Thursday, September 01, 2005

How Safe is Your Home

Natural disasters happen. I don't live in a flood plane, and certainly not six feet below sea level. This hurricane is not the President's fault. True. But how comfortable are you with the slow and understaffed response to a disaster that was foreseen, forewarned and "prepared" for? The loss of life due to the hurricane, the murders, the rapes, the starvation and dehydration conditions in New Orleans and Mississippi are horrifying--perhaps as bad as America has ever seen. Reporters quote Bush as saying that the only scenario as bad or worse than what has gone on in New Orleans this week would be the detonation of a nuclear bomb. Precisely, Mr. President. Homeland security has just been put to the most awful and practical of tests and it has not measured up. As evacuated people die by the hundreds, and refugees struggle to survive in an increasingly toxic and criminalistic environment, none of us, not even in a hardened post-9/11 New York City--maybe especially in NYC--can help but ask ourselves what would happen if a disaster of this magnitude were to strike us where we live. It's become obvious that our nation is no better prepared to respond to a large-scale tragedy than it was four years ago. Considering the lack of National Guardsmen and Army Reserves in New Orleans, many of whom are stationed in Iraq, it might just be worse.

A lot of things about living in New York make me nervous--the morning commute, the muggings, the rent--but the profusion of nuclear power plants on the eastern seaboard makes me downright scared. The fact that I will, next week, buy potassium iodide pills and make myself an innocuously-named "Go Bag" to prepare for the possibility of a nuclear terrorist attack, sounds crazy, even to my ears. But I'm going to do it. As we continue to witness the depths of human misery and anarchy in New Orleans, it is impossible to sustain the pretense that our government has the ways and means to protect and care for us in the event of future disasters.


Blogger The Count Del Monte said...

Susan, how do you do? How do you do? Well well well, glad to see you are still writing. I am now "across the pond," as they say, and would love to be blessed by a visitor. Could that visitor be you? Me hopes so! Late at the moment; just browsing the ziggurt that is Al Gore's greatest achievement and wookin' pa' nub in aw da wong paces. That Eddie Murphy, sheesh, what a sad result, eh? Um. Umumumum. So. Sup witchu? Have to keep reminding myself that this is a comment, not a conversation. Still a bit awkward, though, innit? Feels that way from my end. I just get no feedback. A ny way . . . Hope all is well with you in NYC. Don't despair; Supercalifragalisticexpialidocious. Puts a smile on my face every time, cause'n I know the leader of the "free world" can't say it without biting his tounge in half. Tee hee, tee hee. Cheers love,

4:06 PM  
Blogger Screwsan said...

Ryan! There you are. I'm hunting you down, Count, and also looking for cheap tickets to London. I trust you have cute roommates...

1:05 AM  
Blogger Boze said...

I feel compelled to point out that all those horror stories about rapes and murders and mass lawlessness and deaths were, in fact, baseless and wrong. It has since been discovered, and QUIETLY reported, that those stories were hysterical rumours passed off to a news media which failed to verify and reported the rumours as fact. Indeed it has turned out that even the shocking pronouncement of "10,000 dead" was vastly overstated, basically the exaggeration of an emotionally devastated mayor reported as an actual estimate.
While you may find many reasons to criticize the President, and indeed reasons to criticize the rather poor emergency response of the government at all levels from local up to national level, it seems highly unlikely to me that ANY administration of any political stripe would have handled things much differently, especially in terms of preparation. Humans are stupid, and we never prepare for the next disaster. We only prepare for the previous one.

6:08 AM  
Blogger Screwsan said...

Boze, while I do agree with you that we prepare for previous disasters, and that the reports of rape and murder were apparently exaggerated (my post was written before this was reported in the media), it stands that the director of FEMA was vastly and underqualified for his job, which happens to be a pretty important one. He messed it up so badly in N.O. that they called in Clinton's appointee, former FEMA head James Witt to help out. That does not make me a confident New Yorker.

And while I'm glad that the rapes and murders weren't as widespread as we were told they were during that awful week, after Katrina there was lawlessness and chaos unlike the modern U.S. has ever seen. Cops were involved in looting, 250 are being investigated for leaving their posts after the hurricane hit. Citizens were looting, were scared for their lives, were dying in front of our eyes. Two friends of mine, doctors, were stuck on the roof of Charity hospital on order to evacuate, under gunfire, while hundreds of patients died in front of their eyes because they were unable to treat them due to lack of the water, food, electricity, and medicine that they were told was coming, was coming, was coming...and never came.

And while it also may or may not be true that no administration would have been able to deal with this crisis, this administration was the one in charge, and they failed to respond promptly and resolutely, which makes them worthy of criticism in my eyes.

I'd like to believe that I'm being paranoid, but when even Time Magazine publishes a feature article that opens with a scenario wherein a nuclear power plant in the tri-state area is hijacked by terrorists (quite easily, I might add...thanks Time), it's difficult to feel that my neuroses are so unreasonable. Everyone should be prepared for the worst case scenario because, more and more, the worst case scenario is becoming the likely scenario. I need only point to Bush's slow and (from the accounts I've read) underprepared response to the avian flu threat.

What do they say? Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

12:09 AM  
Blogger Screwsan said...

p.s.--hi Trouble. Aptly named ;)

12:14 AM  

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