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The Scoop 9-1
Can we play nice without disaster?
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Several motorists had made their way to safety on a road bank when they noticed an SUV slowly being swept down Interstate 10 in Houston.
There was an elderly man trapped inside the vehicle.
The motorists quickly agreed to form a human chain to stretch out to his vehicle. Working together, they joined hand in hand to fight the water, reach the SUV, and pull the man to safety.
It's a story dripping with fairytale overtones that shows the forces of good can triumph over evil. The video of this human chain, which I saw posted Wednesday night on CNN.com, has probably been well viewed by now. It's one of the many warming stories which has surfaced from the devastation and tragedy of Hurricane Harvey.
We need stories of uplift when we hear of a family of seven getting swept away in their van as they tried to flee through floodwaters to safety. One man managed to squeeze out a window, but his other six family members were found dead.
I wonder, honestly, what it is about natural disasters that make people unite with so much tenacity? Why do we suddenly join together and help one another after tornadoes and floods when humanity has, on a daily basis, become so angry with itself?
You can have a classroom of first-graders slaughtered at a school in Connecticut and the knee-jerk reaction is to rush out and buy the assault rifle that killed them. I can accidentally cut someone off in traffic and wonder if they're going to pull up beside my car and open fire.
But when a natural disaster strikes, people seem to put so much of that ugliness aside and they reach out to others in genuine compassion. When the water recedes and the Houston area is declared safe, there will be thousands upon thousands of volunteers who rush in to fortify cleanup efforts.
There will be untold millions given in monetary assistance, including a cool $1 million donated by actress Sandra Bullock. Food and supplies will pour in from around the country. One such effort has already materialized here in Warren County with Pioneer Community Church as the drop-off point.
As a nation that can often be described as one giant, nasty tweet, it's inspiring to see so many people put aside their personal agendas and act in a manner that benefits someone other than themselves. It's like a foot massage for the soul.
To use a quote from Martin Luther King Jr., "An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity."
Along those same lines, Mahatma Gandhi said, "You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean. If a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty."
In the face of disaster, Americans so often put aside our differences for the greater good. For some odd, strange and curious reason, we don't act like that every day.
Standard editor James Clark can be reached at 473-2191.