I’ve been fixated on the psychopathic acts of individuals intent on fulfilling self-needs, perhaps justifiable in providing for their families in some instances in the face of hardships posed by the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy. Superpsychologist Kevin Dutton argues that the capacity for psychopathic acts exists in all of us, and the degree to which they’re expressed exists on a scale or continuum of some sorts. There is an element of wisdom in psychopathic acts that enables the individual to succeed at all costs. To be fair, Sandy’s aftermath has also provided a platform for random acts of kindness. In my field of Optometry, for example, listserves abound with offers of help to doctors who are without power in their offices to come and use the facilities of other doctors. Other offers have arisen to donate equipment to practices that have had their instruments irreparably damaged by the storm. Altruism is the order of the day from professionals who extend the opportunity to their patients to come to the office for some food and shelter, or perhaps just to sit and re-connect through power and Wi-Fi.
I strongly suspect that the aftermath of Sandy is going to fundamentally change the way we handle coastal storms. There must be a concerted effort to enforce mandatory evacuations. As forecast models become increasingly more accurate, it is a travesty to waste as much manpower and resources as we do on post-storm search and rescue missions for people who insisted on staying in their homes rather than evacuating the area. Whether due to thrill seeking of being within a storm, or the emotional attachment to staying in one’s home, there comes a time when the charade of “if you stay in your home we won’t save you” must stop. Of course people know that when push comes to shove, calls for help will be answered. But the ability of residents to return to their homes and begin the necessities of putting one’s life back together is seriously impaired due to local police and OEM officials searching for those who opted to stay during the storm.
Anarchy comes in many flavors, as does altruism.