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The Times
  • Editorial: The price of Sandy

  • As sophisticated as we think we are, as prepared as we fancy ourselves to be against any challenge, we are always at the mercy of Mother Nature.

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  • As sophisticated as we think we are, as prepared as we fancy ourselves to be against any challenge, we are always at the mercy of Mother Nature.
    That was proven again this week with Superstorm Sandy slamming into the nation's Northeast coast. At this writing known fatalities had reached into 50-some people. Lower Manhattan is flooded. The storm closed the New York Stock Exchange for two days. New York's vaunted subway system ground to a halt. New Jersey's coastline ... well, much of the sand that was on it is now clogging city streets there. More than 8 million people were without power. Some 15,000 flights had been canceled, impacting global air traffic. Property damage has already been estimated at upwards of $20 billion. If it did have one positive, it provided a brief respite from the presidential campaign. Sandy could have an impact on the election if it affects turnout at the polls.
    Sandy wasn't Katrina, the costliest storm in the nation's history, leaving more than 1,800 people dead, wiping out New Orleans and ultimately causing $81 billion in property damage, but it's a bad one. Rest assured, taxpayers will get to pick up a fair amount of the tab, with money borrowed from somewhere. Insurance companies will make good on their contractual promises, and they'll pass along those costs to their customers.
    So, yes, Sandy may have socked the Northeast directly but the rest of us are collateral damage in one way or another. You may not like that, but if Mother Nature has proven anything - through hurricanes in the South and on the East Coast, through earthquakes on the West Coast, through tornadoes in the Midwest - it's that tragedy doesn't always strike someplace else. The nation's sympathies should go out to the East Coast, and its helping hand.
    Journal Star of Peoria, Ill.
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