Act of God,
or Mere Coincidence?
Several days after the passing of the most devastating hurricane in modern U.S. history, we are still unable to get a handle on the extent of the damage and loss of life. The death toll looks certain to rise into the thousands, estimates are now reaching as high as ten thousand! The loss of property is incalculable. Initial estimates have ranged from $20 billion to $40 billion and the truth is that the ultimate economic impact is incalculable. Hyper superlatives do not exist to describe the extent of the devastation along the gulf coast. There seems no end to the shocking scenes and news reports coming from the areas hardest hit, the coastal areas of Alabama, Mississippi and particularly New Orleans.
Can the U.S., already financially burdened and facing an energy crisis, absorb even the temporary loss of production from off-shore drilling platforms, and the additional impact of a reported nine refineries damaged and shut down? President Bush has put on a brave face saying that the government is on the job, the cities will be repaired and we’ll be a greater nation for it. As we see the footage of the third-world bedlam and squalor of New Orleans, it’s a little hard to imagine everything returning to normal anytime soon. Many tens of thousands of evacuees escaped without much more than the shirt on their back. There are countless heartrending stories of physical and emotional agony, most of which we’ll never hear. But amid the feelings of empathy comes the anger and disgust of seeing rampaging criminals gleefully taking advantage of the suffering of others, and adding another huge factor to the already enormous calamity. Actually, few self-respecting third world countries would allow such scenes to be photographed, broadcast, or admit to anything like the bestial behavior that has broken out in the wake of this mind-boggling tragedy.
Anarchy now reigns in the flooded quagmire of the Big Easy. It is frightening to witness the evil side of human behavior breaking out, as it did, as soon as it became evident that law enforcement had become impossible. At this writing, armed gunmen are marauding the passable streets of New Orleans in stolen trucks and moving vans and loading up loot as fast as they can. One report told of a commandeered ambulance. Another said a stolen fork lift was being used to break out storefronts and burglar bars. Every store and shop in the French Quarter has been ransacked by looters. A policeman who tried to slow some looters down was reportedly shot dead. Every car was stolen from the nearby Cadillac dealership. Many if not all of the big old homes have been plundered. We’re not seeing to many fresh images from the downtown areas now, because the elements, environmental and human, have become much too dangerous for reporters and camera crews.
At this writing, convoys of government sponsored trucks and buses are streaming into the worst of it, along with National Guard soldiers in armored vehicles. It seems the vast criminal element needs a supply of food and water brought to them so they can continue to guard their stolen property. It’s a little late to stop the looting. Most everything of value has already been carted off. Cynical? Ok. Why else would anybody remain in the filth and stench of those streets, which were pretty rank even before the levy broke!
On the larger scale, you can see that this is a rolling catastrophe that ultimately will take a toll of unknown proportions on the whole of the United States. The question has already been asked time and again. Has God unleashed a punishment upon the United States, choosing one of the most popular centers of debauchery for effect? Or is it mere coincidence? Reporters have called what they’ve seen along the Gulf coast a “catastrophe of Biblical proportions.” As stated above, there’s no telling where this ends. It stands out as a major chink in the armor of the U.S. And what if just about anything else should go wrong? Such as the major terrorist attack we’ve been warned of and half expecting. Seeing the immediate breakdown of law and order in New Orleans drives home the reality that the same type of activity is sure to break out in any of America’s metropolitan centers should they be deprived of the infrastructure which is necessary to maintain common civility.
The prophets foretold of acts of God predicted to occur as punishments in a time referred to as Jacob’s trouble near the time of Christ’s return. And that is portrayed as no coincidence! The insurance companies call this disaster an act of God. At the very least, He chose not to grace the gulf coast with His protection.
We’re seeing events of historic proportions, particularly in the context of the relatively short history of the United States, occurring at an increased pace. Maybe the nation as a whole should look at these horrid images beamed into our living rooms, focus on the troubled times we seem to have entered and reflect on the familiar adage, “There, but for the grace of God…”
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