Prepared versus panicked

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Hurricane season is upon us.

A few weeks ago a girl name Cindy kicked off the storm season that for the past few years has not looked kindly on Alabama.

And now there’s Dennis. It turns out that his bark was a little bit worse than his bite, but his heavy rains and gusting winds were nothing to laugh at.

As Dennis &uot;The Menace&uot; approached the Alabama coastline, we watched news reports of grocery aisles turning into milk and bread ghost towns.

When Ivan hit Alabama last September, I was enjoying my last year of school at Samford University.

Our classes were cancelled and many people went home; but I simply spent my time observing supermarket rushes and mile-long lines at the gas pump.

&uot;Better safe than sorry&uot; is a great attitude to have when there’s a 150-mile-wide monster preparing to give the coastline a serious whipping.

But during Ivan, I watched people act so abnormally about the oncoming storm that you had to believe Stephen Spielberg was somewhere nearby catching it all on film for his next disaster movie.

I’m not talking about the housewife who goes out and buys an extra gallon of milk, or the husband who wants to make sure his batteries are up to date so his kids won’t get scared when the lights go out.

I’m referring the woman I saw buying three kiddy pools to fill up with filtered water (I think she said something about wanting more but the store was all out). I’m talking about the two men who came to blows at Sears over the last generator that the store had in stock.

Being prepared is important when it comes to hurricane season; I’m not arguing that. But watching wild-eyed mothers running each other down with their shopping carts to get to the milk aisle shows that &uot;preparation&uot; can quickly become &uot;shear panic&uot; if we’re not careful.

There are always going to be hurricanes, and believe it or not, there’s always going to be somewhere to grab an extra gallon of milk or some batteries.

Emily and Franklin are the next names for hurricanes this season. They might hit our coast again or they might stray off into the Atlantic and leave us breathing easy.

Regardless of the outcome, we could all benefit from remembering to stay calm when the next storm hits.

Go out and get your milk and bread. Tape up your windows and charge you flashlight batteries. But as you make your preparations, remember that there’s only so much you can do, because there’s always going to be another one right around the corner.

Brandon Gresham serves as staff writer at the Shelby County Reporter. He can be reached at