Friday, August 29, 2008

There's a hurricane coming and you're waiting for what?

Do people learn from experience? Somehow, I doubt it. Says the New Orleans Times Picayune:
Aiming to show tangible improvements in reacting to disasters since Hurricane Katrina hit three years ago today, the Bush administration's top two disaster response officials were in Louisiana on Thursday to help prepare for Gustav.

Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and FEMA Administrator R. David Paulison met with Gov. Bobby Jindal in Baton Rouge, then hashed out plans with Mayor Ray Nagin and his preparedness team in New Orleans.

As Gustav churned Thursday over Jamaica, officials at all levels of government in south Louisiana drafted contingency plans to anticipate, head off and, if necessary, repair any damage Gustav might cause.
Excuse me? At this late date, who in their right mind is waiting for government officials to take care of them when potential disaster looms?

Governments excel at perhaps two things: Spending vast amounts of money and killing people. Spending vast amounts of money to kill people is, of course, something of a politicians' dream job.

But saving your sorry butt from floods, tornadoes, high winds, collapsing infrastructure ...

No, that's really not a government specialty.

The Red Cross is better at this sort of thing. So are any number of private charity organizations.

If you really want to wait, helplessly, for somebody to do for you, that is.

Ultimately, though, when a hurricane is bearing down on you, it's a good idea to do something on your own initiative.

You could pack up and leave. If that's difficult or impossible, you could get to higher ground in a secure setting. At least, you could stockpile enough water, food, medicine, fuel and other supplies to get you through a tough period.

Fundamentally, though, it's your responsibility, not that of some bureaucrat who's just not up to the job no matter what he or she says.

Read me in the Las Vegas Review-Journal on the government's performance after Hurricane Katrina.



Anonymous Brutus said...

I agree with your thoughts and have never thought we ought depend upon government to save us. Even in good weather they are inefficient. I wrote a post today with some similar thoughts about "mandatory evacuations." You might want to have a look. I don't normally self promote in a comment but the two post are quite similar.

August 30, 2008 5:38 PM  

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