Wednesday, September 7, 2005

I Don't Get It

OK, am I the only one who doesn't understand wanting to die where you are instead of trying to go somewhere else and stay alive? Is it because I'm too young? I'm reading this article, Police threaten forced evacuation, and I see lines like these:
But as in many aspects of the rescue effort, there was confusion about whether the government could or would force people from their homes.

"We personally will not force anyone out of their homes," said Art Jones, a senior official in the Louisiana Department of
Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness. "It's very difficult to force an American out of their home."

State and local police, however, said force would be used if necessary.

"We'll do everything it takes to make this city safe. These people don't understand they're putting themselves in harm's way," said New Orleans Police Superintendent P. Edwin Compass.
Well, all right, I can see where that's a tough call. The city is now just a big pool of disease and chemicals, and sometimes, you have to make people move for their own good. Forcing people out of their homes, though, it's hard, on a human level. But then, I see the end of the article:
Martha Smith-Aguillard, 72, said she was brought against her will to an evacuation point at the city's wrecked convention center. Her foot was swollen after she trod on a rusty nail and she said she needed a tetanus shot.

Nonetheless, she refused to board a government helicopter.

"They manhandled me and paid no mind to what I said. I ain't never been in no helicopter in my life, or no airplane, and I'm 72, I ain't starting now," she said.

"I'm not going to get that tetanus shot, so I guess I'll just have to die," she said, adding, "We're all going to die and if I'm going to die, it's gonna be right here in New Orleans."
What is with that? She'd rather die than leave? Why?

I have this theory - that great art can only be created by true insanity. Now, New Orleans has always been a city of great art. Truly Great Art. Maybe, just maybe, it's because it's also the city of the Truly Crazy. Maybe it's only in a place where people would shoot at a rescue helicopter (why, because it was rescuing someone else?) that jazz could thrive so. Maybe it's only in a city where people whose homes are filling with water go out and steal TV's that death could become a great celebration, that colors could be so vivid, that people could be so happy and carefree despite what many have described as "the awful stink".

Maybe I'll never understand New Orleans because I'm not supposed to.

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