These évents and people's response to them, have certainly revealed societal schisms. Take the earthquake, for instance; weighing in at a mere 5.9, the quake would have been a source of amusement on the west coast, or so I'm told. No injuries were reported, so it's okay that the sight of easterners huddling outside east coast office buildings provoked some giggles.
The run up to Hurricane Irene caused some in the southeast to retaliate to gibes from the north about how snow disrupts everything below the Mason-Dixon line. A few thirsty Texans even asked if we could ship water their way, as they suffer through an unenviable and dangerous stretch of high temperatures.
Oddly, though, northerners seemed to break ranks in the aftermath of the tornado. In its inimitable style, the New York Post summed up the storm as Apocalypse Not, noting that some city residents had criticized Mayor Mike Bloomberg for overaggressive preparations that included evacuations.
I think residents in hard hit areas in upstate New York and nearby New Jersey would challenge assessments of the storm as less than a disaster, if they had time to read about it while trying to re-assemble the broken pieces of their towns. The death and financial toll taken by the Hurricane supports these survivors.
To date, I have not heard that the storm took down any major computer networks or data centers, but we should all remember that many people can't access so-called mission-critical operations like social media, banking and retail sites, and even the internet because of a lack of power and that the human toll includes many small enterprises that no longer exist.
On the plus side, 911 systems and other critical facilities served by our industry seemed to work when put to the test, and that's a good thing. The toll from recent natural disasters seems only to have grown when truly mission-critical systems failed when needed.
We have far to go in the battle against Mother Nature's temper, and good-natured humor is one of our best weapons, as is our humanity and maintaining our priorities.
Let's remember to help those victimized in this hurricane and other disasters while keeping to our work of making the next incident less costly.