Last night, along with millions of others, I watched with growing horror as the reporters on the various news channels brought us first hand reports of the devastation of Hurricane Ike, as it came onshore directly over Galveston, Texas. Also being reported in the news cycle was the tragedy that occurred in Los Angeles, when a commuter train collided head on with a freight train, where the casualty count thus far stands at 15 dead and 135 injured. That number, sadly, is likely to increase.
The total casualty counts from Southeast Texas and Southwest Louisiana are not know yet, and indeed it could be weeks before even an approximate number is known. As I look back through the logs of recent readers that my statistics program for this blog keeps, I see a lot of familiar names, such as Galveston, Clute, Beaumont, Clear Lake, Texas City, and many others. Because of the massive loss of power, it may be months before any of these readers have the time or the ability to visit us here again. Of course this is nothing but a blog about a sport, and there is certainly no life or death concerns associated with NASCAR, other than the usual possibilities that exist in the sport. Life and death, though a real part of racing heritage, is a choice undertaken by the drivers involved. In the real world of everyday life, all this seems very insignificant today.
The casualties on the trains in LA never had a chance. They never saw it coming. Lives were snuffed out in a fraction of a second, and as horrible as the loss of life is, that may have been merciful compared to what the people in Texas and Louisiana have gone through over the last 24 hours, and indeed is still going on. With Hurricane Ike, everyone knew it was coming. Some doubted whether or not the conditions would become as bad as they did. Some people refused to evacuate, and it's entirely likely that some of those may not have survived the storm. Though it is extremely unlikely that there will be anywhere near the casualties suffered during the Galveston Hurricane of 1900, it is unlikely that all who stayed behind could have survived.
My prayers go out today to the people of the Gulf Coast, and to those affected by the train crash in Los Angeles. May the Lord be with them, their families and their loved ones. The loss of property has already become staggering from the effects of Hurricane Ike. I pray that the loss of life does not become so as well.