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Friday, September 02, 2005

(Katrina blog) wicked_wish: Disjointed thoughts on the socio-economics of disaster

"In the sequel to Four and Twenty Blackbirds, there is a scene where a character does something (arguably) quite stupid for $300, here in Chattanooga (another poor southern city). I've been told by an early reader or two that this amount isn't enough -- that it's not believable that he would behave this way for such a pittance.

Well I've got news for you all -- around these here parts, $300 may well be your rent for a month. When you keep a roof over your head and pay all your bills on $10 an hour, $300 will fix your car, maybe -- or maybe buy back your car title from the shark you pawned it to in order to get groceries during a tight spot. If you're careful, it'll feed you for eight weeks, maybe longer. $300 can be the difference between going to a doctor or checking yourself into the emergency room, because you don't have any health insurance and at least the ER can't turn you away. It's the difference between taking a sick pet to the vet or tearfully dropping it off at the pound -- because you don't even have any money to have it properly put to sleep.

If every single person in New Orleans had a spare $300 and a car, most of them could have run.
Now turn on the TV again and look at how many stayed."


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