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Published:September 2nd, 2005 07:07 EST
And The Good News Is

And The Good News Is

By Sean Stubblefield

You`ve probably heard the phrase, If it bleeds it leads ". I think many people in the news media deliberately look for trouble, secretly hoping for bad things to happen " especially a Katrina type disaster, because it gives them something to report on, and it boosts ratings. Too often, the news focuses on the negative at the expense of the positive, presenting a skewed image of reality and making things generally appear worse than they really are.

We don`t usually hear much about the good things that happen, because that doesn`t sell; most people seem fascinated, amused or relieved by the misfortunes of others. Good news is typically overshadowed and surpassed by bad news. In the news reports on hurricane Katrina, even while noting all the many disaster relief and rescue efforts-- people helping those in need, the attention tends to be primarily on the suffering and destruction caused by the storm. The good deeds that so many people are doing in response to this crisis, the fact that a great many people have survived this demolition, seems almost an afterthought to the bad of all the suffering. As if the hurt were more significant than the help.

Desperation, fear and frustration can drive people to react irrationally, abandoning decorum and civility as irrelevant. Our sense of humanity and human decency can become lost. Survival and opportunism in times of crisis may encourage people to help themselves rather than, or before, others. Literally or figuratively, the people caught in the storm are having the world as they knew it come to an end. So in the wake of Katrina, there has been rioting, looting, injuring others, shooting of rescue workers, and general irritability. Plus, there is criticism of how the government is handling this emergency, before and after, as well as the distribution of materiel to the survivors. There are concerns about how this sudden increase in population will affect local economies and jobs and resources and citizens, and the rise in gas prices. It is easy to be selfish in a crisis. We take things for granted, at our own peril.

Tragedy brings out the worst in people, but it can also bring out the best. We should remember to not forget that.

Evacuees from Louisiana have sought refuge and have been welcomed in nearby cities of neighboring states, like Houston, Texas.

Several billions of dollars in money and supplies are being collected world wide " from the government, public and private sectors-- and donated to assist those hit by the storm. Various buildings, such as the Houston Astrodome, are being transformed into temporary shelters and hospitals, to supplement official facilities. Many individuals " paid and volunteer-- are participating in rescue and support operations. Even many people recovering from the hurricane are helping their neighbors, their fellow survivors (I detest the word victim). The sympathies and charity of most of the world`s people come forth in this kind of crisis.

I think it is very important that we acknowledge and appreciate the good that people do, that people can and will do. Especially when bad things happen, we need as much good news as we can get.

And let`s keep some perspective on issues, here. Sure, rising gas prices are an annoyance, and a valid complaint.

But this is nothing, a mere inconvenience, compared to the problems of people trampled by Katrina. I think that those whose homes were not erased by the storm should count themselves fortunate and be grateful they still have the luxury of buying gas.

It is also important for us all to know that, even after a tragedy like this, life continues.