Jeanette Sekan
Jeanette Sekan
By Jeanette Sekan
The Cody (Wyo.) Enterprise

By the time this column is printed the initial impact of Hurricane Irma will be yesterday’s memory, while the loss, cleanup and rebuilding will be just beginning.

Recovery will be measured in years, not minutes. Some will lose everything they own. Some will be spared. Some will die. Those of us far removed from the eye of the storm will read about it occasionally in the newspaper or catch a sound bite about the aftermath on television. Life will go on for most of us with little thought given to what many will be focused on for the rest of their lives.

I know this is the normal human condition. We are riveted to the news as we wait and watch for the storm to arrive. We can sit in the comfort of our dry, safe home far away and judge the decisions of others. Some praise those who defy orders to evacuate; after all, they are showing how independent/tough they are.

Some look at those same individuals and wonder if they were dropped on their head as children and does that account for their decision to put themselves or their family at risk.

Some criticize the National Weather Service for its slight inaccuracies. With all our technological advances, why can’t we predict down to the inch where and when storms, earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes and other forces of nature will strike? We’re white, Christian Americans after all. Why haven’t we mastered perfection in all things?

We’ve become a society of critics and second-guessers. Some complain that there is unnecessary fear. A popular radio host tried to debunk the hurricane talk by saying it was just a marketing ploy for retail stores and for those who want to force the idea of climate change on the world. This vitriol was delivered in between him packing and evacuating. Fortunately, some sanity does eke out.

Politicians who rant and rave against government and others decided to put common sense ahead of rhetoric. They realized the need for a plan, mobilizing resources, thinking of the vulnerable and making tough decisions. I commend those who stepped up to lead and act on the side of caution rather than let the chips fall where they may.

On the other hand, we do see the generosity and caring of many of our fellow citizens. Donations of money, materials, goods and services are mobilized and sent to the areas hardest hit. Charities go to work to do that which is needed.

Some become unlikely heroes as they run into the fray to save others. First responders put their needs aside to help perfect strangers. The families of first responders watch as their loved ones do what they are trained and called to do for the good of mankind.

Natural disasters don’t follow a political or social ideology. It’s only us crazy humans who waste our time and energy doing that. But, in the midst of a disaster for which there really is no control, we do see the worst and best among us. It’s heartwarming to focus on the best among us. It’s a reminder of what we can and should be.

Editor’s note: Jeanette Sekan is a columnist for the Cody Enterprise in Cody, Wyo. and a former resident of Ohio. The Cody Enterprise, founded by W.F. Buffalo Bill Cody and Col. John Peake in August 1899, celebrated its centennial in 1999. The award-winning newspaper is owned by Sage Publishing Co. of Cody, Wyo. Jeanette’s columns are published in The Highland County Press, courtesy of the author and the Cody Enterprise (