If you’ve been reading JerseySmarts.com for a while, then you know that I love going down to Nashville – in fact, I was down there a few weeks ago. There’s something about the people down there that is just “nice.” There’s also something about the landscape and countryside that you just can’t get in even the nicest parts of New Jersey. So if I ever had to leave New Jersey and live somewhere else, I’d go down to Nashville, Tennessee.
But have you heard about the devastating floods that hit Nashville over the last week? Did you hear about the billions (that’s billions with a “b” folks) of dollars in damage that took place? No? You didn’t see that on the evening news each night and all over the morning shows each day? No?
Doesn’t it seem pretty interesting that this natural disaster – the largest, costliest non-hurricane disaster in American history – is receiving almost no media coverage? One of my friends on Facebook posted a link to an article written by a Nashville native that explains exactly why this story isn’t receiving any coverage. The article was written by Patten Fuqua and posted on the Section 303 blog (a hockey blog). You can read it below in its entirety with some of my closing comments beneath it.
Allow me a moment to step away from the usual voice of this website.
What I am about to write has absolutely nothing to do with hockey.
If you live outside of Nashville, you may not be aware, but our city was hit by a 500-year flood over the last few days. The national news coverage gave us 15 minutes, but went back to focusing on a failed car bomb and an oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. While both are clearly important stories, was that any reason to ignore our story? It may not be as terror-sexy as a failed car bomb or as eco-sexy as an oil spill, but that’s no reason to be ignored.
The Cumberland River crested at its highest level in over 80 years. Nashville had its highest rainfall totals since records began. People drowned. Billions of dollars in damage occurred. It is the single largest disaster to hit Middle Tennessee since the Civil War. And yet…no one knows about it.
Does it really matter? Eventually, it will…as I mentioned, there are billions of dollars in damage. It seems bizarre that no one seems to be aware that we just experienced what is quite probably the costliest non-hurricane disaster in American history. The funds to rebuild will have to come from somewhere, which is why people need to know. It’s hard to believe that we will receive much relief if there isn’t a perception that we need it.
But let’s look at the other side of the coin for a moment. A large part of the reason that we are being ignored is because of who we are. Think about that for just a second. Did you hear about looting? Did you hear about crime sprees? No…you didn’t. You heard about people pulling their neighbors off of rooftops. You saw a group of people trying to move two horses to higher ground. No…we didn’t loot. Our biggest warning was, “Don’t play in the floodwater.” When you think about it…that speaks a lot for our city. A large portion of why we were being ignored was that we weren’t doing anything to draw attention to ourselves. We were handling it on our own.
Some will be quick to find fault in the way rescue operations were handled, but the fact of the matter is that the catastrophe could not have been prevented and it is simply ignorant beyond all reason to suggest otherwise. It is a flood. It was caused by rain. You can try to find a face to stick this tragedy to, but you’ll be wrong.
Parts of Nashville that could never even conceivably be underwater were underwater. Some of them still are. Opry Mills and the Opryland Hotel are, for all intents and purposes, destroyed. People died sitting in standstill traffic on the Interstate. We saw boats going down West End. And, of course, we all saw the surreal image of the portable building from Lighthouse Christian floating into traffic and being destroyed when cars were knocked into it. I’m still having trouble comprehending all of it.
And yet…life will go on. We’ll go back to work, to school, to our lives…and we’ll carry on. In a little over a month, I’ll be on this website talking about the draft. In October, we’ll be discussing the new Predators’ season with nary a thought of these past few days. But in a way, they changed everyone in this town. We now know that that it can happen to us…but also know that we can handle it.
Because we are Nashville.
And, folks, that’s why I’d move to Nashville. These people didn’t point a finger at a politician and say, “You hate us – look what you did.” These people didn’t rob, loot, or destroy their own city out of their own ignorance. These people didn’t cry that they were being abused by the “system.” No. The good people of Nashville saw a problem coming and reacted as any civilized society would react – they helped each other, they tried to save each other’s lives – they even tried to save their animals! That’s the type of good, down-home civilization that you just don’t find in the uber-urbanized areas of this country.
Nashville has people who can help themselves and don’t rely on (or demand) handouts from the government.