Staring Death In The Face

Friday, September 12th 2008, 11:42 pm
By: News 9

Back when I started my television reporting career in Southeast Georgia, I covered preparations for Hurricane Edouard. Officials told residents living near the Atlantic to evacuate. When some refused, they were asked for their next of kin.

At the time, I thought it was cruel to suggest to those residents that death was imminent.

Not anymore.

While watching minute by minute coverage of Hurricane Ike barreling toward the Gulf Coast, one of the cable news channels showed streaming video of a group of people partying at the Poop Deck, a bar in Galveston, Texas. The visibly-annoyed anchor told group that the National Weather Service said they were absolutely going to die. The group didn't care; they just continued partying. One girl even chugged a bottle of liquor.

News 9's Kelly Ogle is now in the Gulf covering Hurricane Ike. He and the news crew had to move twice because of rising flood waters. That's why I couldn't believe those people would thumb their noses at the NWS and Mother Nature. Aside from their family members who would almost certainly grieve over their untimely deaths, no consideration was given for the servicemen and first-responders who would be put in harm's way, because of their proclivity for partying.

I interviewed Max Mayfield, former head of the National Hurricane Center, in 2006, one year after Katrina slammed into the Gulf.  He was still in disbelief that most Americans living in that area did not have a hurricane evacuation plan. 

I wonder what he would say about that reckless group.