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Home Is Where the Wreck Is
There’s no place I’d rather live than the beautiful Gulf Coast beach where my grandparents built a small house and dwelled for twenty or so years. Family and friends huddled in sleeping bags every year so we could enjoy its simple bliss together.
Half the time, the TV was tuned to hurricane tracking. My grandparents knew when they built the place that anything on the coast is temporary. I helped shovel truckloads of sand off the deck after a storm. I helped rebuild the deck and stairs after they got swept away with a surge, and repaired damage left by roof leaks. I watched as twin waterspouts (tornadoes) danced toward shore and faded away. By the grace of God, when a hurricane did finally pick up the house and set it down on the road — as we knew would happen one day — my grandparents had already sold the property (mainly due to taxes). But oh how we wish we could buy it back!
We can’t afford to. That’s not your problem.
I grew up here, just north of Houston, where tropical thunderstorms are normal (or should be, because droughts are no fun). The storms bring awesome but dangerous lightning (twice struck immediately beside me), “buckets” of rain and hail (cold and painful if you’re caught out), occasional tornadoes (like the one that zig-zagged down my street when I was a child), and occasional flooding. Our closest creek was higher during Hurricane Harvey than anytime ever recorded… but only by one foot. In my lifetime (and I’m not even 40 yet), I’ve seen and experienced several floods of similar power in our area. The difference today is the storm’s breadth, not its burying of homes, businesses, and vehicles… mostly in the usual places.
A few Texas residents saw their property flooded for the first time in history. But most people who lost property could have predicted that those roads and lots would flood. It has happened many times before. That loss, too, is not your problem.
None of this is to discourage the humbling, wonderful, and wonderfully predictable outpouring of charity toward victims of natural disasters. It is only to clarify that these efforts are indeed charity — a noble and voluntary sacrifice — and do not reflect some right to live wherever one pleases without consequence or painful expense.
If you help, thank you. If you leave local people to bear the full burdens of their choices, that’s fine too. Natural disaster relief is properly a gift, not a civic responsibility. And if the victims of this particular disaster can come to the aid of others at another time — perhaps after an earthquake, a blizzard, a drought, or (Heaven forbid) a plague of Democrats — that too will be a gift.
Let us live in dearly offered promises and not in harsh contracts. Let us be neighbors not by inherited laws but by tender wills.
Thank you for your prayers and for your selfless assistance. If government forces your hand in the matter, then you have also my regrets. God be with us all.
Published in Domestic Policy
God bless, Aaron.
What a thoughtful, poignant and even smile-making post, Aaron. Glad you’re okay.
Well done, Aaron. Thank you.
God bless, Aaron! Thanks for the perspective and the all-too-uncommon common sense; so glad you’re safe…Prayers and – yes – a contribution to local area Catholic Charities for those who’re struggling. Panda Hug to pass around!
Actually, those issues ARE our problem. Our taxes go to fund the National Flood Insurance Program, which has not been updated since 1994 and is heavily indebted to the US Treasury.
That does not diminish the care we all here at Ricochet have for you who live on the Gulf Coast. And, could you kindly send some of that heavy rain our way? The West is burning, and could sure use some of that rain!
I just got off the phone with a buddy of mine who works in architecture and insurance. He said that there are indeed many properties that flooded this time that were not affected in previous Houston floods, particularly south and west of town. Due to the scope of damages, he expects repairs to continue for 2 years.
Let’s hope Harvey is the only hurricane to hit Texas this year.