Did you ever notice how dark times bring out both the best and worst in people? We see it every time there’s a major natural disaster, whether it is a tornado, hurricane, flood or earthquake. There’s always those who risk their lives to rescue strangers from harm’s way—as well as those who use the crisis to their own advantage to take what doesn’t belong to them, or to just do things that are plain stupid hoping for some attention.
I’ve seen this unfold here in Nashville this past weekend. As I write this, it’s Sunday night and the rain has finally stopped. But not before dropping more than a foot of water on the area in less than 48 hours. Needless to say, the flash flooding caused by rapidly rising rivers, creeks and lakes has caused much devastation for thousands of residents. I’ve been glued to my local television stations watching the rescues and seeing footage of what once were people’s dream homes. Neighborhood after neighborhood, homes are nearly completely submerged or have been washed away entirely. It doesn’t matter if it’s a pricey brick home in a ritzy subdivision, or a trailer in a park…when it’s your home that’s gone and you’ve lost everything; your world is turned upside down. My heart goes out to all of these people. It will be a long time before things return to normal for them.
It’s also amazing to see the tireless efforts of the rescue personnel and those with their own private boats who’ve been working round the clock to get people out of the hardest-hit areas of town. These workers who put their lives at risk daily, along with their Good Samaritan volunteers, have brought boatload after boatload of frightened and relieved flood victims to safety. Many of them senior citizens, mothers with young children and expectant women, clinging to what little they were able to get when help arrived…a bag of clothes, family photos, sometimes family pets.
The flip side of every disaster are those who just don’t seem to take the situation very seriously. These clueless individuals do things like perform handstands in the murky floodwater while a news reporter does his stand-up before the camera. The reporter called his antics “stupid”, but I’d say he’s more of a total moron. People like this usually end up putting themselves in danger, thereby putting more rescuers in danger to save their sorry behinds.
Another example: three young guys decided they would tie 3 inner tubes together and float down a creek in one of the most flooded-out sections of town. The inner tubes came apart, and now two of those three young men are lost somewhere in the water. No doubt there are heroes out looking in the dark waters for those two imbeciles who decided to be reckless with their lives.
What is it about “stay inside” and “stay out of the water” that people don’t understand? They take away valuable time and energy from rescuers who are needed to help those who don’t behave badly. God bless the police, the firefighters, emergency personnel and volunteers who freely go into danger to help total strangers get away from it. God forgive the fools who make their jobs harder. And God help all of us because…fools vote.