The Real Death Toll in Puerto Rico: 2975; Bi-Partisan Love for Senator John McCain; and (Early) Happy Labor Day!
As initially reported, the death toll in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria was estimated by the government at just 16. That was revised early on, but only to a lowly 64. Many doubted these figures, specifically including Mayor Carmen Yulen Cruz of San Juan, who advocated passionately for a greater governmental response in the wake of the devastating damage. The badly hobbled electrical grid resulted in black-outs that for some lasted many months. Fatalities resulted not just from the brunt of the storm itself, but also – and unnecessarily -- from the inability of initial survivors to obtain necessary supplies, medical treatment, or even just potable water. These deaths were tracked in a study at George Washington University that found the true death count from the storm – which included all directly-caused deaths in the six months after – was at least 2975. Mayer Cruz pointed out in subsequent interviews that those stranded in Puerto Rico were left to die. It cannot be ignored that this was far different than the rescue efforts afforded to those placed in peril on the American mainland by both Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Mayer Cruz also gave thanks for the substantial assistance given by private citizens and humanitarian organizations, who desperately tried to pick up the slack. But for this assistance, the death toll no doubt would be much greater.
Arizona’s favorite son, Senator John McCain passed away on Saturday, following a difficult battle with brain cancer. McCain long has been an American hero. He famously is known for setting a powerful example relating to the need to eliminate privilege. When captured in Vietnam, McCain was offered an early release because of his status. McCain’s father and grandfather were four-star admirals. McCain refused early release, instead honoring the military code of conduct that prisoners of war should be released in order of their capture. McCain served as U.S. senator for near forty years, often reaching across the aisle for bipartisan solutions. Presidents George W. Bush and Barak Obama are scheduled to speak at his eulogy.
And it’s Labor Day! Well, almost . . . Do take the time to focus on unity and to reflect on why we celebrate this day as a nation. Do also have some fun. It’s back-to-the-books afterward. For you first-years, the rest of the school year may just a blur!