Thursday, September 22, 2005

Hurricanes And National Panic

As I sit here in Austin, TX typing this, hurricane Rita is its way to Texas. Clearly for the coastal cities near Galvestan, the storm represents a significant danger and people are wise to evacuate.

What has struck me, however, is how the recent events caused by hurricane Katrina have caused a national obsession with getting prepared for hurricanes. The effects of Rita on Austin are forecasted to be a little rain and winds approaching 25 mph. Yet there are reports on the local news of people flocking to stores, clearing the shelves of survival items such as bottled water and batteries. I happened to be in a grocery store yesterday and was confused by the long lines at every register until I got home and started reading the news stories.

Honestly, if it wasn't for the current national panic regarding hurricanes, a storm with rain and mild winds would only be newsworthy because of the disruption it might cause to this weekend's Austin City Limits music festival.

Hurricanes can be devastating, but I feel like everyone in the country needs to take a deep breath and relax.

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