Those Who Stayed

With Hurricane Florence bearing down on the homes of Steve’s parents and his cousin, we’ve been glued to the news for the past couple of days. Steve’s folks live on a barrier island near Morehead City. His cousin and his family live in New Bern. His folks eventually left to stay with friends in Raleigh, but their neighbors stayed, as did the New Bern cousins.

Here’s what Steve’s parent’s island looks like right now.


Why would people stay after all the news coverage told people to go, go, go? Some stayed because they think that being there will save their homes. Lockean “life, liberty, and property” is part of the American culture.

But I think that most people in North Carolina stayed, even after all the news and authorities told them to go, because they simply didn’t believe the news. Trump’s constant “fake news” taunts have undermined confidence in news, and his buffoonery has undermined confidence in leaders.

And now rescue workers are putting their lives at risk to save these people.


23 thoughts on “Those Who Stayed

    1. I have to agree. People would rather assume a natural disaster will affect someone else, not them, and the thought of evacuating “for no reason” drives them crazy.


    2. I agree, people stayed when told to evacuate long before Trump. Blaming him for that is just silly. There’s plenty of real stuff to blame him for, and frankly, focusing on blaming him for things like this just undermines criticism on issues where hi is to blame.


    3. For once, I’m on the same side with most of the other commentators. People stayed in Rockaway and coastal Staten Island when Sandy came, well before Trump. Some of them died. That’s the way people are.


    4. Cranberry said,

      “Some will stay in the teeth of any catastrophe.”

      Heck, it’s hard to get horses out of a burning stable.

      People feel safer in their homes, even when their homes aren’t safe anymore.


  1. On a barrier island in a hurricane. That’s just unreasonable behavior. I mean, building anything significant on a barrier island is unreasonable behavior — they’re not stable.


    1. I think that’s where we need more regulation, or letting people really assume their own risk. But, are we really willing to withdraw rebuilding assistance, rescues, . . . .?


  2. At least Rick Saccone is finding a way to occupy his time now that he’s not got to worry about serving in or running for Congress.


  3. Hurricane Sandy turned Jersey shore houses to match sticks. I never got over that. I still haven’t recovered from losing power for two weeks. It was so miserable, especially since Steve had lost his job the week before.


  4. I (oddly) agree that we shouldn’t blame the disbelief of the “hype” of hurricanes on Trump. I think that there is a breathless, catastrophization and trainwreck rubbernecking that goes on around these trackable natural disasters (big snow storms, hurricanes, flooding) that causes some people to tune out, thinking people are crying wolf once again. I’ve argued something similar for PSA announcements that show people developing lesions on their faces when they smoke, or eggs frying when they use drugs. I think we have to try more measured approaches to warning people.


    1. When I was in junior high school – this would have been about 1962 – we were brought to the auditorium where a matronly lady in a flowered dress told us about her time attending at the death bed of a marijuana addict in his final throes. This was impressive to most of us, except for the bad kids at the back of the room rolling their eyes, but it had no effect what-so-ever when I was actually offered the Wacky Tabacky about 1965 and eagerly partook. Just saying…


  5. CBS says that New Bern is one of the hardest hit localities (so far), with multiple rescues being necessary.

    I actually think that the government should do more to enforce “mandatory” evacuations, but I know that would be very controversial (and spun for partisan purposes by whichever party was not in charge of the government that day). I’m not suggesting dragging people out in handcuffs, but you could send law enforcement officials through the area shortly before the storm issuing summonses to anyone who had not evacuated in response to earlier orders. The threat of a $500 fine would change many people’s minds.


  6. I love the NOAA National Hurricane Center. It’s the best way to keep track of developing hurricanes, and a true modern luxury.

    We are approaching the 80th anniversary of the Hurricane of ’38. 600 people died.

    There was no warning of the storm on the day it made landfall.

    I dislike the news media’s desire to hype storms. Exaggerating storms has the same effect as The Boy Who Cried Wolf.

    In other news of the day, houses were blowing up in 3 towns in Massachusetts. At least 39 fires or explosions in one afternoon!

    Despite mandatory evacuation orders, some chose not to leave their homes.


  7. Congrats on the article, Laura! Very cool.

    I agree with everyone on the weather alarmism. From back in the 1970s, my mother used to talk about the untrustworthiness of the weatherman, and it’s true – sometimes they hit it right on the nose, but sometimes things don’t pan out. And it has always been the case that bad weather makes for exciting news, so everyone, from the local news to the weather channel, over-covers rather than under-covers any possibly major storm.


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