Location: Santa Ana, California, United States

Virginia Bola operated a rehabilitation company for 20 years, developing innovative job search techniques for disabled workers, while serving as a Vocational Expert in Administrative, Civil and Workers' Compensation Courts. She is a licensed clinical psychologist with deep interests in Social Psychology and politics and an admitted diet fanatic. She has performed therapeutic services for more than 20 years and has studied the effects of cultural forces and employment on the individual. The author of two interactive workbooks, The Wolf at the Door: An Unemployment Survival Manual and Diet With An Attitude: A Weight Loss Workbook, she also publishes a monthly ezine, The Worker's Edge and various weight loss mini-courses. She can be reached at,, or

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Katrina Brings Out Our Dark Side

Our hearts and prayers go out to the victims of Katrina. We reach deep into our pockets to find any small contribution we can make. We shiver at the thought of our own homes, and the invaluable scraps of our life they contain, being swamped or washed away. We fondly remember the charm of the French Quarter and the excitement of Mardi Gras.

The Big Easy will be rebuilt, in time, because we refuse to let anything permanently destroy our creations and our dreams - not floods, nor fire, nor tornados, nor earthquakes. Not even airplanes flying into skyscrapers, nor suicide bombs on subways and buses. Survivors by nature, we pick ourselves up and start over.

But behind the inspiring face of the heroes: the rescuers, the healthcare workers, the everyday folk who watch and wait with patience and fortitude, is a darker picture - the looters.

In the breakdown of the usual structure of a city, character may also fracture. One observer ( described the scene as "My God, it looks just like Baghdad." It is the same forces at work. Tear the fabric of a society and the reality of who we are emerges, the noble and the profane. We make an individual choice to take the high or low road and must eventually accept responsibility for such personal decisions.

Extenuating circumstances are proposed: the looters are merely hungry.

Ralph Flores and Helen Kleben survived an arctic plane crash, living for seven weeks on little more than melted snow. Thousands flock to spas and health resorts where they pay good money to fast for thirty days or more. Spiritual leaders avoid food for long periods to seek guidance from their souls or their god.

Yet two of the fattest states in an overweight nation (based on the percentage of obese in the population), Louisiana and Mississippi, turn into an out-of-control mob in 24 hours.

As a society, maybe we need to look at ourselves a little more critically. The justly renowned culture and beauty of New Orleans now bears some mighty ugly scars.


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