It took me a couple of days to fully appreciate the scale of the disaster in the South this week, mostly because I wasn’t following the news super closely and because I thought “this is an industrialized country, and there’s lots of warning, how bad can it get?” Obviously I was wrong, terribly terribly wrong.
I started paying more attention to the news this morning after I heard some disturbing rumors of a rescue helicopter being shot at last night. I figured this would be an isolated incident. Parts of today I’ve sat in stunned silence and thought, “it can’t get any worse,” but it did. Rescue by boats and busses being called off because of safety issues, trucks of medical supplies being robbed at gun point, people SHOOTING AT HOSPITALS. My god, how can this be happening.
AND WHERE IS THE CAVALRY? How are we to imagine that the government can protect us from/recover from a terrorist attack if they couldn’t save its citizens from a weather event THEY HAD SEVERAL DAYS WARNING FOR. Why were there not busses lined up in the city to evacuate people after all of the auto fuel ran out and the airport closed? Afterwards, why is it taking DAYS to bring aid in to the people who are left, get the injured out, and maintain order. WHAT KIND OF PLANNING COULD LET THIS HAPPEN!?!?!
Say what you will about the looters. After an event like this, AND WHEN IT BECOMES OBVIOUS THAT NO-ONE IS GOING TO HELP YOU, you’ll do whatever you can to help yourself. But who in the world starts firing on rescue and medical workers?!?!? Have Americans drifted so far from a civil society that this is even considered? The rest of the world must be absolutely shocked at this, and we are likely losing what little respect we may have had left as a culture.
I’ll say it again though, HOW COULD THIS HAPPEN? How could we ignore the ample warning, not listen to the experts, and not at least prepare even a little bit to dig out after the worst natural disaster in the history of the country. I feel as if we should be asking frickin Canada and Mexico for aid here, because its obvious that we can’t take care of our own.
In the meantime we have to do what we can to give people some kind of help. Donate to the Red Cross, give blood, do whatever you can to aid strangers who are stranded and homeless for the next several months. Also, re-assess our own disaster plans. Living in an earthquake-prone area and close to a more dangerous urban center, I’m thinking about what would be needed to take me and my family out of the danger zone at a moments notice if the only thing we can count on is our legs. Since our governments priorities are firmly focused elsewhere these days, we really don’t have much we can count on in even the worst of circumstances.
And I ask you again, how do you feel about Homeland Security and the possibility of a surprise terrorist action in the wake of this fiasco.
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