The More I Watch, The More Unhappy I Am

Hurricane Katrina ceased being a weather story days ago. I now watch as an interested bystander. I am very unhappy with what I see.

If FEMA or any other part of Homeland Security has had an impact on those people in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, I haven’t seen it. Again, this storm wasn’t a surprise. I told people here in Connecticut how bad I thought it would be… but I wasn’t alone.

Reading the pre-Katrina statements from the Weather Service’s New Orleans office, there was no doubt this was being portrayed as a killer… a once in a lifetime type event. The Hurricane Center was saying the same thing.

Where was FEMA?

Where was Homeland Security?

Where are they today?

How can we allow our fellow citizens to suffer, as these people are certainly suffering? Where is the humanity that symbolizes America? These poor citizens deserve comfort.

New Orleans is a city filled with poor, black people. I would be easy to think this was racist or classist treatment. I don’t think so. I think this is a case of inept agencies. They would have poorly served any group so affected, regardless of station in life.

It looks like there are still people dying from this storm. How disgusting is that?

From the New Orleans Times-Picayune:

3 thoughts on “The More I Watch, The More Unhappy I Am”

  1. Geoff-

    I’m furious, too. I’m also incredibly depressed that all of this can happen in this country.

    Let’s not leave out some of the local officials for blame and institutional denial. I can think of other public officials (in both parties) who would have handled this much differently.

    Love him, hate him, combination (I don’t intend this to be partisan, I don’t endorse or condemn him at large in this forum)- the one thing Rudy Giuliani did was repeatedly drill for disaster. This helped him coordinate on 9/11 and keep us New Yorkers from completely panicking. Rudy made his share of mistakes- and subsequent reports by McKinsey and the 9/11 commission outlined deficiencies in communication. But the drills helped.

    Did FEMA and the N.O. Mayor (and past mayors) drill the citizens of what was one of my favorite cities in the world- a beautiful, unique, diverse city about what to do during a hurricane?

    I’m a CT ex-pat living in NYC, and my wife and I have had a go-bag since the Millenium. (We lived near Times Square…) We also have contingent plans on where to meet should something bad happen. But we might not have thought about it had it not been suggested.

    I share your disgust and I hope that we can learn something from this when this settles. But at this horrific cost?

    I’m already nauseous about the next commission and the useless fingerpointing.

    I should mention that I am deeply upset that a friend of mine lost a beautiful house in Pass Christian, but that she is safe and here in New York. It must be devastating to lose everything you have- but she will survive and she is safe.

    I feel most for the poor and the elderly- the helpless. I feel anger about the civil unrest- I don’t get the premise of shooting at hospital medevac helicopter.

    On another note, I commented to my wife after the levees went that the national media’s running death toll was ridiculous and should not have been offered except in vague horrific terms. Geoff, did you have the feeling, as I do now, that the direct and indirect effects of this disaster could be 5-10,000 deaths? If the media had been blunt about what they didn’t know, but that they knew the horror- could aid have been sped up, even from private donations?

    Even the insurance knowledge in me knew that the initial estimates of $9-16 billion in damage were based on assumptions wildly different from what I could see on Nightline. (And they will go up and up.) They also don’t include the uninsured or measure the less calculable damage to the poor.

    I think Anderson Cooper is an honest guy. He went to the same college as I did and he was quite obliging when I struck up a conversation with him at a Starbucks. But guys like Cooper shouldn’t be standing in the wind, as you have pointed out- I mean- so what? Cooper should have been in New York doing any number of things as a national journalist. There are so many angles to this story that remain undercovered- I don’t think people understand the gasoline problem and its severity. (Oh, they will.) The fact that many poor did not leave. The fact that one network said, “The Superdome is a secure facility designed to withstand winds of 135 mph” and then in the next breath said, “Good news, the hurricane has weakened to 165 mph top winds.”

    Sorry for the rant. This is your blog, not mine, but thanks for letting me vent. Curious to hear if you have reactions / share / disagree with my thoughts.

  2. What has happened, and is still happening, in New Orleans is a stunning and absolute failure of government, on both the state and federal levels. The Department of Homeland Security now has zero credibility regarding its ability to plan and protect in cases of mass disaster, whether caused by nature or terrorists. It is a chilling thought, and it will have terrible consequences in the future. This is perhaps the darkest days for the American government since the Civil War.

  3. Maybe a purge of the self-serving hacks in Congress would be a good starting place for the rebirth of a better society?

    And did I read the story correctly? Bush turned DOWN certain foreign aid to help us? In keeping with Geoff’s non-partisan blog, I’ll just ask the question. Maybe the story was poorly written or maybe I just stared in disbelief and missed something.

    A Canadian friend says that the US used to be the good guys who stood for what’s right. No longer. We are tarnished inside and out.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *