Wednesday, August 31, 2005


Before anything else, I want to say that, sincerely, my heart goes out to everyone who has suffered some loss due to the hurricane. You guys are in for some trying times, however, I have faith in the rest of America and I know we will take care of you.

Having said that and setting aside all jokes about Katrina being an ex-girlfriend of a buddy and all, there are several things about the current situation in the regions struck by Katrina and our response to the disaster that have me very angry.

First, there was a mandatory evacuation order in effect for New Orleans. This being the case and since the city is so far under sea-level and at the mercy of the Gulf and Lake Pontchartrain, don’t you think the city and parish officials should have had a plan in place to get EVERYONE out of the city. I know some people insisted on staying, and I am of two minds about them, but I am talking about people who wanted to leave but couldn’t for whatever reason. One of the first pictures I saw of the aftermath was of a bus barn with the buses scattered about like so many pickup sticks. Why didn’t the government take the buses, load them full of some of the 23,000 people now trapped in the Superdome, and transport them out of harms way? Why didn’t the government have a coherent plan to be able to evacuate the city?

Secondly, now that the storm has come and gone, we are rushing to get supplies in to the affected areas and get people out of the affected areas. Why isn’t there a more cohesive plan for doing this? I keep seeing pictures of Navy ships being loaded with supplies in Virginia with the promise of them being on station in the Gulf by the weekend. Why wasn’t this process started when Katrina hit the Gulf and spun up to a category 5 storm? This really baffles me when I stop to consider that before Katrina hit we were wondering whether New Orleans was even going to be there after the storm. The hit we took was not as bad as it could have been and yet we are only just now loading emergency supplies into ships to get them there. This all seems a bit too late to me.

What if this had been a terrorist strike? The Gulf coast suffers hurricanes on a regular basis. They are a fact of life, even if the level of havoc they wreak upon us can be very variable, so this is something that we were at least a little prepared for. What if terrorists had bombed the levees holding back the river and the lake? What if they had released some sort of biological agent into the city after striking at the three bridges that allow access to the city? I think this disaster and our response to it should to serve as a wake-up call to America. We need better emergency planning across the board, from a personal level to a national governmental level, and perhaps even in close coordination with our neighbors to the north and south.

And don’t even get me started on how the hurricane has, and will, affect gas prices.

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