first let's all agree that this is tragic beyond most people's imaginations. in 1889, johnstown pennsylvania was literally erased from the map when the south fork dam gave way in the face of half a foot of rain in a 24 hour period, and four square miles of human habitation, and 2200 people, were gone in an instant. perhaps the levees and dikes around fargo won't give way with that same amount of instantaneous force, but it's not hard to imagine the potential for something dire. when i was a boy, a smaller confluence at jonestown, pa got my wires crossed with the similarities in the name. driving with my grandparents to see houses flooded up to their roofs gave me no reason not to believe i was seeing the great flood itself, and not just a tiny echo of the real thing, experienced in the real place almost a hundred years before. i cannot even imagine what it must feel like to realize that the roof is your own, and all that you have, if you're not sitting right beside your family, might very well be lost.
since it's too late to go back and change the stakes, and consider the up-not-out alternatives, we beyond the reaches of the red river should all be grateful that we do not face the peril now facing our fellow humanity. i never really thought that the sandbags might not be enough, or i never could have written that piece yesterday.
today, it seems that fema may be getting their proverbial second chance...
let's all keep a good thought that lessons have been learned, and that the good people from fargo will not have to endure that which was endured by the good people of louisiana and alabama.