By Arthur H. Gunther III
In all the disruption, sadness and worry that hit the Northeast as Hurricane Sandy walloped us, much of the human spectrum was once again revealed. There were heroes who died saving family; 90 year olds without heat, light and phone who said World War II rationing and shortages were worse; looters and the greedy who will meet their karma; volunteers who gave without complaint; linemen and government workers who went above and beyond; and that part of government and business that showed great weakness in preparation and follow-through.
In the next few months, reports will be compiled, as officialdom is wont to do; few will be read for the next time such a terrible storm comes. By the old calendar, that is abut 100 years away; by the new, perhaps in two seasons. Instead, it will fall to the ordinary person to be better prepared -- home generators, fuel stockpiled, more grit and determination, and a bigger wallet to pay for home repairs and the inevitable increase in insurance payments and, of course, to fund all that utility rebuilding. Somehow, stockholders usually fare better in a storm than the rest of us.
But that’s life, and I’ll side with the best of the human condition rather than the big guns who don’t always shoot straight or get their ammunition wet when they are supposed to be protecting us. The best are those selfless volunteers, whether firefighters and other first responders, or the neighbor who ran an extension cord from his generator to another, or who brought food to a cold shut-in. I’ll applaud the paid official or officer who gave without thought to fatigue or overtime; the churchman who made the needy citizenry his true sanctuary; the gasoline delivery man who phoned a radio station and gave the public a list of where he had just dropped off fuel; the children who had such fun not watching TV but playing by candlelight.
Yes, disaster struck, and for some the mourning will not soon leave, sadness and loss will be almost forever. Yet for many, there is reaffirmation in the good of humanity. We all need sustenance to survive, but it isn’t just food. This hurricane reminded us.
The writer is a retired newspaperman.