Maybe things have changed

Maybe things have changed

After 9/11, people (including myself) were fond of saying, everything has changed. But over time, people stopped being quite as nice in traffic and in line at the store and the old rivalries and complaints and pettiness came back. I suppose it’s human nature.

But the aftermath of yesterday’s blackout makes me think that perhaps everything really did change. The news reports carried almost no reports of looting or rioting or arson in the major US cities (Canada’s a different story). In all of New York, there were two minor looting incidents, I think. That’s remarkable when you consider that in the last two major blackouts in that city, in 1977 and the mid-60s, there were major problems.

We’ve become accustomed to the idea that when disaster strikes—blizzards, flooding, and now terrorism—there was a certain element that could be trusted to take advantage and cause mayhem. But not anymore, it seems. This generation, at least, seems to have been permanently marked by the horror of 9/11 and that specter rises again to bring out our best whenever major disaster strikes.

It would be nice to think that the next generation would not need a 9/11 to learn that lesson, but again human nature being what it is, I expect it will.

N.B. I don’t doubt that one reason why we didn’t much civil disturbance was that police and fire services are better prepared and better trained to deal with such emergencies in this post-9/11 world.

Written by
Domenico Bettinelli