A Talk With J. C.: Maybe God is Trying to Tell US Something

By Sinclere Lee

Everybody is thinking it but nobody wants to say it; with the calamities the US has been going through since 9/11, maybe God is sending America a wakeup call. Every year for the past 5-years our people have been beset with one natural disaster after another. In the last hurricane season there were hurricanes that rivaled Rita and Katrina, and many other natural disasters that didn’t make the news, but God's disasters make our man-made disasters through war look like child’s play.

As a result, it begs the question; is God punishing US for our past wickedness? No natural disasters are hitting China, Russia and all the countries we are trying to bring democracy too. Consider this; it’s counter-intuitive to believe that God is punishing US and letting the world’s dictators off the hook.

With howling winds and driving rain, Hurricane Rita made landfall at 3:30 a.m. ET Saturday on the extreme southwest coast of Louisiana near Sabine Pass, Texas, so as a result, I decided to give J. C. a call.

While I am not a Bible carrying Christian, I do have a chat with J. C. now and then. I was talking to J. C. as he was controlling the universe and putting some new stars in the heavens.

“Hey J. C.,” I said when I got his attention. “What’s up?” I asked.

“Nothing,” he said to me, “Just doing God’s handy work.”

I thought before I spoke, knowing who he was and all, but I said, “J. C., here lately God has been putting a shellacking on the United States of America with these natural disasters. We got the war in Iraq we are fighting in His name; He has sent natural disasters, one after the other to do US harm and put Americans in fear of their lives. We can't take much more of this punishment from Mother Nature, J. C.!” I tired to explain to him the best I could.

"Man, what you want from me? I ain't seen God since the 'Big Bang,'” J. C. said with some contempt in his voice.

Humbly I responded, “When you see God, again,” I said to J. C., "please ask Him what part of ‘God Bless America’ He doesn't understand?”

That damn Rita slammed the Gulf Coast as a Category 3 storm, with winds of 120 mph. Damage was reported in the pre-dawn hours along the region from Galveston, Texas, to Lake Charles, Louisiana. A

At 8 a.m. ET, Rita was downgraded to Category 2 on the Saffir-Simpson scale of hurricane strength, the National Hurricane Center said. It was centered between Jasper and Beaumont, Texas.

Rita's sustained wind speed has reduced to 100 mph as it moves northwest at near 12 mph.

NHC Director Max Mayfield said the storm could produce 10 to 15 inches of rain over the next day or two and it may stall and remain stationary.

Concern remained Saturday about Rita's storm surge, which was predicted to be up to 20 feet in some areas of southwest Louisiana.

"Just because the center is onshore, people shouldn't think that that water's not still rising," Mayfield said. "It is, especially on the east side of the eye."

The water will not subside until Rita's winds die down, which is not expected before Saturday afternoon, he said. "We almost always have loss of life well after landfall," Mayfield said.

Military hurricane relief commander, Lt. Gen. Russel Honore, said Saturday morning that he's working to assess flooding in New Orleans' Lower 9th Ward, a day after a levee failed to hold back a storm surge from Rita.

"At the deepest point -- and it's not the entire 9th Ward -- we have up to 4-to-5 feet in the deepest points," Honore said. "And we should have that assessment done in the next few hours."

Lake Charles police said they had received reports of severe damage to a terminal at the Lake Charles airport, and also a report that an Interstate 10 overpass had collapsed. Conditions weren't safe enough to check on the reports.

Honore said there was "significant damage" to Lake Charles' airport and "some of its hangars there, the telephone system, as far as cell towers."

The general said he was redeploying 400 troops from New Orleans to Lake Charles to link up with emergency response personnel, as soon as high winds in the area allow safe passage.

'Big catastrophic mess'

Louisiana's Cameron Parish, a flat marshy area stretching along the coast eastward from the Texas states line, "is going to be a big catastrophic mess," said parish Deputy Sheriff Ron Johnson.

"I don't believe we're going to have much left there," said Johnson, who was riding out the storm with the rest of the parish officials in Lake Charles. He said all but a few of the 10,000 residents of the parish evacuated.

By the time Rita made landfall, Lake Charles had received more than 8 inches of rain, according to radar estimates.

In Lumberton, Texas, police had to rescue a family trapped in their home when a large tree fell on it. No injuries were reported.

Earlier, Port Arthur Mayor Oscar Ortiz said he was concerned about Rita moving across Sabine Pass and pushing a large surge of water toward the city.

"If that's true, it will be under water," Ortiz said. "I hate to see what my city's getting right now."

Nearly everyone in the city of roughly 57,000 has evacuated, he said.

Buildings burn in Galveston

In downtown Galveston, Texas, two historic residences and a commercial building were engulfed in flames. Winds of up to 70 mph fanned the flames and caused a blizzard of blowing embers as firefighters fought the blaze.

About four blocks from the fire, a wall of a restaurant collapsed.

David Mattingly from CNN said he had seen little damage in Galveston following landfall. The city's roads remained passable, although some places had minor flooding. Its 17-foot seawall was high enough to keep the predicted 7-foot storm surge back, Mattingly said.

Ninety percent of the city, where it was raining Friday night, was evacuated in anticipation of Rita, officials said earlier.

In Houston, where more than 2 million people evacuated -- creating a traffic nightmare -- the streets and highways were largely empty. About the only vehicles on Interstate 10 were 18-wheelers carrying aid into the city.

The Houston Astrodome, which only recently served as a shelter for thousands of Katrina evacuees, was being used as a staging ground for first responders, with hundreds of ambulances, fire engines and other emergency vehicles poised to go.

The traffic chaos took a tragic turn early in the day. A bus carrying elderly evacuees from a Houston nursing home caught fire on Interstate 45 near Dallas, killing 24 people when the blaze caused some oxygen canisters to explode.

Back to home page