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“JACOB! I am going to cut the line! HANG ON!”
Darkness blanketed the landscape and hardly anything could be heard over the din of rushing water. Trillions of gallons of rainfall had amassed into a torrential flood trying to sweep us away. It was hard to make sense of what was up and what was down.
With our senses stifled we worked to recover from the catastrophe that just happened.
The interstate overpass had turned into water rapids rivaling that of the Colorado River and the only thing holding us in place was a single rope tied to a traffic sign. Moments earlier our boat was afloat, moving to the next location to find and rescue people, but everything had gone wrong and we were in need of rescue ourselves…
…except for one thing: I wasn’t going to have it.
My boat, GnarTooth, was flipped onto its side against the world’s sturdiest traffic sign and another boat that was tied to it.
As best as we could tell, if we cut that line, the swiftly moving water would shoot that boat out from under GnarTooth like a bullet and we could then work to get GnarTooth back in action rescuing lives.
But, there was a catch:
The water could blow us onto a spit of dry land, or take us into even deeper water and pin us against a chainlink fence, where we would certainly drown.
It was a 50/50 shot.
My sociopathic tendencies had kept me alive in Iraq and were revving like an airboat at full throttle. I had faced worse odds before and was okay with making the risk. I knew I might survive the chainlink fence, somehow keep my head above water and do the same for Jacob.
My mind was not on our own well-being, but the thousands of people who were not as tough and resourceful as us.
My pocket knife was open and resting on the rope. Like a madman I began sawing back and forth…
That night was absolute insanity.
Words cannot describe the sheer devastation and raw power of nature we witnessed. Make no mistake, this is not a simple flood. It is nothing routine. It is a thousand year flood that has put water in places that never flooded in the history of Louisiana.
Homes are washed away and many people made it out with only the clothes on their backs. No air conditioning, no food, no money, no way to get back to normal.
Probably the worst thing of it all is the indifference by the mainstream media. It seems they are more concerned with who hurt whose feelings at the Olympics or what is going on with Donald Trump.
Not sure? Just look at their home pages I screenshot at the time of this writing:
It almost seems as if the demeanor is something like,
“Oh look, Louisiana is flooded….again.”
It’s easy to dismiss this disaster from the comfortable armchair of a far away office, but it is still being dishonest. It’s as if the little coverage they do provide is out of spiteful journalistic obligation, not because they care.
It’s easy to ignore the plight of hundreds of thousands of Americans because it’s politically convenient to do so.
In fact, Sky Cooley at the Huffington Post nails it with The Flood Of 2016: Southeast Louisiana And The Consequences Of Real Community.
No stories of looting, no stories of riots, no devolving of society to the lowest forms of humanity…instead a tragedy that has brought out the best in friends, family, and neighbors; people who help others before they help themselves…who see the assistance of others as an assistance of self.
Rather than reward that with aid and bringing the full force of our collective national attention to examples of what resilient and strong American communities look like when challenged…these communities are ignored and left to fend for themselves…simply because they can.
The consequence of being a strong community is that your tragedy is not mentioned in national news, your strength uncelebrated, and your needs unmet unless they can be met through your own resilience. Humility and selflessly helping others does not fit the script of our news media… that is more of a tragedy than any flood.
It’s sad and I thank Skye Cooley for writing that piece. Louisiana people are of the highest class.
As many as possible answered the call, formed The Cajun Navy, began rescuing people, delivering supplies and helping get back to normal as soon as possible.
We aren’t discriminating against each other over the color of our skin. Some “journalists” feed on dividing people and maybe they are ignoring us because we are instead uniting.
We are Louisiana Strong!
With the power of social media I believe we can get our distress call out there and get as much help as possible. We don’t need the mainstream media. We just need each other!
The best thing you can do, right now, is share this article.
Get it in front of everyone on your friend’s list and share what is going on down here. Make no mistake, the devastation is historically bad. It’s worse than Hurricane Katrina.
You can get a glimpse into it when I was calling for more help on August 13th. (Please excuse my language, I am a Marine.)
*Content Removed* The Facebook Groups linked in this article are no longer active.
If you are wondering what else happened the night we lost the boat you can read Todd Masson’s article at NOLA.com. I did not quit. It wasn’t long before I dragged her out of the water.
I took her home, got her operational and went back to floodwaters with more supplies.
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