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Learning lessons a little too late

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Tom Anderson:
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Nicole Knight:
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Posted on September 16, 2005

Valerie Rojas
Editor in Chief

Summer always seems to fly by a little too fast. Ask a few students around you and they’ll say the same thing: “Summer was too short.”
And although there seemed to be a shortage of fun-filled days at the beach during the last two and a half months, there was definitely no shortage of interesting events taking place in our nation.

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Learning lessons
a little too late
While I wanted to use my first column of the season as a chance to share all of the exciting moments of my summer, and believe me, there were quite a few, I feel that I should instead try to write a column with a little more serious subject matter.

So, I suppose that all of the hoopla I’d like to share about my recent engagement, one-night trips to San Francisco and rock n’ roll romps in Illinois will have to be saved for future columns.
I could spend this column talking about Cindy Sheehan and her curious form of grieving over the loss of her soldier son who died defending our country. But, I’m just a little too tired of hearing about the lady. However, if you need to hear just a little more from Sheehan, just wait it out. I’m sure she’ll probably have a reality show in a few months, after her tour across America comes to an end.

Aside from the Sheehan sob fest, the most heartbreaking and devastating occurrence of the summer is one that we are still dealing with.
Said to be the worst natural disaster in America’s history, Hurricane Katrina has definitely roughed up our country.
Earlier in the summer, when California was shaken, rattled and rolled by a few earthquakes, there were rumors of possible tsunamis hitting our golden state.

While driving along the coast with a friend of mine who happens to live just a few miles away from Huntington Beach, talk of these tsunamis came into play. She said something that seemed to make sense at the time, but now, with thousands of U.S. citizens dead as a result of the floods and terror caused by Katrina, her statement really doesn’t make sense at all.

“If a tsunami hits us, things would be much different here than they were in Indonesia, because we would have major warnings. This is America. Things are different.”

I believe that, as Americans, we tend to think that natural disasters can’t touch us. They have smaller, less developed countries to pick on.
Natural accidents like monstrous tsunamis that leave more than 80,000 people dead could never happen to our country. After all, we are the United States of America. We are practically invincible. We have everything under control. You know, I thought that too, until one killer storm destroyed a huge chunk of our country.

Hurricane Katrina has proved that we definitely are not as big, bad and well-prepared as we like to think we are.

Looking at images of all of the destruction and horror happening in the Gulf region, it is hard to fathom that these scenes are actually taking place in our country. It is hard to believe that it took our government so long to react to this catastrophe and that a few more lives couldn’t have been spared before it was too late. Those people living in squalor and filth, trying to make a home out of a sports arena, fearing they will be raped or murdered when they close their eyes, well, those people can’t be Americans.

We should view Hurricane Katrina as a wake-up call to our country. We may be able to unite after the damage has been done, and yes, that’s a good thing, but can we really believe that no one saw this destruction coming?

We may be the world’s most powerful nation, but when it comes down to it, we really aren’t as tough as we think we are.

Valerie Rojas, a senior journalism major, is editor in chief of the Campus Times. She can be reached by e-mail at skalivornia@hotmail.com.