I have never lived through a natural disaster on the scale of Hurricane Sandy. It has been an eye opening experience in many ways. I’ve seen a community come together and strengthen. I’ve gained a new appreciation for the luxuries that keep us comfortable in our own homes. And most recently, as the dust settles, I see something totally different: Opportunists.
The scrappers are out in full force. I see them all driving up and down my neighborhood streets sifting through piles of debris. They’re ripping the metal trim off of my neighbor’s ping pong table. Things that aren’t valuable to some anymore, now are quite valuable to others. I’m conflicted. These are people who benefit from others’ losses. Or is it the other way around? Our piles of debris need to be picked up, so are they helping us make our piles smaller and less obtrusive?? Or are they vultures clawing through carrion?
My internal conflict on this issue is similar to the debate that is often discussed regarding “pinking”. The barrage of pink ribbons and merchandise across the country (particularly in October) can be quite overwhelming. Are these companies simply benefitting off of a disease that has taken so much from so many? Or is the awareness benefitting the future of breast cancer?
We watch the movie Ratatouille a lot. The little rat chef laments to his father that he doesn’t want to steal food from garbage cans anymore. And his father’s response is, “it’s not stealing if they don’t want it anymore”. There’s some truth to that. What would i do with corroded nails and screws? If someone can use them to make a buck, why do I care if they take them? In some ways, I feel a bit violated and in others I’m glad I’m helping someone else who is obviously in need. I think I just wish it wasn’t happening right in my neighborhood.

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