Harvey’s heroes, villains

As we watched the tragedy of Hurricane Harvey and its aftermath play out on television last week, we were struck once again by a persistent narrative in times of crises:

Happily, there are always heroes — sadly, there are also always villains.

In Harvey’s case, a band of angels descended on Houston to try help its poor citizens. Yes, the Red Cross is always there (God bless those volunteers) and FEMA was doing its darndest to coordinate rescue efforts. The Texas National Guard and Coast Guard rescued people from rooftops and isolated islands in the floodwaters.

But there were also ordinary citizens who came from all over to help. We watched story after story of people who had boats hitch them up to their trucks and drive hundreds of miles to help in the relief effort.

A Houston furniture dealer turned both of his stores into shelters, housing over 500 people. Teenagers rescued the elderly and the sick from stranded homes — walking through waist-deep water with those poor folks clinging to their backs.

The volunteers and those rescued were all shades of skin — every interview we saw had the rescuers stating they were simply saving their brothers and sisters.

The spirit displayed in Houston should make us proud as a country.

As for the villains, it almost seems profane to mention them in the same editorial as the heroes. There were instances of outrageous price gouging and con men trying to steal from Harvey’s victims.

Our spouse suggested that such villains should be charged with terrorism. Preying on people who have lost everything is an act of terror. When one is trying to get potable water for his family or gasoline to drive them to safety, gouging adds to an already terrifying situation. At the very least, lists of all stores that engaged in gouging should be made and they should be boycotted in the future.

For now, though, we should concentrate on the vast majority of citizens who performed heroic deeds to save their neighbors. The true spirit of America shone through in Harvey’s wake in Houston.

* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.