Thursday, September 01, 2005

America's Vulnerability

Posted by Mustang with the permission of Always on Watch

We have all been hearing some strange words being spoken lately, some of which are understandable, some expected, some revealing, and some words that are patently untrue. For example, I’ve heard one reputedly well-educated individual say on television that hurricane Katrina is President Bush’s fault because, after all, he failed to sign the Kyoto Protocols. Of course, I’m shaking my head because the fact is that hurricanes are a natural phenomena and much beyond the capability of human beings, even President Bush, to control or direct. There are all kinds of reasons to explain “global warming,” not the least of which could be a pattern or cycle of nature. I do not pretend to be a scientist, but like art, I recognize “good science” when I see it. Declaring that any president could have prevented the effects of Katrina is not good science, and it isn’t even good common sense.

All of us are flabbergasted by the devastation wrought upon the Gulf Coast, and while governments attempt to respond to the need for assistance, we are now hearing reporters ask such questions as, “Well, why wasn’t our government prepared for such an event?” How does one prepare for a Category 5 hurricane, especially when we haven’t experienced one with this kind of devastation? How can the government “do better” when it is clearly doing the best that it can? Now, it is true that the government isn’t working “fast enough,” but when it is doing the best that it can do, doesn’t the argument become moot?

I’ve heard some reporters demanding to know why the government is taking so long to pick up those stranded people in New Orleans. How do you “pick up” tens of thousands of people who are stranded on small islands of concrete structures in a city that is 80% flooded? The fact is that we are not living in a “James Bond” world where suddenly, out of the distance, hundreds of jet skis materialize and come to the aid of the poor and afflicted. For now, let’s forget the “bad decisions” that people made when they refused to obey an order to evacuate the city; the fact is, the people are there, they need help, and the governments are doing the best that they can to render assistance. Limited telephone communications and the absence of electrical power limit the ability to marshal the human and equipment assets that are needed to deal with such issues.

But all of this leads me to the point of this post — and that is a realization of how vulnerable Americans are to catastrophic events, natural or otherwise. In the short term, citizens along the gulf coast region are in serious jeopardy of disease and pestilence that results from water polluted by rotting human and animal corpses, sewage, and leaching chemicals. I believe that we are about to see a horrible outbreak of illness, and while medical personnel will fight as hard as they can to deal with it, their ability to curtail the disease will be limited. One television camera captured a man drinking unclean water, and when the journalist attempted to stop him from doing so, the man pushed the journalist away saying, “I’m thirsty, man.” Beyond such lunacy, Hordes of unsavory people have engaged in looting, intimidating others with firearms, and car-jacking. And now we learn that an idiot has fired a weapon at a rescue helicopter, wounding a member of the National Guard, which has had the effect of suspending humanitarian efforts until military police can be moved into the area.

We are also witnessing an economic event with significant long term consequences. As the price of gasoline rises, so too will the cost of goods that rely upon transportation to move those goods to market. Personally, I will not be surprised to see gasoline reaching $5.00 per gallon, and I’ve begun to worry about the folks who are living in the northern regions of the United States and the cost of warming their homes as we enter the fall and winter months. In some areas of the United States, service stations are already out of gasoline; communities have suspended school because the cost of gasoline is too high to run school buses. What will happen to our “well ordered” society when the demand for commodity goods is greater than available supplies? How will normally decent people react to not being able to obtain gas, food, or water?

And now consider how relatively easy it would be, whether in the face of this natural disaster, or beyond it, for a relatively few thoroughly bad characters to shut down an entire region of the United States. No, there is no reason for panic — but it is time for a reality check among those who typically walk around with their heads in the clouds thinking that all is well in River City. In my view, our nation is vulnerable at several levels. I hope that our government is thinking about that right now, in addition to all the challenges that are associated with hurricane Katrina — but I also hope that John Q. Public starts thinking about it . . . and plan accordingly.

Cross Post: Social Sense

13 Comments:

At 9/01/2005 11:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hurricane Katrina, 9/11, and the great black-outs of previous decades have shown with frightening clarity just how vulnerable our society is without electricity or fuel. Without these energy sources , communication breaks down, chaos even anarchy ensues. The fact that each of these events took place during warm weather months should not be overlooked. A tragedy of this scale during the colder months is simply unimaginable!

As AOW stated above, we each have to be accountable for our own safety. Learn from this disaster. Plan ahead.

May I recommend a book that discusses how to plan . . .

