Editorial for Friday — August 15, 2003

• The Great Blackout

The Great Blackout

Lucky you live Kaua‘i, especially on a day when a good hunk of the Northeast is without power on one of the hottest days of the year.

The power blackout vividly points out how fragile our modern electric-based civilization can be when its power source is gone.

The humbling sight of those who live in one of the world’s grandest cities, with some sleeping in Central Park last night after being turned out of hotels, or stranded from their homes outside Manhattan, is an interesting phenomeon, and one that shows there’s not much between our modern, electrified way of life and a return to the mid-1800s if our power grid was destroyed.

A major down side to the blackout is the cues the power failure may give to terrorists, for this incident is directly affecting millions of people from New York up to Michigan, not just a district in Manhattan, and was a problem that may have a simple cause.

The blackout could have far reaching effects on Kaua‘i as East Coast residents regroup and rethink leaving their homes for faraway trips after a bout with a blackout.

Looking back to the days and weeks following Hurricane ‘Iniki n which struck in September, 1992 n many Kaua‘i residents can recall the days when we had our own blackout, recalling the whine of generators after sundown, and the joy it was to rent a video or get a hot hamburger in a restaurant once the power came back.

The positive side of a major power loss is the friendliness among people caught up in what is somewhat of a hopeless situation, as shown back in the days of ‘Iniki,. The friendliness and helpfulness being shown during this disaster in the major cities it hit is being played up on the news broadcasts we are seeing here on Kaua‘i. It is too bad that it takes a disaster to bring out the best in people.

The “Great Blackout” of yesterday is also a good wake-up call that we as an island and as individuals need to be prepared for another hurricane, for we too may again have to face this type of problem.


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