And then one of my asshole coworkers opens his fool mouth and fucks it up for me.
The news was showing footage of New Orleans as Hurrican Isaac hit landfall. The levees are holding up fine so far, although the outlying communities are starting to understandably panic. And as this is showing, someone (I don't know who) says:
"Well, that's what you get for not getting out of Dodge the last time."
And I've been furious ever since.
The economy in New Orleans is terrible. It's even worse for the rest of the state. Most of the people who stayed there to rebuild after Hurrican Katrina did it because they had no choice. They had nowhere else to go, no money to get there. Move somewhere else? Unemployment is still through the roof. What jobs could they get? What housing can they afford? A couple with both working full time minimum wage is currently below the Fed's Cost Of Living (and remember, the Fed doesn't set the bar very high). There's nothing they can do.
And this dipshit is condemning them for staying in a situation they can't escape.
It's especially funny talking about natural disasters elsewhere. Here in Illinois, we get tornadoes. We are also on a tectonic fault line three times more unstable than the San Andreas. If a big one hits, would he want to hear people telling him, "Well, you shouldn't be living there in the first place. You deserve what you got for staying there."
Sir Charles Barkley had gone to New Orleans, and personally paid for some of the people to take airplanes to their families around the country (his logic? "They're poor, I'm rich, they can't afford it, I can"). And he pegged it when he said that it's not that America doesn't care for black people. America doesn't care for POOR people. So many programs are set up to make the organizers feel good instead of actually helping. "What? It didn't work? Well, you must have done something wrong. It's so simple."
This "blame the victim" happens any time disaster hits somewhere poor. Remember Haiti? You had idiots like Pat Robertson saying Haiti deserved for the legend about how the island founder made a deal with the devil. New Orleans after Katrina. Let a disaster hit, say, the financial district of New York City, everyone bands together to stand tall. Impovershed nation? Who cares?
It takes a lot of balls for a guy who has a house, a car, AND A JOB who stops at McDonald's on the way home from work because he doesn't feel like cooking any of the food he has or using up any leftovers to cluck his tongue and say people who are trapped in their lives deserve their fate.
NO ONE deserves to suffer. NO. ONE.
As you watch the footage, read the news, do not forget these are human beings, struggling to keep their lives and themselves together in the face of tragedy. Have sympathy for them. Worry about them. Give to the Salvation Army, one of the few national charities that truly does care for poor people and will help them.
Because, with one twist of fate, that could be you the world is watching instead.