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  The Chatter Box : Blathering On
Messages 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11-15 

International Aid. Re: Katrina by canaveralgumby on 3 September 2005 6:42am
What I am about to write makes me sound unsympathetic, maybe even mean. I am sorry. I don't mean to be. And it's long. CanaveralGumby LONG. Sorry.

I live on a barrier island. There is not one, but TWO rivers that separate us from the mainland. There are some parts of Cape Canaveral / Cocoa Beach that are mere city blocks wide - drive on the main road, look to your right and there's the mile-wide river, look to your left and there's the Atlantic Ocean.

Despite how it seems to the rest of the world, we really don't get hit by hurricanes every other week! But when one is near, we get days, if not a week of warning to GET THE F OUT.

As the MANDATORY evacuation deadline draws near, police (in our case the Sherriff's Dept.), the Fire Dept., and the EMT services in their ambulances drive up and down every single street, repeatedly, for 2-3 days, with bullhorns, going veritably door to door, JUST IN CASE there are any people who have been hibernating and haven't seen a tv or heard a radio for the past week.

Everyone is informed ad nauseum, for days if not a whole week, of where the shelters will be. How the mass transit system, school buses and ambulatory services will be running to get those without money or transportation to the free shelters.

If, in the WORST case scenario, you are indigent to the point where you have nothing but the clothes on your back and don't even have any ID on you, you have anywhere from 4-7 days to walk into City Hall, any library, any hospital, the Salvation Army / Good Will / any homeless outreach, any house of worship, the police dept. or any firehouse and announce "I need help, I have nowhere to go."

When a storm is coming, all anyone is doing, in all of these places, is marshalling to help people evacuate, 24-7, for days before the storm. It's evacuation, emergency mode. You'd be surprised by how suddenly the usual street crime just stops!...

If you are on public assistance - the welfare dole in the US is called AFDC Aid to Families with Dependent Children - or you collect disability or Social Security, then you have a case worker, an extremely underpaid and overworked gov't employee. All city, state and federal case workers are compelled, nay, ordered to stay in the area and stay at work, providing info and any services necessary for the poor, indigent, elderly and medically infirm, until the LAST POSSIBLE MINUTE. This is often to the detriment of the case workers' OWN families and evacuation efforts.

POOR PEOPLE ON THE DOLE ARE VERY WELL AWARE OF THE SYSTEM, and how to contact the gov't / welfare agencies / places of worship in order to ask for assistance. I am not a bigot for saying that. It is a fact. I am not a bigot, period.

It is an INSULT to thousands, no, tens of thousands of people who dedicate their lives, whose profession it is, 40-60 hrs./wk., to serve the poor, indigent, elderly and medically needy, to say, in contradiction to all fact, that poor people had no place to go and no means to get out.

There are those on the "right," conservatives, who spend all their days arguing that social services for the poor, indigent etc. should be abolished. I'm absolutely not one of those people. But the FACT is, however anybody may feel about it, INNUMERABLE SERVICES ARE IN PLACE, ARE available, and WERE available, and service people were working their asses off to help the people in question evacuate and be safe and provided for.

What I saw on the news for days before Katrina hit, as well as what I see among my OWN neighbors here on the Florida Atlantic coast, EVERY TIME, is the following:
"Well, my grandparents survived Storm A in this house in the 30's and my parents rode out Storm B in this house, and I've been through Storms C, D and E in this house, and nothing ever happened."


It's part of life that we might have to evacuate for a certain weather occurance. It's not that hard a concept to grasp. It's part of life where tornadoes are frequent that you have a storm cellar. It's part of life in the cold climes that you have some food stocked up in case there's a blizzard. If you live in a volcano region, in an earthquake region, a flood / mudslide region... Hell, everybody lives SOMEWHERE! If you go about your life holding on white-knuckled to the ignorance and arrogance that "AH, nothing's gonna happen to me," then how many people are supposed to spend how much time and effort trying to bail your stubborn immature ass out?

If authorities had used force, and bodily removed everyone who didn't want to leave, we'd be having a heated discussion about civil rights and Big Brother right now. I mean, after a while, you have to let people experience the consequenses of their decisions. Any parents reading this know where I'm coming from. It hurts, but you can't make peoples' every decision for them. Thousands of citizens didn't feel like going through the stress and inconvenience and discomfort of evacuating. Thousands more didn't have their priorities straight regarding the value of their property vs. the value of their life and limb. Thousands more, despite having the information shoved down their throats for a week, just didn't want to believe it. What are you going to do?

