Sure, buildings were swept away, but humanity was most fragile of all, says Raymond J. de Souza in the National Post today in one of the more poignant pieces written about the hurricane. For once you don’t need a National Post subscription to read this, so take advantage. Here’s a snippet:
[…] The most important things man builds are not buildings, or boats, or even houses and causeways and levees. There is another labour, in which the architects are the theologians and scholars, the seekers and dreamers, the poets and composers, and the builders are the parents and teachers and coaches and clergy. It is the work of the heart, the education of souls, the construction of character.
It is that labour which is supposed to endure. When the winds blow, the house built on the solid rock of virtue is not swept away like the house built on the shifting sands of selfishness.
[…] That buildings are fragile in the face of the storm is not a surprise. But is our civilization so fragile as to put women at risk of being raped amid the fetid squalor of the shelters? What lurks in the heart of a man who would rape a hungry, desperate woman in her hour of need? Does our culture produce men of such little virtue that the winds of destruction flatten also the most basic rules of morality? Perhaps, in the tumult and turmoil, one might understand, if not excuse, the looters who took the televisions and furniture. But the rapists? In due course, perhaps New Orleans will be rebuilt. But what kind of rebuilding project can restore the heart of a man who took the hurricane as an opportunity to let loose depravity and violence?