If you live just about anywhere in the U.S. (except for Florida, where I am), it’s been an awful couple of weather weeks.
It’s worse than cold. It’s snow, ice, wind, and temperatures no one expected in places no one has see this kind of weather in years, if ever. It’s a literal killer winter storm that’s taken the lives of children in their freezing homes, old people on breathing machines, families trying to stay warm in their cars. They died in house fires, from carbon monoxide poisoning, on the roads escaping the storm or heading into it to help others, and from lack of necessary medical care, such as dialysis, oxygen, or medication for chronic conditions.
While the seniors among us seem to suffer disproportionately in times of disaster, Winter Storm Uri, as it is now known, wasn’t picky about its victims. Nearly 70 dead in Texas alone, the youngest age seven and the oldest age 86. In the ruins of lives and homes, the state government has batted the blame from agency to agency, blaming everything from the unexpected weather (because the forecast for this storm, available days in advance, apparently was not important or just fake news) to the green new energy power used by the state (because unlike Texas’ non-winterized turbines, the properly maintained machinery used in Canada, Siberia, and Norway work just fine in even colder temperatures) to the unprepared power company (run by people selected by the state government, which chose the cheapest energy solution rather than the safest one).
Texas is the bulls-eye example of what happens when a state government forgets that it’s the people who have the real power. Individuals and small companies are stepping in and stepping up to help communities with food, water, blankets, and firewood. States are helping by sending power crews to fix downed power lines. Hospitals already overwhelmed by coronavirus cases are making room where they can for patients moved from other facilities closed due to lack of power and water. If you want to help states across the country, you can donate to the Red Cross here. If you specifically want to assist the state of Texas, this link is for the Houston area, and this link is for other areas. One of the world’s most respected chefs, Jose Andres, led his World Central Kitchen into Texas to feed people, as he does anywhere in the world where there’s a need. You can donate to his organization here.
Disasters like this don’t stop to ask your date of birth, your race, or your political party. They just barrel through your hometown and take down everything, including its heart and soul. But there’s always some good folks showing up as the feed-and-clean crew, ready to help.