At this point in my rant, may I iterate that NO, NOBODY deserves to die as a result. That's NOT NOT NOT NOT what people like me are saying, for the love of God!

I want to know that the resources which we're all donating - time, money, blood, whatever - go to save lives, yes, but also mainly go to the people who evacuated, who are now going through the hell of being refugees. Who were civic-minded and selfless enough, through all this horror, to NOT CONTRIBUTE to the problem further, and listened.
International Aid. Re: Katrina by perfectbitch on 3 September 2005 11:30am
While I understand your anger that many of the stranded did not listen and almost deserve to be abandoned. The stupidity of some humans and the "scroungers" who abuse welfare is beyond belief. However, you don't mention all the hospital patients, elderly and infirm who were physically unable to move. On TV, I see hospital staff pleading for medicines and basic sanitary devices to avoid the scenes of porta potties overflowing with excretia in corridors. Some of those stranded may just be mentally incapable of making the right decision. I am surprised to see so little compassion for the unfortunate. It doesn't seem to be Christian to be so jugemental of those who are inadequate.
International Aid. Re: Katrina by George on 3 September 2005 6:05pm
Even before the hurricane hit, the hospital system here, which is the largest in the world, began mobilising all of its non-essential goods to ship to Louisiana. I didn't see the TV report, but any shortages would have been a transportation problem and not a lack of compassion. Perhaps there are a few people who view the disaster as a sort of Darwinian method of eliminating the poorest in our society, but they are certainly not the decision makers.

I suppose almost every family have elderly people who would absolutely refuse to be evacuated. I know I do. This sort of reminds me of the Mount St. Helens eruption in 1980. A man named Harry Truman said he'd rather die buried under the lava and ash than leave his home. Well, he did.

What do you do with the sick and elderly? Force them to leave?

International Aid. Re: Katrina by pandab on 3 September 2005 8:05pm
Yes, George, you do. I know it seems cruel to uproot someone after a long lifetime in their home, but if it will save their life or the life of someone who might have to attempt rescuing them, then they should be forced to evacuate.

To me, the only acceptable exceptions are those too ill to be moved, such as ICU patients. Even then, I believe serious consideration should be given to trying to move them to safer hospitals.

Again, I know I sound cold and cruel, but this is how I strongly feel. If you have been given MANDATORY evacuation orders and choose of your own free will to stay anyway, you have ABSOLUTELY NO RIGHT to demand assistance when your poor decision leads to your destitution.
International Aid. Re: Katrina by canaveralgumby on 3 September 2005 8:12pm
1) Once again, there is NOT a lack of compassion for the victims. There is a "using-up" of compassion, a depletion of patience over the people who chose, who DECIDED, to be ignorant and stay, The entire world around them marshalled get them evacuated, but they CHOSE to stay. Now this minority of people who would not listen, who would not accept all the help offered to them for a week, who thumbed their noses at the FACTS they were given, are getting all the attention.

My heart is ACHING for the rest, the vast majority, who are now living in a diaspora spread over 4-5 states, in a purgatory of not knowing what will become of their lives. Not the ignoramuses who stayed, shotguns in hand, to protect their house from looting because THAT was the most important thing to them, or those who stayed to loot.

I want to see everyone rescued. First and foremost the hospital patients and workers, the ANGELS who stayed to take care of the patients. I want to see every child who got stuck in that hell because of the incompetance of their parents, rescued. And I'm praying very hard for everybody. I believe that staying and keeping your family in a soon-to-be disaster zone after being told to evacuate should be grounds for Children & Family Services to take your kids away from you.

What other good reasons are there for anyone to need rescuing from this Ground Zero? Unlike the WTC/Pentagon, unlike the Tsunami, there was A LOT OF WARNING.

I have sympathy, I have EMPATHY, for all those displaced. When Hurricane Frances was coming our way last year, I literally said good-bye to my house, the walls, the paint I put up, the furniture I saved so hard buy, the grounds outside, and my street as I drove away. We had no reason to think any of it would be here when we got back. BTW the eye of the hurricane hit about 40 mi. south, and we have cousins in Vero Beach whose house was destroyed. They weren't in it when it happened, thank GOD, or thank my family for using the brains they have in their heads.

I shook my head and clucked my tongue at my neighbors who broke out the beer and stayed. And they looked at me like I was so naive. It felt just like high school! The cool kids, laughing at me, the nerd. And because Frances didn't hit here, that will only bolster their incorrect belief that no future events will hit here.

