Gary's Thoughts and Opinions

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Gulf Coast looting and Lawlessness

Gulf Coast looting and lawlessness is spreading.

The devastation and destruction along the Gulf Coast is horrible and unbelievably massive. My heart goes out to those caught in the middle of the fury of the Earth.

I have read the stories of the rampant lawlessness and looting in New Orleans and other areas and it gives me furiously to think about why people react that way.

  • If this type of disaster was Nationwide instead of focused in a relatively small area would this type of behavior also be Nationwide?

  • New Orleans had close to a half million people evacuated and the news reports indicate only those who were economically or physically incapable of evacuation were left in the city. That is except for those foolhardy souls who stayed to try and “weather the storm”.

  • Who are these people that have started acting like uncivilized animals running amok robbing, looting and killing?

  • Are these the people that society has chosen to ignore? Are these the homeless, the addicted, economically unfortunates and the fools that have no other choice than to loot and rob to survive?

  • Is this the criminal portion of society that chose to stay behind and take advantage of a horrible situation?

  • Our past experiences with storms and other natural disasters of this magnitude have shown that violence, looting and other criminal behavior has a tendency to spring up at these times. Why did President Bush not have the National Guard already on station or at least enroute immediately after the storm passed to help keep control of the city and help the victims of the tragedy instead of waiting 3 days to mobilize a response?

  • According to the news reports, until immediately before this storm made landfall it was a Category 5 hurricane packing sustained winds in the area of 175 mph. If not for the miraculous puff of dry air that hit the leading edge of the storm just prior to it striking the Gulf Coast that caused the winds to drop to 145 mph and nudged the storm off of a direct hit on New Orleans the devastation would have been much, much worse. They knew enough to evacuate the city days prior to landfall so why weren’t the entire resources of the country already on the move? Why did they wait? Rescue and emergency crews could have already been standing by inland so the response times would have been quicker.
The City of New Orleans is now being totally evacuated. The authorities have said that it may be 2 months before they allow the evacuees back into the city because of the almost total devastation. They say it will take a month AFTER the levee breaks are repaired just to pump the water out of the city. The relief effort and supplies are just now beginning to arrive. Where are these people going to stay? Who is going to feed and house them? Where are the medical facilities to treat the injuries going to come from? What if the area of devastation was wider and involved many more lives?

For me the most frightening part of this disaster is this: What if this had been a terrorist attack instead of a natural disaster? What if this type of devastation and destruction involved several major cities in the United States instead of just a few? What if this had been another event we knew was coming such as a strike by an extraterrestrial object such as a comet or asteroid? Would we be prepared?

If our Government is so unprepared for a storm they saw coming and KNEW it was going to be destructive, how well prepared are they to handle a much more widespread amount of destruction that can be caused by a terrorist attack or other UNEXPECTED event?

It seems to me that we should learn a lot from this experience:

  • We should learn that we ARE NOT as prepared as our Government would lead us to believe and that we have a long way to go to get there.

  • We should learn that the fury of the Earth is no match for us, but we can be better prepared in the future.

  • We should learn that there will always be that segment of our society that will become uncivilized and criminal during these catastrophic events and that we need to better prepare for these actions as well.

Hopefully this event will galvanize a response by the people who call this country home to demand some long needed changes take place. I hope we as a nation do not have to experience this type of event or one of a larger magnitude to learn the vital lesson that we ARE NOT PREPARED.