplined our brothers and sisters. She brutally beat them, and sent them all to their nonexistent rooms without supper. Can she, will she, now leave them alone?
n John DiMambro is publisher of the Nevada Appeal. Write to him at email@example.com.