Thursday, September 08, 2005

An Email that About Says It All

When I first read this on Sully's Daily Dish, it just clicked with me - it totally mirrored how I felt, the anger and rage and disappointment. It's worth sharing here, I think:

"I've considered myself a socially libertarian, fiscally
conservative Republican for a very long time. I got along with the idea that I
wasn't going to get a whole lot of help. College wouldn't be free. Job training
would cost money and time. And I'm probably a decent example of
up-from-not-much.

But after watching what's happening in New
Orleans-an American city that I've loved, visited and have always wanted to
return to - I can't ever vote for these people again.

Being a
Republican means that you expect the government to do just a couple things for
you and nothing else. Build a road. Defend us from enemies, foreign and
domestic. Stuff that would be a lot less organized if we all had to do it
ourselves. Everything else is just gravy.

And as we poured money
into Department of Homeland Security, and the Federal Emergency Management
Agency, I thought, "Right on," because some of that money's bound to fall on my
head.

Well, something else would fall on my head
first.

I work for the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. And
that means that if something really catastrophic happens in MY city, and they
ask me to stick around, that's the job. We have A and B teams and I'm a disaster
recovery specialist on Team A. I've drawn up plans with names like Drawbridge
and Smoldering Crater.

Here's what these people would do for
me.

They would leave me there to die.

Look at the
facts. There's no coordination on the ground right now. The city has no fresh
water, no electricity, no services. The floodwater has so much oil and toxins in
it that it's flammable.

In psychology they have what is called a
fight-or-flight response. When faced with danger, do you subdue it or do you
flee? Some of it has to do with risk assessment, but in this case, there is no
flight. There is nowhere to run. So flight means die. If my choice was to pull a
pistol on a truck driver or Nat, Jarren, Jayson, or any of you dies, that's no
choice at all.

I'm not talking about the looters grabbing
big-screen televisions and basketball hoops. I'm talking about the ones that are
chest-deep in water carrying bottled water and diapers. You can't tell me for
three days to be patient, the bus is coming, and they're piling up bodies in the
street median.

We have known that this sort of disaster could occur
for a century. Hell, the tour bus driver told me about it on the plantation
tour. This means that we have been able to envision the stark reality of this
occurring for a week-the newspapers all said the storm would hit New Orleans
last Thursday.

A week to get buses? A week to get fishing boats?
Trucks? This is the United States! I read someone who said, "All the people who
weren't bedridden, or had money, or had cars left. The people that are left had
none of those things."

There are people tonight who are going to
sleep on overpasses for the fourth straight night. There are prisoners who will
do the same. There are people dying at a convention center because no one will
tell them that no one is coming for them, and the National Guard is protecting
the kitchens. There are police officers who are turning in their badges because
they've lost everything, have no guidance, and don't want to be shot by a
looter.

There are people tonight inside a concrete domed stadium
with holes in the roof and no air conditioning who were told the buses are
coming today, and they might, or they might not. There is no food. There is no
water. There are bodies floating through the neighborhoods.

In the
UNITED STATES.

Some people say that you can't hold the President
responsible for this. Oh, yes you can. Because when he looked over at John
Ashcroft after the jets hit the towers and said, "I want you to make sure this
never happens again," it was not meant to be specific to "no more planes hitting
large buildings on the East Coast, right, boss." It was meant that no American
should have to run for his life through an American city. While Americans may
perish in a senseless, unforeseen disaster, we'd save the ones we
could.

And the Cabinet appointees were mushwits and he could barely
speak a complete sentence and we're sending people overseas for God knows how
long to help people who are indifferent at worst and hostile at best, but they
were going to protect us. In 2004, that's all a lot of us needed. Well right
now, it's obvious that they can't.

Ask yourself this: What if
Al-Qaeda blew up the levees instead of the hurricane? Would the response have
been any different?

No. It wouldn't. That city flooded in a day.
And if it were Las Vegas, I would have been in some operations center watching
people try to decide who gets to starve to death and who gets to get on a bus to
Los Angeles or Phoenix. And there would be no certainty that I'd be on that bus
in time to protect my wife and kids.

But one thing sure would have
been different.

They wouldn't have had a whole week to sort it out
and know what's coming. They were supposed to KNOW this already. It will have
been FOUR YEARS next weekend since someone probably said, "Hey, what
if..."

And for that, the whole stack of them should be
fired.

I've had it. I'm done. And if the other bunch of assholes
can't figure out that what's important is that babies don't starve to death here
(and I'm not talking some metaphorical goo-goo thing with school lunches and
welfare, but real, actual starving) and we get people out of harm's way, we'll
get rid of them too. And so on.

Because this is about leadership,
not about bitching on CNN how no one's in charge, or listening to Peggy Noonan
furrow her brow at the Governor's performance, or bragging that we've sent in
one National Guardsman for every 200 people, or actually having the audacity to
say that "we had no idea the levees would break."

Today, I saw my
country favorably compared to Indonesia and Thailand, (always our traditional
benchmarks of infrastructural success) while the elderly die of thirst in the
street. We sneered at France when this happened during a heat
wave.

No more."

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