I'm sure we've all heard by now about the tours of Hurricane Katrina-ravaged areas of New Orleans. People are charging $30 a head to view the devastation left in that monster storm's wake. Let's dissect this a bit. People are charging $30 a head to see where peoples lives were ruined and where people died horrible deaths. People are "earning" $30 per person to take people on a tour of a hell the likes of which our nation has never seen. This is my 87th post here, and but one of hundreds of comments I've left across the blogosphere. I mention this because the only word I know to describe this is one I have never used before in my forays in blogspace: abomination. It is an abomination to profit from the dead. It is an abomination to give funds to those who profit from the dead. It is an abomination to pay to tour a place of so much suffering for the sole reason that it is a place of suffering. If someone wants to aid the recovery efforts, fine. There are numerous legitimate web sites for organizations involved in the relief effort. Also, if anyone is willing to contribute their time, their energy, to aiding the relief efforts, there's plenty of work to be done in Louisiana, and Mississippi, and to a somewhat lesser though, in areas, no less dire extent, in coastal Alabama. If you're interested, contact a relief agency or church group and ask them where they need you.
While I'm ranting about the hurricane, the experts have backtracked on their initial reports that Hurricane Katrina made landfall as a Category 4 storm, and now say that she hit land as a 3. Who cares? Who honestly gives a flying fuck? Her winds may have been a 3, though I find a 4 more believable based on the damage and the sheer size of the storm. However, she came with a Category 5 storm surge. That close to land, with the waves that storm generated, with the water that had pushed around, where exactly was the water going to go, except into land, and with terrible force and result? If you own a house that's been hit by a tornado, do you care if it was an F3 or an F5? Either way, your house is rubble. The figures may be of interest to scientists, but the people who are on the ground and dealing with the effects of nature either don't give a damn or are insulted by what some may perceive as an attempt at trivializing what occurred.