Juval Aviv's . . ."Staying Safe" by Harper Resource
The complete guide to protecting yourself, your famiy and your business
ISBN# 0-06-073520-1

Juval Aviv is a former Israeli Counterterrorism Intelligence Officer who offers advise on :
* Securing your business
* Basic safety precautions
* Survival and escape strategies
* Becoming security minded
* and much more.

I join all who pray for the unfortunate souls waiting for rescue/relief in such an extremely dire situation.

Yet, none of us can complacently sit back and expect the government to save everyone during a catastrophe.


Rather than criticize the rescue/relief effort . . .expend the negative energy with much needed support . . .be it monetary, professional/technical services and/or goods.

Then, each of us should begin a serious examinination of the task we may each face when accepting personal responsiblity for next catastrophic event.

May God bless America

 
At 9/02/2005 7:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Katrina was the 100 year storm. Chances of anyone alive today seeing New Orleans devastated again by hurricane are 1 in 1,000.

The real "problem" with the disaster on the Gulf Coast is that the current "victims" that make up the majority of the evening news visuals were not self-reliant. They were "other dependent". Some are legitimately so, the elderly, unwed mothers, widows. But thousands of them are simply "government dependent". They're the ones that scream "Help us!" as the reporters drive by. They're also the ones rummaging through the wreckage, looting as they go.

Now, when a ship at sea gets abandoned, whoever is willing to salvage her is entitled to her cargo. And so, I can't say as I blame the looters for thinking they can't just walk around picking up and taking home anything they find laying in the streets.

But here's the REAL problem. The government ordered the evacuation. They gave people the expectation that their property, if not destroyed, would be made reasonably secure. And THAT was a lie. And THAT is our mistake as citizens. To put our faith in "the government". To depend upon "the government" to act, when we should act on our own behalves. For it is also "the government" that is responsible for creating the "dependent" in the Superdome. They have created citizens incapable of "helping themselves". They are the "wards" of the "welfare state".

Now, I'm not saying that ordering the evacuation was not a prudent measure, especially since the cities governors worst fears WERE realized. But what I am saying is that today many citizens of this country are no longer capable of caring for themselves, not because they are incapable of doing so, but because the government has made it "unprofitable" to be so, and has also set up artificial jurisdictional barriers that prevent citizens from directly helping one another. From organizing on an ad hoc basis during a disaster, to help put out fires, rescue others, provide first aid, watch and repair the levies, etc.

When the government ordered the evacuation, most of the capable and independent citizens left. The majority of those who remain have perhaps learned a valuable lesson. You can't always depend upon "the government" to care of you. You have to learn to be able to take care of yourself. If your wet and miserable, but completely "able bodied" and NOT supporting your dependent loved ones to the full extent to which you are capable, then you DESERVE your fate.

I can only imagine what would have happened, had this happened in other times. The able bodied men and women in the Superdome would have been immediately organized and put to work rescuing people, preventing looting, sandbagging the low lying areas, etc. That doesn't happen today. And THAT is what we've got to fix.

-FJ

 
At 9/02/2005 9:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rousseau, "Emile"

"1719:] "Dear Emile, I am very glad to hear you speak like a man, and to see the feelings of your heart. At your age this exaggerated unselfishness is not unpleasing. It will decrease when you have children of your own, and then you will be just what a good father and a wise man ought to be. I knew what the result would be before our travels; I knew that when you saw our institutions you would be far from reposing a confidence in them which they do not deserve. It is in vain that we seek freedom under the safeguard of the laws. Laws! Where is there any law? Where is there any respect for law? Under the name of law you have everywhere seen the rule of self-interest and human passion. But the eternal laws of nature and of order exist. For the wise man they take the place of positive law; they are written in the depths of his heart by conscience and reason. Let him obey these laws and be free; only those who do wrong are slaves, for they always do wrong against their will. Liberty is not to be found in any form of government. It is in the heart of the free man; he carries it with him everywhere. The evil man carries his servitude in himself. The latter would be a slave in Geneva, the former a free man in Paris.?

-FJ

New Orleans Superdome residents... slaves in Geneva, or free men in Paris?

 
At 9/02/2005 10:05 AM, Anonymous Mustang said...

