Texas crisis affects us all

Matt Adelman

Tabitha Bowlin returned home to Douglas in the nick of time. She had been in Baytown, Texas, one of the hardest hit spots by Hurricane Harvey and the following rain deluges.

Her story, featured on the front page, and a multitude of others like it bind our community and state to the devastation and human suffering going on along the Gulf Coast.

Texas, for many in Wyoming, feels a long ways away, and it is in terms of miles and hours of driving. It’s not so far away in terms of our human connection, our commonality as Americans, as people. Times like these overshadow our racial, ethnic, social and geopolitical divides. They bind us to each other. We come together and look for solutions, offering prayers and support in so many ways, ignoring our
rifts and differing viewpoints because, at times of tragedy, they matter less than human life, all human life.

We, like many others around the country, watched in horror as Hurricane Harvey picked up ferocious power before slamming into the southern Texas coast. That was bad enough, but then the ensuing flooding turned a horrific weekend storm into a long-lasting disaster. The damage will take years to repair, if it can ever really be done. The loss of life is, of course, the ultimate tragedy.

What the history books will write about this time and others like it, ultimately, will depend on what we – as a society and as a worldwide humanity – do in times of crises. How do we respond? Do we delay and obfuscate with aid, or do we rush in with as much help as we can muster? Do we let our leaders put on a show for the television cameras and bask in the moment of glory for the sake of politics and personal egos, or do we demand they actually do something quickly?

Too often, we do the first of those, not the latter ones that matter in the long term. We are happy thinking we did what we could before returning to our normal daily lives, forgetting that the trauma and life-long impacts are hurting actual people. These are friends and family in some cases, but they are all people who deserve our prayers, our compassion and our true efforts.

These efforts need to be immediate, but the long-term solutions and help must be in place, too.


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