The Deafening Silence




The Deafening Silence ~ Aug. 29, 2005


First came the name Katrina.  It sounded harmless enough,

and undoubtedly spawned countless remarks about how

harmless the storm was at the time.  Then came the predictions

of demise.  They said that the storm barely had enough strength

 to survive.  It did survive, and Katrina grew from a tiny

tropical storm to a modest hurricane.  Then came the forecasts.

The experts changed their mind, believing she might go as high

 as Category 3 or even 4, and Katrina was busy proving them

 wrong again, growing to a Category 5 monster the likes of

which are seen at most, a few times per century.  Then came

the harbingers, the sensationalists, prophesying doom on a

Biblical scale for the city of New Orleans.  But Hurricane

Katrina blew ashore some 50-100 miles to the East of where

she was predicted to hit.  She arrived with significantly reduced

 power, and some felt this meant she was less of a concern, as if

150mph winds were somehow not a big deal because they were

175mph just 12 hours prior to landfall.


Katrina ravaged the coast, pushing her way onshore, yet

somehow retaining her composure until much later, like a

stubborn prize fighter refusing to go down.  She blasted

Mississippi and Alabama, states who seemed completely

surprised by the fact that a hurricane was bearing down

 on them.


Then came pictures from the towns to the east of New Orleans.

They caused concern for any with family or friends down

south with sobering images of rubble stretching for miles on end.

Yet, after 72+ hours of heading for the coast, she still took

Alabama and Mississippi by surprise.  It needs to be said again.

A catastrophic hurricane that had been watched, forecasted, and

bandied about on the news for more than a week stunned tens to

 hundreds of thousands of people when it made landfall.  The

media and the National Weather Service decided that only New

 Orleans was worthy of its haughty attention, and they lavished it

upon the city, leaving towns to the east where the most powerful

part of the hurricane smashed ashore out of its spotlight.  Those who

 are unfamiliar with hurricanes would have thought that it was only

 going to hit New Orleans.  Tens of thousands in Mississippi and

Alabama who were given voluntary evacuation options remained in

their homes. Eventually the levee that held New Orleans safe ruptured,

some 24 hours after Katrina's departure, and long after the damage had

 been done to dozens of other towns and millions of homes.


Then came the results.  Cities like Gulf Port and Biloxi have been

literally scoured from the face of the Earth, and the impoverished

residents who were aware of Katrina either incapable of leaving

the area, or couldn't afford to evacuate.  The media and weather

services, who could have warned residents of Mississippi and

Alabama about the impending danger of Katrina, chose to be a

ratings suck hole.  Our government, which had ample time to

commute the residents powerless to get out of Katrina's way must

now find and remove their bodies instead.


And the bodies continue floating in the flooded streets even as

 the government reassures the nation that everything is A-OK

and under control.


Then came the chaos and gunshots from angry citizens in the city.

The music of hell.


The result is that hurricane Katrina will probably be the costliest

and deadliest disaster ever to strike the United States.  Did it

really have to be this way?  Did so many people have to be caught

by surprise?  Did so many have to die?


Now comes the silence.


© 2005 Douglas V. Berry

age: 23

Psychology Major at WIU (senior year)







Douglas is my son and is also an accomplished writer who

has been recognized both locally and regionally for writing

abilities.  He wrote the above article shortly after Hurricane

Katrina ravaged the coast of Louisiana, Alabama and

Mississippi and it was featured in the university newspaper

this week.  Doug is a regular writer for the WIU newspaper

where he serves as a weekly columnist.   




Above Photo ©2005

Associated Press by Eric Gray

Associated Press





"Silence is Golden"








joomla visitor




Site Meter