It was quite devastating to see what nature and extreme weather can do to a city during the flood that flattened Calgary in 2013. On the other hand, it was borderline aggravating to see people abandon their senses and act like the world was coming to an end or blatantly ignore all warnings from the police, the fire department and the city to keep safe and not become a liability during the crisis. I’m referring to a very, very small portion of the population. The vast majority of people in Calgary heeded warnings and requests.
The most ridiculous activity that people engaged in was going as close to the river or the flooded areas as possible. Some even waded into the flooded streets or into the raging water – how stupid are you? If your mangy cat was in a house in the middle of a raging torrent of a river, you’d wade out into it and kill yourself in the process? Okay. You only have one life. Cats have nine. To a lesser extent, wading into a flooded street is almost as dangerous. How do you know that there are no sink holes, no uncovered manholes, no logs, nothing sharp that could shred your legs? You don’t know.
To an ever lesser extent were people who stopped on the side of highways and freeways to take pictures of the river. I agree, it’s a once in a lifetime event. However, getting yourself killed and causing an accident with other motorists who are wondering what is going on is equally moronic. Why is your picture so much better than what is seen on TV or captured by the media on the internet? Why would you so carelessly think about yourself during this time when emergency responders have better things to do besides coming to a scene of an accident that you have caused?
I completely understand those home owners who have been evacuated who want to get back to their houses as quickly as possible – I would to. But is it really necessary to sneak in behind the backs of the police just because you are worried about ‘your stuff’? You can’t stay there – the power and gas and electricity have been turned off. Are you going to carry out your grand piano on your back because you think someone might steal it? Do you really think thieves are going to break into your house and steal your 5000 inch flat screen TV? It’s ruined. You are safe. So is your family. Isn’t that enough? Is it really necessary to drain the resources of the police who are trying to guard the neighborhood by having them come after you as you sneak in to hug your priceless Ming vase? If you are more worried about your “stuff” than about people, I feel very sorry for you.
The city of Calgary also put into place a water ban – no watering lawns, no watering plants, no washing driveways, no washing cars. How many people do you think we’ll see march out their door and water their lawn or wash their car? Lots. There are three kinds of people who do this: those who haven’t heard the news (okay), those who think only a little water won’t hurt (ummm, get some education) and those who blatantly defy any government ordered order because they have a problem with authority and being told what to do (go see a psychiatrist).
The whole point of a water ban is to not only conserve water but to not put a strain on how water is treated and processed. The water coming into a water treatment plant following a flood is dirty, muddy, silty and brown. It takes the plant much, much more time and energy to get the water clean. No matter how or how many times you try and explain this to brain-damaged people, they still don’t get it. They think there’s so much water that it can’t hurt one bit. That idiotic explanation may try to work during a flood, but what about during a drought? You still see chromosome-challenged people pouring water on their lawns to keep it green. Why are these people so obsessed with a green lawn? Again, it’s a power trip thing and a “my lawn is better looking than yours, therefore, I’m better than you”. What?! Did you get hit in the head with a hammer repeatedly when you were growing up in La La Land?
I haven’t heard of any incidents of looting, despite what some people are trying to make into an issue on social media. I haven’t read of any issue on any stream of media. I’m quite sure that most of the hints of it are imaginary and/or exaggerated by both internet trolls and the people who are richer than the Pope in their mega-million dollar homes that they built on flood plains. I’m quite sure that there was looting and/or breaking into of homes during the last flood in 2005 because a lot of places weren’t flooded, but were just evacuated and some thieves just strolled into their neighborhoods. This time, they just couldn’t stroll in because the streets were flooded. Speaking of people who are richer than the Pope and their mega-million dollar homes, it was your choice to live on a flood plain and it should be up to you to bail yourself out financially. If I hear of any of these society types leeching off of the Red Cross when others of lesser means are doing without… well, there’s a place in a boiling tar pit for you.
Finally, for those (the very, very few) who priced gouged people in this city for supplies during the flood, you may also take your place in the boiling tar pits. Some of the evidence presented on social media was grossly exaggerated and taken out of context. For example, a platter of prepared fruit for $59.99 sold at a local store was actually a platter to feed 30 people – not a few people. I was stunned as I made my way home during the height of the flood to see line ups at gas stations and on the news, line ups 30 deep in grocery stores with people hoarding water. Come on. This was not the apocalypse. It was almost laughable. Did you people even listen to any news report that said the water was 100% safe to drink? Trust, it seems, is also thrown out the window during a disaster and it’s every man for himself.
My car’s gas tank was getting towards empty. Did I race to a gas station, almost causing an accident in the process, and fill up my car? No. Did I careen into a Safeway, push people out of the way, race up and down the aisles, while dragging my screaming kids with me and stand in line for 30 minutes to buy a case of bottled water because everyone else in the city appeared to be doing the same thing? No. I refuse to believe that the society we live in has people that stupid. We do, however, have a society that lives in fear and reacts based on it.
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