Crisis, does not so much build character as reveal it.

Calamity, in other words, has this way of knocking down artifice and pretension, the devices people construct to keep other people from seeing who they really are. In a very real sense, you become yourself when things are disintegrating all around you.

And let’s face it, more than levees broke in New Orleans. Social order broke. Police authority broke. Chain of command broke. Communications broke. All the structures we build to restrain the floodwaters of human behavior broke.

Who would you be if there were no rules? What would you do if there were no accountability? What would you get away with if you could get away with anything?

Some people got away with being martyrs. Some did heroic things; some became heroes.

It is an image of petty opportunism, yes, but also one of quiet integrity, and it’s that part I choose to take with me as a reminder for when floodwaters recede and structures of artifice are put back in place.

Even in a broken time, some things did not break.

By Leonard Pitts Jr. Miami Herald, Crises bring out the best, worst in some people

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