Picking Up The Pieces2005-09-08 21:10:08
I know I'm in the vast, unheard minority on this, but I don't think the Katrina disaster relief effort has been bungled anywhere near as badly as the media would have us believe. Could it have been handled better? Oh sure, probably, and I strongly suspect that FEMA & friends will come out of this stronger and better prepared for any future such occurrences it has to deal with.
But while everyone's screaming and blaming and pointing fingers, I have serious problems picturing something like Katrina happening and there not being a huge clusterfuck forming around it. It's the nature of these things to be fucked up: miscommunication, waste, accidents, and plans gone awry. That's why it's a disaster. But this is America, and
- We aren't used to big disasters and don't know what to expect, and
- We have this 'entitlement attitude' where we expect the government to step in and fix everything, chop-chop!
On a related note: as much as I hate all things Bush-ian, Barbara Bush -- as she expressed in her own clod-footed manner -- may actually be right: given that most of the people who were 'left behind' were members of the 38% poverty bracket that was the New Orleans economy, I suspect a lot of folks are going to come out of this flush, with nice jobs and better accomodations. This is not a bad thing. Just peculiar that the only way to save a city from poverty was to flood it.
The following is based on an email I sent to a friend this morning; the topic is something I've wanted to address here for awhile but never gotten around to actually writing down until now:
No, I don't think we're living in the "End Times" (although I hear that's what the White House thinks, which is scary). But -- by and large, human beings do fairly well getting by on inductive logic, ie, it worked okay last year, and it worked okay last month, and it worked okay last week, and it worked okay yesterday -- so it'll be okay tomorrow, too. And a lot of times this holds true and people get this warm secure feeling and everything is a-okay. But then on occasion you get something like Katrina comes along and those flood control walls that worked so well for so long decided to, well, not work so well . . .
And . . . not to sound overly paranoid, but this hurricane shit -- we can probably get ready to experience a lot more of it. This "global warming" stuff you hear about, that people are debating whether it even exists or not? From what I've been able to figure out so far,
- It's real -- I mean, think about it, the industrialization of our society isn't slowing down any, and all of that waste heat has to go somewhere -- and
- Weather scientists worldwide generally agree that when temperatures go up, that's what *creates* a fucking hurricane in the first place.
PS: yes, I know that's not actually a picture of Katrina at the top -- for as big a news item as it's been, good pictures of Katrina are currently in surprisingly short supply.