9.01.2005

"Oh Katrina"


..would be a good name for a blues song.

I'm certainly not trying to pass judgement on people trapped in New Orleans, but I can't figure out why any able-bodied person doesn't just hoof it north away from all this.

They had a reporter being interviewed on NPR who was saying there are 2,000 people trapped in the convention center, about 8 blocks away from the Superdome. The authorities told them to go to the convention center, which they did, and they have been there for three days without food and water. There is no authority there, two dead bodies were laying outside and a 10-year old girl was supposedly raped last night. These people say they have seen military and police vehicles pass by but none have stopped.

Out of these 2,000 people, there aren't 10 guys who can take it upon themselves to band together and at least try to keep the place in order? There isn't at least one person who tries to move the two bodies to a more secluded and sanitary place? There isn't anyone who decides that maybe they can just follow the vehicles that they see passing and maybe get to some type of aid?

It's just so hard to understand, but I am not there. Perhaps if I were, I would behave the exact same way. But here in the safety and security of my home, I can't help but think that I would have started walking/swimming Monday and would have been well out of there by now.

But I think the thing that bothers me the most about the response to this hurricane is that after September 11 we've spent billions of dollars working on how to deal with a situation like this. Security, aid and evacuation are the very essence of the response to a terrorist attack, FEMA even ran an exercise on hurricane response in New Orleans just last year, and we still have people wasting away that have been sitting on roofs for three days dying of thirst.

We are doing a lot to help them, for sure, and I hope that many are saved, but why does a few feet of water bring our ability to respond to an emergency to a slow crawl?

But that is just me, thinking how I would deal with a situation that I am, thankfully, not in the middle of. The only effects I am feeling is gas prices and the likelihood that this area will run out of fuel tonight and have no more until Saturday.

I can't help but wonder what this disaster will do to our oil supply. The Bush administration is saying that they "are viewing it as a temporary disruption." I don't want to know how they "view it", I want to know if it's temporary or not.

It seems so odd that we have had so many problems with oil over the past few years. Obviously, the hurricane is to blame for our current troubles, but the people in this administration have a long history in the oil industry. One would expect them to be great at understanding the potential problems of the industry and coming up with intelligent solutions and great plans in both the short and long term.

They do have a plan, of course. A plan that was hatched with the assistance of Ken Lay and other figures who are now facing a long prison term. This is the plan that the administration has spent years fighting to keep secret.

I want to see it. Not because I particularily care about Cheney, Enron or anyone else. I just want to know see that there really is a plan.



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