In the comments section of Thursday’s post, my friend Wendy expanded on the blame theme with excellent insight, particularly into the federal versus state/local expectations. Better than summarizing what she wrote, I’m reprinting it here.
But, as someone who actually lives in a hurricane zone – and has experience with hurricanes in my state … My pointer finger is NOT broken and I’ll be happy to point one of them at the Local/State Government of Louisiana.
It has always been my belief that calling in the FEDS is a last resort. I personally do not want to owe the Feds a damn thing – but that Governor KNEW the scenarios facing her region and as an elected official she had an obligation.
I don’t want the military to come in and declare my city a disaster area and start barking out orders … I don’t want to give them any more power than they absolutely NEED … but I do believe this was an extreme case.
No one predicted the storm surge damage in MS, AL … however, the local/State government in LA – certainly knew what could potentially happen with N’orleans.
And I don’t mean JUST the flooding. I mean the AK47 action as well as the physical violence.
The Governor of the state has control of the National Guard – which I think she ‘called up’ on Sunday – much too late to get everyone in before the storm.
In ’92 with Andrew, the Governor had the National Guard in place PRIOR to the storm reaching land. Death was minimal as was looting and violence.
The Mayor – (unlike my own who actually HAS a plan) – had no plan (or possibly he just had no intention) for getting those people out of there – Knowing the possible scenarios – he made no effort to remove the people or the city’s property –
School buses which could have been used to mobilize the poorest people/ the disabled – were left sitting. One example … helpless people in nursing homes died as a result of his inaction.
I was shocked when I saw all those buses under water in that parking lot and yet, people were left in the city to die?
If the SuperDome was a designated evacuation center – then why the hell was it not fully stocked with supplies for just such an event?
I could go on.
FEMA is called in by the Governor – I believe – and seriously, while their response wasn’t flawless – and it would never be fast enough for any of us – it certainly wasn’t much (if any later) than other disasters.
Other disasters?? What?? We’ve had OTHER disasters since 9/11??
Come closer .. closer … Hurricanes hit all the time. Yes, they do! Category 4s … even! Imagine that.
And unlike Tornados, Fires, Earthquakes and Tsunamis … you’re actually WARNED!!!!
Someone comes on television and says – “Um, the Hurricane is coming … GET OUT!!!”
(I know you know this – but dayum the rest of the country acts like it’s the FIRST DISASTER EVER!!!)
People have actually died since 9/11 from these types of disasters and while the numbers certainly have never reached the inconceivable numbers that Katrina will produce … I do not believe their lives were any less valuable.
So with that … here comes my other pointer finger …
Bank accounts aside/ SAT scores aside …
If you live in a hurricane zone – You need to have a PLAN … and boy this is going to make me sound like a heartless bitch … but, if you live in a fucking soup bowl and a hurricane is headed your way … you need to GET OUT … and if you can’t your City/State Government needs to have a plan to help you get out!!
I believe that this has demonstrated how State/Local government as well as people’s own complacency can be their undoing and THAT is a frightening revelation to the rest of us.
As a result we ALL feel the need to blame someone and who better than GW? He’s such an easy target. He doesn’t make it any easier by not accepting responsibility for the shortcomings of his appointed officials –
I’ve seen the media – and my heart breaks for the elderly, the children and the animals … Those who were unable to help themselves.
I am outraged at people who ‘think’ they’re doing the right thing by ‘faking’ press credentials to get in there and see what’s really going on.
Morons. Do these assholes not realize that there might be reasons they don’t let civilians in there? Maybe – oh I don’t know – because you could get hurt … or maybe you’re an opportunist who may just be trying to loot … or you may just be in the WAY????
You see, way back we had a problem with ‘looky Lou’s’ .. people who just wanted to come in and take pictures and steal things and when they would get hurt – they’d blame the city for not ‘telling them to stay away’. So it’s just easier and actually for your own protection to keep your ass out of there!
More than the supposed and factual ‘mistakes’ that were made during this situation – I’m outraged by the media once again clouding people’s common sense with emotion.
Yes, it is a travesty that we are the richest country in the world and we have this sort of thing happening – but to me … the biggest travesty is that we are the richest country in the world and we have people who did not GET themselves out of harms way!! For whatever reason –
I can almost guarantee that if the Military had rushed right in and taken over – the press would be OUTRAGED that the military had rushed right in and taken over – and therefore the people would have been outraged that the military rushed right in and took over – it’s a catch 22 – it’s all about the spin and it sucks.
So now the question is … are we going to sign our rights away to the Feds because we’re all emotional about the military/FEMA not bailing us out?
Are we willing to allow the military to ‘declare’ our cities disaster zones and just come in and take over? I don’t really want that – but if we give them some sweeping blanket of power in these situations – that may happen.
As for Kennedy – I’m sure he’s probably one of those who believe the storm was caused by the Republicans – just like Jesse Jackson believes GW should be up on a pile of rubble essentially declaring war on ‘Mother Nature.’
As opposed to the whacked out Republicans who believe it was a sodom and gomorrah act of god.
Then there’s the Michael Moore angle – ‘if we weren’t at war with Iraq this would not have happened.’ ‘If President Bush hadn’t cut the budget for the army corps, blah blah blah’ …
Puh-leeze. Newsflash! Presidents have cut the funding for the past thirty years or so and even if Bush HAD given them more money – the Army corps LAUGHED at the models given to them back in 1999 for the scenario that unfolded in N’Orleans … so who knows WHAT they would have spent that money for.