Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Two Years Later (aka Homeland Insecurity)

Two years ago today, Hurricane Katrina was all over the news, and in south Florida there wasn’t much else to do, so I was watching. My sense of dread as hurricane Katrina headed for the gulf coast was tempered by ignorance of how much damage a hurricane could do.

To mark the 2nd Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, B & I have been watching When The Levees Broke. The scale of the tragedy is mind boggling. Even more devastating is the extent to which it was preventable. I admire the strength of Gulf Coast residents who survived not only the storm, but also its aftermath. They were beset by government negligence and apathy. Negligence was inadequate levees, evacuation procedures, and officials ill-prepared to deploy relief efforts. Apathy was the federal relief arriving at the scene days later, the president continuing business as usual. No human should have to endure the conditions they did. We can’t control the weather, but we can control our response to it. In this case the response was piss poor.

Two years after Katrina, we are rebuilding at a glacial pace, and I see no evidence we are better prepared for a national disaster of that scale. We are obligated to help each other in times of need. Over generations we’ve created public structures to do just that. When these structures can respond effectively to a disaster of Katrina’s proportions I’ll feel better about so called “Homeland Security”.

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