After one week of the horror of this massive human disaster, all the returns are not yet in, but here are my immediate thoughts:
The Good—As usual, the innate and almost unlimited capacity of the American people for generosity and compassion in time of human need, as well as the resolve and courage of the large majority of the victims of the disaster.
The Bad—Government at every level, beginning with state and local leadership. Where are the Giulianis? Nowhere to be found in Louisiana. And when will we ever learn that large public sector bureaucracies are sometimes pretty good at talking, planning, and processing, but, with the exception of the military during wartime, almost always lousy at delivering?
The Ugly—When we peel back the thin layer of our social fabric, as these events force us to do, we often don’t like what we see. In this case, what we saw was the fragile covering that separates us from the anarchy of lawlessness and exposes the deterioration of civil and moral order that lurks just below the surface.
The implications of this disaster are enormous, not only for New Orleans, but for that city it will prove to have been a “100-year event” and I believe will be analogous to the Galveston storm of 1900, in the sense that if New Orleans is rebuilt, it will have a much different future than anyone could imagine as recently as last week.