How human are we, really?
When we think about landmark events in our lives, many memories rush into our frontal lobes. As humans, we tend to associate certain events with certain points in our lives.
We’ve all done it. We all remember exactly what we were doing the morning of Sept. 11.
Our parents probably have a similar reaction when someone mentions the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
It has been two years since Hurricane Katrina ravaged the city of New Orleans. I challenge our readers to tell us exactly what was happening in their lives just two years ago when she touched down and changed one of our most-loved cities forever.
Before everyone gets defensive, please allow for an explanation. We don’t recall what class we were attending or what we ate for lunch that day either. If you can’t remember particular details about something that happened two years ago, but can recall the normally mundane details surrounding an event that occurred almost six years ago, some questions should be crossing your mind.
Why the erratic cases of recollection? Why do we only seem to remember these details when they surround tragedies of epic proportion? Who is responsible for the inconsistencies?
For better or worse, the mass media plays a significant role in this game of memorial show and tell.
Hurricane Katrina received plenty of media attention, but the type of media attention it received is a topic for another editorial. The problem is that when the coverage stopped, so did our collective cause for humanity. Words like empathy and compassion come to mind. We felt them early — later, these feelings seem to have been lost.
In an era of 24-hour news coverage, we are force-fed hot topics until we cannot stand hearing about them any longer, typically regardless of scope or influence. Instead of being human, we move on to the next big story, usually discarding the old news.
We are not victims of mass media consumption. We are victims of societal pressure to keep moving. Never slow down; never stop thinking. Never stop moving. Lost in the shuffle of life, we have forgotten what it feels like to be compassionate to our fellow man or woman, especially in time of need.
Big-name donors jumped at the chance to provide financial assistance for the victims of the hurricane. Katrina wooed the likes of entertainers, sports stars, politicians and even other countries to donate money and other forms of aid. Some even traveled to New Orleans to donate the most valuable of goods — their time and effort.
New Orleans has clearly improved in two years. Statistics show that the port city has made significant progress, especially considering it was basically a flooded wasteland. What the statistics do not show is one of the toughest terms of measurement in existence — quality of life.
Two years later, the people of New Orleans continue to suffer at the hands of Katrina’s aftermath. The least we can do is remember how we felt two years ago. In the meantime, we could learn a lot from the city known as the Big Easy. Life isn’t as easy when it is forgotten.
The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.