2) Shall we talk about what's Christian? The George W. Bush Administration is now in their SECOND term because of the hard work of the Holier-Than-Thou bible thumping Evangelical "We wear our Piousness on our sleeves" Christians in this country. Bush and everyone surrounding him campaigned on a platform of kissing the asses of this subculture. No doubt there is a similar subculture in your countries... So here he is, Mr. "I found Jesus." Great good job he's done so far.

Like I haven't emphasized enough, THERE WAS FAIR WARNING OF THIS EVENT. Not just last week. For DECADES, meteorologists and geologists have been telling everyone that New Orleans will effectively be under the Gulf of Mexico when (not if) an Atlantic storm hits them. In the US, you can't escape the documentary programs they roll out every summer, about Doomsday for New Orleans. It's common knowledge.

So why wasn't our good Commander in Chief appointing a General to be in charge and ordering military personel and equipment to be ready to go, BEFORE the storm ever hit? And why didn't he do it THAT DAY? You know, when an entire city goes incommunicado for 2 days, it's safe to assume that it's bad and they need help NOW. You don't have to wait until someone manages to call the White House to tell you.

All the charity you and I and every citizen gives cannot get through until the rescue efforts that only the military (Army Corps of Engineers, Coast Guard, et al), and Haliburton, can provide. It took about 4 days after the storm's passing for the good Christian "compassionate" leaders of our country to BEGIN the process. Maybe it is THEY who subscribe to Social Darwinism...

You want to talk about conspiracy theory? (Probably not.) Look what this did to the price of gas. Um, I forget, how do the Bush family and the rest of the people in the White House make their fortunes again? Hmm. Maybe they don't want to repair everything so quickly.

The REAL Christians in the world, and those non-Christians like myself who are (whether you can believe this or not) humanitarian and connected to the human race, are appalled. This is really not relevent, but I have memory of Bill Clinton, having been in office for just a few months, at the banks of a flooding Mississippi River, in a flannel shirt and jeans, filling sand-bags in a human chain. Later that day, he spent HOURS in a Red Cross shelter, and people of all colors and walks of life, old men, people were just breaking down crying in his arms. President Clinton spent days in the zone, on the ground.

But the Christians needed to get immoral Bill Clinton and his cronies out of Washington, didn't they? SO the Bush 1 and Bush 2 Admins. rape and pillage the planet, the world is going to hell, and people overseas assume that I and all my fellow countrymen are just like that. I hope the Christians in this country are happy at all they've accomplished.

3) This is a free country. No, you can't force people to evacuate if they don't want to. But with that comes taking responsibility for the excercise of your free will, and for making the decisions you make. I don't understand how anybody can make the pat, black & white statement "these poor people these victims."

This IS an industrialized nation, a "first-world" country if you will, and the situation is 180 DEGREES OPPOSITE of "The poor were abandoned and left behind, without a thought by the wealthy, and with no way to get out." THAT IS JUST INCORRECT. NOT BASED IN ANY FACT. WRONG. Not a matter of opinion or politics. It's just jumping to this very odd conclusion that is incorrect.
International Aid. Re: Katrina by perfectbitch on 3 September 2005 9:54pm
canaveralgumby, I am not a christian either and I apologise for:-

1. Assuming you were speaking from a religeous point of view.

2. Misunderstanding your opinions but it did seem that you felt no compassion for the infirm.

part of this misunderstanding is that the UK media are focusing on the failure of the emergency administration and not the selfless actions of some truly concientious US citizens.

I agree with all you've said about the political issues and i think we have both misunderstood each other. I was not accusing you of not being "christian" - I was being a little sarcastic about Bush but I didn't express it too well.

I can see why you're so angry with the idiots who refused to evacvuate and it will take some time for everyone's anger to subside. Probably as long as the water. Being such a distance from the tragedy, it is hard not to feel helpless and although I have made a small financial contribution, it seems an empty gesture.
International Aid. Re: Katrina by George on 3 September 2005 10:12pm
Well, I guess if "push came to shove" I would have dragged my poor old widowed aunt, Lillie, out of her house, fighting and scratching, if we were going to have a major storm here.

Canaveral, I agree with just about everything you've said, except your comments about GWBush and the Evangelicals. Embracing them on the abortion issue was all that mattered to them. They had been thirsting to support anyone who agrees with them on this. His father, an Episcopalian, was a little too timid for their taste. The Evangelicals couldn't vote for Clinton, so they just stayed home costing GHBush the election.

In one of his first campaign stops, Bush made a call at Bob Jones University, the spiritual headquarters of the Evangelicals and made his opinion crystal clear. But, as far as wearing your faith on your sleeve, Jimmy Carter still tops them all, IMO.

I think it's interesting how the Bush's have "rehabilitated" Clinton. Monica who?

