How do you feel about Hurricane Katrina?Wow. That's all? Okay, let's give it a shot.
How do I feel about Hurricane Katrina? A little guilty.
Why? I didn't cause it. Neither did George Bush, for that matter. But I feel guilty anyway.
There have been hundreds of people killed by the hurricane. People have lost their homes, their cars, their property. To a hurricane. And the flooding afterwards.
Why would I feel guilty? Because I've been though hurricanes and I came through just fine.
Hurricane David hit Savannah in 1979. It was one of the first big stories I covered as News Director at the radio station in my hometown. It had gone ashore in Melbourne, Florida, then headed back out and hit Savannah head-on.
During the eye, I spoke with the owner of the radio station who lived on Skidaway Island, near Savannah. We broadcast that. And taped it to feed to ABC News, since the radio station was an ABC affiliate. My first brush with a national story.
Ten years later, I went through Hurricane Hugo. It wasn't quite as close. It tore the hell out of Charleston, South Carolina. We got some heavy rain and winds. And tornados. And it came ashore on a Thursday night, as I remember. You see, there was a football game that night. Georgia Southern was in the middle of the first ever college football 15-0 season. That was a heckuva season.
Anyway, GSC had a game that night. ESPN brought in lights because GSC didn't have lights back then. And they broadcast the game. And it rained. A lot. And I got on TV because there I was sitting in section B, no one around me, wearing my Eagles tie, getting soaked by Hugo.
The camera was only on me for a bit. They pulled away when I held up a sign that said "Hugo sucks!"
So, that's my experience with hurricanes. Some excitement with my new job responsiblities in 1979 and college football in the rain in 1989.
I didn't really take either storm all that serious because I was having so much fun with each. And I didn't pay much attention when reports of deaths and damage came rolling in. Oh, I knew about it and read about it, but I didn't think about it.
And now, with Katrina, I've done a lot of the same. Oh, no fun involved with this storm. But I've done some blocking out of the death and destruction. Just like with David and Hugo.
So, yeah, I feel guilty. For not taking hurricanes as serious as I should. Folks in the Gulf region who decided to "ride it out" weren't that much different than me. Only I'm still sleeping indoors.