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The South faces Reconstruction again
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The South faces Reconstruction again
by Darlene Warren
The writer is advertising manager for the print version of The Journal.

BIG SANDY, Texas--It all seems like a bad dream, the kind that leaves you so relieved when you wake up.

In this case it's not a dream at all, and with each new day the situation becomes more dire. It is becoming more and more likely that Hurricane Katrina, in late August, may have inflicted on the U.S. Gulf Coast (and indirectly the rest of the country) more damage caused by a natural disaster than we have ever seen before--quite possibly in human terms, most certainly in economic ones.

As each day passes since she slammed ashore on Aug. 29, we are faced with mounting problems. The destruction we see makes me realize just how lucky some of us are.

Damage everywhere

After several days of not being able to get through via land lines or cell phone, I received a call from the last of my three brothers who live in the storm-ravaged area.

They are all okay physically, though their property received extensive damage. One brother has a tree through his home. Of course no one has electricity, and it is very hot down south. At least they have homes; hundreds of thousands don't.

At this writing I am still uncertain what happened to many of my aunts, uncles and other relatives. There are people all over this country and even the world who are in the same situation. All we can do is wait for phone service to return, and, meantime, pray our loved ones are okay.

Good vs. evil

As is common with most disasters, there are those brave and generous souls who place their lives in jeopardy to help a fellow human being through dangerous circumstances. They will share every bit of food, water and shelter they have with others in need.

Then there are the gutter rats that I am ashamed to say seem to be trying to steal anything they can get their hands on. The looting is out of control, and assault rifles are being used against the very ones who are risking their own lives to save others.

Homeless and hungry again

Every Southern school child grows up reading about the Civil War Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman and how he and his army in the late stages of the war captured Atlanta and then marched to the sea, burning and destroying everything in their path.

That vicious act accomplished just what it was supposed to. It drove the South to her knees and broke the will of the Southern people to continue the war.

By destroying civilian property and laying waste to everything they couldn't use, including railroad lines, the last vestiges of the South's economy were decimated. Thousands of people all over the South were left homeless and hungry.

I can't help but draw a comparison between what Sherman did to the South more than 100 years ago and what Katrina did only days ago.

Gen. Sherman's army and those who came along behind it cut a swath clear across Georgia 60 miles wide, destroying more than an estimated $100 million worth of property.

Scum rises

Katrina's destruction and her long-term effect on our economy have certainly already dwarfed by comparison Sherman's devastation on the South.

Just as surely as Sherman had his thugs, Katrina has hers. Looters seem to be taking over New Orleans, seriously hampering the rescue efforts. It appears that this scum of society has indeed risen to the surface. Gulfport and Biloxi, Miss., have not been spared this species of bacterium either.

Despite how horrible things appear on the Gulf Coast now, I have faith that she will rebuild, that help will be given wherever and whenever it is needed. We will feed the hungry and we will comfort the hurting.

May God be the one to drive us to our knees this time.

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