The scorched earth and smoky skies near Los Angeles are clear evidence that no matter where one lives, no matter how pleasant and peaceful life may be, there awaits the constant threat of death and destruction. In Mexico Hurricane Jimena and in the Caribbean Tropical Storm Erika have lashed pleasant villas and otherwise tranquil beaches and still threaten hundreds of thousands of others in their paths. Four years ago the sleepy and charming Gulf Coast and the city of New Orleans suffered catastrophic wind damage and flooding from Hurricane Katrina. Living in a post- Katrina environment, we see constant reminders of the pangs and anguish we have endured. We tend to define life in terms of pre-K and post-K. Yet, we are still here, a bit more jaded and distrustful of government and false promises, but nonetheless here. We endure because of our own support systems that are in place and, when government fails to deliver, we know we can count on each other. I would never wish a firestorm or a hurricane on any community. The horrors of countless tales of survival or those recounting the tragically lost would compel me to think otherwise. However, I do wish that Los Angeles, Mexico and the Caribbean would have the collective strength of character to pull together and help one another in the wake of these acts of destruction similar to what we've experienced here in New Orleans and along the Gulf Coast. It's a shame that tragedy must precede such common bonds and sense of community. Perhaps, in the future, these feelings will manifest without natural disasters. I pray one day they do and wish the best for all those communities affected at present.