Friday, September 02, 2005

New Orleans

A single-digit number of weeks ago I was channel-surfing and settled on a show on Discovery Channel Canada on the subject of the Netherlands and the engineering marvels they are putting in place to protect themselves from North Sea storms, as the country has the remarkable property that pretty much all of it lies below sea level. At the end of the show there was a cursory review of other places in similar situations, and the show pointed at New Orleans, documenting the risk of a storm of greater force than what the defences of the city (the levees) were designed for. And they were clear that this outcome was not by any means impossible.

Also recently, a friend had invited me to visit, and I had in the back of my mind spending time there in the autumn. The friend and his family are all right, by the way.

So last weekend and this week have connected to things already on my mind. And really, I could not post on this until today, when now there seem to be activities that are finally addressing the deepest problems.

I am no expert in what should have happened - I do look forward to the first large investigative reports on what did and did not happen. It appears to me from what I have read that the local authorities did not do very well. Personally I was shocked that the imposition of order was such a low priority; to my mind, nothing else is likely to work without that. And it is surely one of the functions of a government that nobody would contest.

I do know that this has affected my thinking in a number of areas. I just returned from a shopping trip during which I collected a good week's worth of water for at least a couple of people and that will be stored in the basement. Also purchased were many many cans of tuna (which will also help the cat survive) and much of that will be stored. If people have good suggestions regarding other food to store, I would welcome that. This direction of my behaviour was partly driven by this post.

There is a more complicated element here too, for me as someone who has never wanted to be close to a gun. I will not be surprised, as I would have been a year ago, to find myself joining a gun club for education and owning one for emergencies. And this is partly driven by the effective job (that is a joke) being done by our current city administration handling the current outbreaks of gun violence. In a situation like the one in New Orleans the philosophy of reaching out to the community for understanding, which seems to be the only arrow in their quiver, is not what I want applied.

Let me underline the message in this post - send help.


Post a Comment

<< Home