The story about leaving your home while your neighbors drank beer, reminds me so much of something that happened during Hurricane Camille about 25 years ago. A group of about 30 had rented out a beachfront motel in Gulfport, MS, I believe, to have a "hurricane party". Well, the storm surge hit like a tidal wave and they were all killed instantly.

Frankly, I've been taught my whole life that Louisianans are a very independent lot. I wouldn't be at all surprised, if some of the local officials downplayed the initial damage to Washington, costing them prescious time, eventually making it necessary to bring in the National Guard "locked and loaded." In the end, there will be plenty of blame to go around.

Perfect, thank you for whatever help you've given.
If You Are Dumb Enough Not to Leave When You Can. Re: Katrina by tucsonmike on 4 September 2005 4:53am
If you can leave, and don't because you think it wont happen to you, then you are just being silly. The curator of the railroad museum said they lived in Nebraska and no one took the tornado warnings seriously. Hey, when the police go around on a mandatory evacuation and you refuse to go? They don't have time to drag you. Maybe they CAN make you sign an agreement saying you absolve them of rescuing you and you understand what you are getting yourself into. You play the game, you take your chances.

That's why I love our stupid motorists law. You understand the warnings of driving through a wash. You pay for your rescue. Just that simple.
If You Are Dumb Enough Not to Leave When You Can. Re: Katrina by pedro64 on 4 September 2005 7:30pm
Its still an absolute disgrace what planet is bush living on.As its now a a week and aid just getting thro to these poor souls.He should be ashamed he cant even organise relief and rescue services in his own backyard,The mind boggles
International Aid. Re: Katrina by canaveralgumby on 5 September 2005 1:09am
Linz, I'm sorry. That was like an attack on you and that's not what I meant to do at all.

I misunderstood your meaning. The "group" who got their guy GWB in for the last 2 elections have created a hostile environment for the rest of us to live in. I have become reactionary to the very word "Christian" and that is so terribly wrong.

I am considered sinful, pagan and of course un-Patriotic and un-American. I was raised and taught in school that it is UNIQUELY American to speak your opinion, and to be able to disagree with the government, verbally and in protest (NOT treason or fomenting revolution, of course). For the past 6 years, this has gone out the window.

I take the bus to work, go out to public places for lunch, go to the supermarket, etc., and the people, sometimes total strangers around me, feel free to just come up and start preaching about Jesus and the Good News. And I basically have to say, "Who asked you? Get lost." And I don't want to be like that to anyone, but......

About once a month I get to hear a good earful about "the Jews." (I come from a Jewish family. I don't practice, but I consider it my race / ethnicity.) I guess I don't have a big nose so it is assumed that I'm not one, so people feel free to say really vile things around me or to me. Just out loud in public. That almost never happened to me in my LIFE before this president was elected. People who think and feel that way, feel it is safe to come out of the closet about it. Maybe it's always been there but people felt forced to practice civility. Anyway! I don't usually react at all. Sometimes, if it's someone I've gotten to know, I will take them off to the side so they're not embarrassed in front of anyone else, and tell them that I'm hurt. One day I suppose I'm going to lose it and hit somebody. I hope not, I've never hit anybody before.

[I have a theory that there is something about Michael Palin that drives Jewish girls wild. Remember how Gilda Radner used to be all over him? But that's for another thread.]

I misunderstood you completely, Linz. My skin's too thin, and that's not your fault. I totally over-reacted. I thought I was being told I need to be more Christian, you know? I'm tired of having to explain to people (and in-laws) that Jesus / Christians did not originate or invent charity, kindness, forgiveness, loving one's children, oh, I dunno, monotheism (not that I care if someone is or not), belief in an afterlife, etc., etc., etc.

I know that the vast majority of people in the world who subscribe to Christianity are people whom the good man would observe and say, "Now THAT'S what I was talking about!" People like Jimmy Carter, who actually helps people for the sake of helping people, and not toward some political end, or only because he's trying to convert someone to his church. I'm sorry I brought religion into this discussion at all, but I have NO IDEA how Jimmy Carter got into it!

If I'm prejudiced against anything it is stupidity, but I've already made that pretty clear. Or at least very long and boring.

The world is dwelling on about 5% of the victims of Hurricane Katrina, because footage of millions of people sitting around in refugee shelters that are air conditioned and stocked with food, because the Red Cross and other such agencies are doing a faantastic job, are just not sexy enough for the news media. I find that absurd.

And BTW my gosh anything, ANYTHING you or anybody does to help, a couple of dollars, a couple of Euros, whatever, is a great tremendous help and appreciated immensely.
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