In retrospect, there were three calamities intertwined in my memory of 9/11. We are all keenly aware of the first: the horrifying attacks perpetrated by al-Qaeda against American centers of power. (I cannot do justice here to the memory of those ghoulish hours and the lives lost; I am grateful…

Nothing scars over a bleeding heart like the peculiar needs of a mass-care situation. The exigencies of speed, convenience, safety, space, and turnover for food and hygiene require just a massive flow of single-use items, from gloves to clamshells to water bottles. It very quickly becomes part of the background…

One of the biggest challenges for the shelter staff is getting everyone to bed each night. “Lights out” (a misnomer; see previous essay) is at 10 p.m. but usually the kids are up and socializing until about midnight. There are long lines for the restrooms, some groups are deep in…

Mike Locke

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