aftermath: A somewhat delayed consequence or result, especially a bad one. [Root sense: "second mowing." < After, w. OE maeth, a mowing, a swath. Hence, at root, a second mowing of hay. And since in most of Britain the growing season is short, the second mowing is likely to be inferior to the first, whence the root implication, "lesser (bad) result". As distinct from the upshot (which see), an aftermath is an eventual rather than immediate result.
--- A Second Browser's Dictionary by John Ciardi.
Like everybody else, I feel horrified by the difference between the night after Katrina blew through and the horrors of yesterday. We still didn't know quite how bad it had been in Mississippi and Alabama. We honestly thought it was going to turn out to be all right for New Orleans. We didn't know the levees were still going to go.
Everybody's freaking out about the looters. Yeah, stealing food when you're hungry and penniless is morally permissible. (Though you ought to leave an IOU on the counter if you can.) Profiteering and stealing DVDs and computers is bad, unless you can prove you really needed a computer for some higher purpose. (And then you definitely have to leave an IOU. And bring the thing back afterwards.) But no policeman should be stealing from Wal-Mart. Not at all.
But to get to my point, what freaked me out about the Wal-Mart looting was that nobody was picking stuff up off the floor. Not even kicking it out of the way. They would go around it, rather than do anything remotely tidy. Now, I'm hardly a domestic goddess, but it drives me crazy to see clothes displays at Wal-Mart that hit a certain level of disorder! How can people stand to see this chaos and not do anything about it?
I guess I just want to see people pulling together to help each other, giving themselves a good memory of strength in the bad times instead of weakness and evil. When things are as bad as this, there's just no point making things worse. When there's damage everywhere, who can resist the impulse to pick some spot, however pointless, and start picking things up?
But I guess that's not the kind of people who spend much time looting Wal-Mart.