There has been a lot going on lately in our area, and I can’t think of anyone (polar bears not being indigenous to the area) that would even begin to say it was good.
The heavens turned into a sociopathic Good Humor vendor who couldn’t decide between ice and snow, so decided to dump the whole cart on us without even bothering to add any “flavor.” Roads disappeared or blended into ditches with catastrophic result, and fallen trees covered both the roads and the landscape like pine-flavored sprinkles over a “cone” no one ordered.
The ice and consistently below freezing temperatures first helped down power and telephone lines, then hampered the best efforts to restore those services. In fact, the ice that first fell a week ago is still lingering on the trees in my yard.
Car headlights shining through those branches at night might add a surreal and even magical touch to the scene, but the reality is less prosaic; it’s that same ice that is bringing down power lines and trees, leaving my neighbors and yours without heat and a means to escape the iceboxes that used to be their safe havens.
This has been the case for a week now, and during that time I have been in contact with local and state officials and emergency agencies who are all doing their best to deal with what is happening now and will continue to happen when the next wave hits.
I have checked and rechecked my emails for updates and surfed social media to catch any notifications I might have missed. And during all of this, I have noticed something that has played out again and again. This thing is always present, and even if not front and center, its at least hanging around the edges of the assorted notifications, updates, and alerts. That thing, simply put, is this … people in our area care about each other.
I have literally heard the recommendation to “check on your neighbors” 20 times a day. I see notifications for warming centers followed by at least half-dozen private citizens inviting anyone who “needs to get warm” into their homes. I have seen people offering to help with everything from kerosene to generators, and many even offering to cut firewood. People who have water have offered to fill up containers for those whose water has frozen, or have lost it due to a water break. In short, I have seen a whole lot of people trying to be helpful and decent to one another. And right now, honestly, that is the sort of behavior we need.
It would seem, however, that not everyone would agree with that sentiment.
I am one of the area residents who still has power (for which I am grateful), so I was able to brew coffee and continue to check emails and such. Unfortunately, as I was “coming alive,” so to speak, I happened across a story about a social media rant from the mayor of Colorado City, Texas who, after reading said rant, I am certain should never bother to attempt running for office “in these parts.” Here is a brief excerpt from his response to residents of his city being without basic services …
“No one owes you or your family anything; nor is it the local government’s responsibility to support you during trying times like this! Sink or swim, it’s your choice! The City and County, along with power providers or any other service owes you NOTHING! I’m sick and tired of people looking for a damn handout!” -Tim Boyd, (former) Mayor of Colorado City, Texas.
Boyd went on to include things like “If you don’t have electricity, why don’t you just go FIND SOME?” and “Only the strong will survive and the weak will parish (sp).”
These posts have since, of course, been deleted because, well, the (former) mayor is trying to control the spin of the inevitable backlash of such a monumentally asinine and insensitive collection of finger-vomit. And it sort of leaves you wondering if all that ill-considered (and poorly written) bile was generated by the former mayor’s — he resigned rather than facing the music, like a petulant child — inability to grasp the concept of “public service,” or does he actually possess less empathy than a garden-variety stone? Actually, I apologize to stones everywhere for the comparison.
Of course, one man, however highly positioned, does not represent the population of a city or state — thankfully, in this case especially. And given what I have collected and read in interviews and emails over the last week, there is no one anywhere in our area who shares the sentiment of the (former) mayor of Colorado City. No, OUR mayors, judge-executives, and emergency personnel are actually concerned with our welfare. They are spending time, effort, money, and every resource available to make certain that the weak Do Not perish (the word you were looking for, former mayor), and that anyone’s “strength” becomes everyone’s strength — which is how society is supposed to work.
FYI, if the lights are on at my house, then the coffee is brewing, and I am always good for a cup or two. But then again, that’s true for everyone else in our area, too.