Shrugging Off The Storm

Aug 26 2011 @ 3:45pm

by Patrick Appel

John Seabrook asks whether New Yorkers will ready themselves for Irene:

Will New Yorkers actually follow Mayor Bloomberg’s advice and prepare? Buy new batteries, canned food, extra water, duct tape; pack a “go bag” and leave it by the door?

Somehow, that doesn’t seem likely. As blue staters, we have come to associate the death and devastation caused by Katrina more with failed political leadership than with the fury of a big storm. And since 9/11, hurricanes seem less threatening precisely because you can prepare for them. You can study their projected track, clock their wind speed, and predict the time of landfall—all from the comfort of your den. In an age of sudden events that change the world in an instant, the approach of a hurricane seems old-world stately, like a transatlantic crossing on an ocean liner. We prepare for the unthinkable (or think we do); and blithely shrug off the known. One day, although maybe not this Sunday, we’ll learn.