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The Editor Speaks: Hurricanes generally bring out the best of people…

…. and in the minority – the worst.

The terrible scenes of the floods in Texas from Hurricane Harvey, especially in Houston, have brought many communities together showing the very best in human kindness.

I well remember experiencing the same after Hurricane Ivan hit us. Strangers hugging one another and people bringing in power saws and trucks to help remove the fallen trees and branches from people’s properties. Giving up rooms to people who had nowhere to live. Providing water and food.

It was the banks who proved their total disdain to their customers. Long queues in the hot sun and open for just a few hours and slamming their doors shut at the exact time of their closing. Limiting people’s finances. It was also members of the financial industry who stopped a lot of help coming our way to protect the money they were holding.They didn’t want the outside world to know just how bad things were. And the first places to be made presentable were all along the West Bay Road so tourists couldn’t see the real picture. No wonder our aid from the world was almost non existent. But we got out of our mess by people here pulling together.

Some were expats who stayed behind and didn’t leave and worked hard to help along with their fellow Caymanians. We were all one. The thanks those expats that stayed behind got was to throw them out with the strict Roll Over Policy that was immediately brought in by the newly elected PPM government. The expats that had left were welcomed back. Whoever said life was fair?

And then there were the looters. The scum of every society who want to make something for themselves out of their fellow human’s misery. Thankfully they are in the minority.

On a much larger scale Houston has shown us the very best in people.

The following illustrates my point (taken from USA Today “Houston’s diversity on display as communities band together to help Harvey’s victims”

HOUSTON — For Yatin Thaker and his family, Hurricane Harvey brought a new appreciation of his fellow Houstonians and the cultural diversity that distinguishes the city.

Thaker, who emigrated from India in 2000, drove his family of four through floodwater Monday in a frantic escape from Harvey’s relentless torrents in southwest Houston. In the 24 hours since, he has witnessed an outpouring of support from the Indian community, where restaurant owners anted up free food and scores of volunteers — of diverse backgrounds — hit the streets to deliver hot meals and necessities to families in need.

Unable to return home, Thaker is prepared to help in whatever way possible.

“Diversity helps people understand each other’s pains,” Thaker said Tuesday evening as his two young children raced around the Richmond house they’re temporarily calling “home.”

Houston has experienced a cultural boom in recent decades and was labeled the most racially and ethnically diverse large metropolitan area in the United States by researchers with the Kinder Institute for Urban Research and the Hobby Center for the Study of Texas.

“Harnessing the burgeoning racial (and) ethnic diversity is a central challenge for the Houston region,” researchers wrote in their report.

But for many experiencing this disaster — and for those effecting rescues and assisting in their own ways — it’s a chance to defy boundaries.


And there was also the worst.

From The Blaze “Looters in Houston targeted firefighters and rescue personnel. Now the city is striking back.”

On Monday afternoon, looters reportedly fired on firefighters and rescue personnel while they were conducting rescue operations. Police were forced to halt their own rescue efforts in order to quickly move to protect the firefighters, according to The Daily Caller.

The incident occurred just north of downtown Houston at the intersection of Tidwell and Mesa. According to the Daily Caller, police said they had to divert rescue efforts to fend off the looters attacking rescue personnel.

“We had firefighters out there helping people, and looters started firing on them,” Houston Officer Joe Gamaldi told the Daily Caller on Tuesday morning. “We sent officers down there on a code 1 (which means as fast as you can) to assist, and they too came under fire.”

Gamaldi added that no one was injured during the incident.

“This was absolutely the most despicable and disgusting thing that you could imagine,” Gamaldi told the Daily Caller. “That our officers had to stop what they were doing, high water rescues and saving lives, to deal with looters firing at our officers and firefighters.”

Texas law enforcement ups punishments for looters
The office of District Attorney Brett Ligon, of neighboring Montgomery County, posted to Facebook that looters would face mandatory jail or prison time and noted that “state law also allows for enhanced punishment ranges for certain offenses committed during a declared natural disaster event.”

“Leniency and probation will be off the table for these offenses committed during this time,” Ligon said.

Looting during natural disasters is a common occurrence. Oftentimes when police and rescue personnel are busy attempting to save the lives of those in harm’s way, looters take the opportunity to steal with near impunity.

Fayette County Sheriff’s Department also issued a statement from Facebook notifying looters that they will not be tolerated and added that if the citizens catch them before police do, they “may not make it to jail.”




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