Anon has made an astute observation; it does not take very long for an “ordered society” to revert to what one of my friends calls the “Mad Max” syndrome. It is difficult to imagine that our frontiersmen of an earlier era found themselves in difficult situations and demanded government help. I agree with those who argue that the City of New Orleans, surrounding parishes, and the state were ill-prepared for Katrina; engineers have warned for a long time now that the levees were in need of upgrades. Some of the problems were preventable, to a degree — but others were not. The “order” to evacuate the city was not enforced, and the decision to use the Astrodome as a shelter was simply stupid — we are fortunate that the place didn’t simply collapse on those several thousands of people. Rather than controlling the masses within the stadium, they were allowed to do what they wanted to do, which when you consider that people were allowed to defecate on the floors and in bathroom sinks, is not only disgusting, but just asking for health problems.

While New Orleans is culturally unique, this type of problem can happen in any large metropolitan area. After so many years of the welfare mentality, people have seemingly lost the ability to be self-reliant and personally accountable for their own safety and survival. It can happen again, under other than natural disasters, and shame of us if we don’t begin proactive measures now to prevent anarchy and helplessness.

 
At 9/02/2005 10:08 AM, Anonymous Mustang said...

FJ: I could not agree with you more. You are “point on” in your observation and analysis. Thank you for your insight.

 
At 9/02/2005 11:38 AM, Blogger Gindy said...

"But all of this leads me to the point of this post — and that is a realization of how vulnerable Americans are to catastrophic events, natural or otherwise."

That's a fact. It shows how unprepared we are for real distaters manmade or natural.

 
At 9/02/2005 1:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

mustang,

I wish I could take all the credit. I was inspired by you and by the Anon who posted above me, MGbA.

-FJ

 
At 9/02/2005 3:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

On Saturday, Sept 24th of this year,

RightMarch, Protest Warrior, Move America Forward,Free Republic will be Counter Protesting the left in our Nations Capitol. Answer Internatioal and ACLU lawyers will be at the event.
We would love for youre group to join, as we a send a message to the left..
That they no longer own the street!!!

The media is already reporting about it
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/09/01/AR2005090101528.html

http://www.defendthewhitehouse.org/

 
At 9/03/2005 1:26 PM, Blogger John said...

I don't think they realize how loony they sound. I really don't.

 
At 9/03/2005 1:51 PM, Blogger Shah Alexander said...

The nature in America is much more wild and dynamic than that in Europe. This hurricane is dreadful.

But I am surprised to hear about looting in the area. Has it ever happened in a case like this? I wonder what goes wrong.

 
At 9/03/2005 7:48 PM, Blogger beakerkin said...

The far left doesn't live in reality. They think that one can twitch their nose and supplies arrive. I have volunteered to go as 1000 of my coworkers are being drafted by FEMA.

As usual a far left idiot thinks I am going there to shoot looters. 167 is comparing Bush to Hitler and the American leftists are applauding.

 
At 9/04/2005 12:00 AM, Anonymous Mustang said...

Shah: I think it would be fair to compare New Orleans to New York, and then make the conclusion that you did not see "looting" in the Big Apple. Remember, I make a distinction between looting for food and water (survival skills) and looting for televisions and jewelry. In my view, the difference in the way citizens of these two cities reacted is directly attributed to the differences in mayorial leadership. The Mayor of New Orleans was given a test, and he failed it miserably. He should be remembered with scorn.

It is also important to point out that while some people acted badly, we cannot and should not accuse everyone of bad behavior. Some police officers engaged in looting, but that should not be an indictment of all police officers.

The point of this post was to show how quickly an ordered society can come apart; and also, to encourage people to start planning for such disasters, natural or not, so that such chaos can be prevented in the future. People must relearn self-reliance and the ability to take care of their families without governmental assistance.

 
At 9/04/2005 12:11 AM, Anonymous Mustang said...

Beak man, I must confess that I am sick of hearing the usual demagogues accuse Mr. Bush of racism. I don't see many members of the Congressional Black Caucus providing leadership in the African American community. They are agents of racial division, and in my view, such conduct is inexcusable and un-American. For the sake of clarity only, let me say that the mayor of New Orleans is an African American — what did he do for the people (black or white) who depended upon him for leadership?

In the Marines, we have a saying that if you are not a part of the solution, then you are part of the problem. This is exactly the situation among too many of our African American leaders today. They are the problem, and they are doing nothing substantial to change that cycle of poverty that is so prevalent within the African-American sector.

How many of Jesse Jackson’s personal millions has he given to help relieve the suffering of African American storm refugees? Until he reveals this information, I think that both he and Al Sharpton should just shut the hell up.

Mustang out

 

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