Government Preparedness and Response

By | September 6, 2005

“This is now the focus of this administration.” declared the president today during a press conference on hurricane Katrina and natural disasters in general. “We will root out all of these evils—hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis, floods, avalanches, tornadoes—we must not allow them to cause devastation unhindered. We will fight this war on natural disaster, and we will not stop nor back down until we have succeeded. It is this country’s obvious duty to ensure every person in the world is safe and secure, because all have a right to live life without the fear of being exposed to any harm or calamity.”

(Note: the previous selection is entirely fictional. If you happened to believe it, you are officially gullible.)

Seriously though, it irks me how people are so short sighted. Yes, 9/11 was a tragedy, but did we respond correctly? Suddenly terrorism is the biggest threat and we go crazy doing all sorts of things supposedly to prevent further threats. That probably hasn’t helped any, and very well may have had the opposite effect. One thing is certain, we’ve made traveling, among other things, much more of a hassle.

Meanwhile, we neglect many other things, simply because they haven’t become a big problem yet. Hurricanes are no surprise, they happen every year. And what happened in New Orleans had been predicted if that magnitude hurricane hit land there. The combined destruction along the gulf coast and Florida is certainly worse than any terrorist attack, at least any seen to date. No, we can’t prevent a hurricane nor change it’s course. It does seem however that we could be a hell of a lot better prepared to deal with one. It shouldn’t be a big secret that not everyone has a means of transportation and somewhere to go in case of evacuation. Yes, there is relatively short notice, but wouldn’t it have been better to bus people out before the hurricane hit, rather than trying to rescue them by boat and helicopter, and in too many cases pulling the bodies out afterwards? I believe most all domestic governments of significant size have some sort of emergency planning, and a hurricane is no secret. So what happened? Why has the handling of this disaster been so disorganized?

So I imagine there will be a lot of pressure to make sure there is a response, in case of the next time this happens, which is good. But can’t we better prepare for things preemptively?

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