Monday, September 15, 2008

Stupid is as stupid does

I'm ticked! I know, I know, it seems as if I've been ticked for a while now, right? Any way, this time I'm waxing philosophical on a completely different issue than politics or faith. One of the drawbacks of living in a country where everyone gets to excercise their 'free-will' freely, is that you have to deal with stupid people who display a measure of lunacy by putting others in harms way because, in the excercising of their free-will they've chosen unwisely. The recent hurricanes in Louisiana and Texas are perfect examples. Read the following excerpt from the Associated Press reports:


As dawn broke, emergency officials were fielding pleas for help from residents along the coast who remained behind and were trapped in their homes.... "The unfortunate truth is we're going to have to go in... and put our people in the tough situation to save people who did not choose wisely. We'll probably do the largest search and rescue operation that's ever been conducted in the state of Texas," said Andrew Barlow, spokesman for (Governor) Perry.
About half of the nearly 300,000 residents of coastal Brazoria County stayed behind in defiance of evacuations orders... as did about half of the 110,000 people in Beaumont.... "I'm drained. I'm beat up," Steven Rushing said later Saturday morning. "My family is traumatized. I kept them here, promising them everything would be alright, but this is the real deal and I won't stay no more."

Wow, Steven, what a revelation! At least you're alive to commit to excercising some wisdom next time. Others weren't so fortunate. The truth is, we are spoiled, because we live in a country that has such an advanced disaster response system that we can take for granted. People in most developing nations find out about natural disasters when they happen. Then it's every 'man' for himself as people trample on one another trying to escape. Sometimes there is more carnage from the disorganized attempts to flee than there is from the actual natural disaster. How can anyone "promise" their family that everything will be alright in a hurricane!?! One inch of standing water is known to be able to float vehicles (hydroplaning) let alone 4 - 8 feet of fast rushing water laden with oversized debris. There are mandatory evacuation orders preceding these hurricanes, yet people foolishy defy those orders in an attempt to 'protect' their property. Well... dead people can't protect anything. So here's a friendly word of advice to future hurricane warning areas: heed the warning!!! There, I've said my piece. I feel much better now! It's your turn.

12 comments:

Byron Bledsoe said...

Bro,
You're on the money! I'm from Beaumont - and my family got out of the area. It's a mess there now.
Hope you guys had a great day yesterday! Peace.

Gapper said...

Thanks for saying it straight! My b-i-l, is a paramedic in Denver. This is the second time in as many weeks that he's been sent to the gulf, to assist with rescue efforts. He leaves his family and willingly puts himself in danger to help others-including those who defy evacuation orders. Lets say a prayer of gratitude and safety over ALL of the firefighters,police, paramedics and people who put their own lives on the line, not only everyday, but especially in times of disaster!

Joseph said...

Byron, I'm thankful that your family wisely left when they knew danger was imminent, and I'm glad they're all safe. We had a great service yesterday and I pray you guys did too.

Gapper, yes, you said it well, let's pray for all those who are constantly running towards the very disasters that most people are running away from. It's completely counter intuitive to run towards an area that's flooding while people are running from it, but these brave men and women do it all the time.

Ash said...

just to play devil's advocate-

if you were being held hostage by a murder and he held a gun to your head while you family watched...what would be your last words to them? wouldn't it be something like "it'll be ok, i'll see you again?"

sometimes i wonder if these are the things that rush through people's mind facing the hurricane circumstances. sure, some of them are stupid not to take heed.

but i also think about the story of a man who lost his wife during Katrina. she died of heart failure during their preparations to get out of there. they followed all the orders to the letter, and the guy's wife still died...this time, he wasn't going anywhere. i have compassion for him.

anyway, i'm glad you feel better. some people just don't think...

Joseph said...

Ashley, I'm not sure I quite understand the point you're making. That a man's wife died because they were preparing to escape Katrina means that people should disobey direct warnings of impending danger? These are the same people that cause other people to put their lives in danger when they call for help because they didn't heed a warning. While you're having sympathy on the disobedient, remember the familes of the rescuers who lose their loved ones because someone chose not to heed a warning.

Joey said...

People do these kinds of things all the time. Look at mountain climbers. How many of them have had to be rescued? Louisiana did it right; in New Orleans they said get out but, if you stay, we're not coming in to get you. You're on your own. How about charging the rescued people? It takes thousands of dollars to fire up a helicopter and man it. Charge people $10,000 for every rescue as a result for failure to heed a disaster evacuation. Put a lean on their home. People will think twice.

Jason said...

You know one of the things that made me upset is that no only were the told that they should leave or face possible death, and that no one would come and help, but they sent help anyway.

Ash said...

it's not about disobedience. it's about hype and how many people get hurt b/c of hype.(that woman's heart failed due to stress according to doctors) i'm not saying hurricanes aren't powerful. i've seen them, i've seen the devastation b/c of them. but these people are caught in hopelessness b/c no one can do it alone and that's what they're being told- "save yourself, cuz we're sure not gonna do it." local, state and federal governments all took part in screwing up the first time (katrina)...people don't trust them now and that's sad. there are too many people w/ no place to go and no one to help...they've lost perspective and hope.

there ARE some who are just wanting to be difficult...i know THAT.

but there are more that are devastated and hopeless. i see these stories on a daily basis. who am i to judge them? all i can do for now? is pray...and tell their stories

Joseph said...

Ashley, I guess it's all a matter of perspective isn't it. Maybe you should try living in a country where they have no government that can render aid. It might make you a little less entitled and more grateful for what you do have. Local, federal and state govts are made up of people too. Many of whom have families they are trying to save as well. The last thing they want is to worry about disobedient people putting them in harms way. Your story is an apples to oranges comparison that is certainly not the mainstream.

Ash said...

joseph, i took the perspective of a journalist. i should. it's important. it has nothing to do w/ where i live or where i don't. but rather my belief that every person has a story, whether they make good choices or bad ones, who am i not to listen or to be interested? who am i to judge? that's all...and i just wanted to present the other side of the coin. not mainstream? ok.

Kim said...

A little late to the conversation, but I wonder if any of it had to do with the financial state of those who stayed behind? Especially with the tanking economy, increased unemployment, and soaring gas prices, some people simply can't afford to fill their gas tank, much less leave their homes indefinitely. That was certainly the case during Katrina.

Surely it's not true of everyone, but maybe the relief agencies could've spared themselves a lot of danger if they'd shown up with shuttles beforehand to help get some of the willing people out? (Like they did for special needs citizens.) With the Brazoria County per capita income being at about $20k a year and 10% of its population below the poverty line, that had to be a factor here. It of course doesn't account for half of the population staying behind, many of whom were foolish. But who knows how many would've gotten on public shuttles.

Joseph said...

Kim, I absolutely love your perspective here. I certainly cannot under any circumstances fault the ones who stayed because they had no choice. I wish they had been the only ones who stayed as it would have made it that much easier to provide assistance for them when the time came. Let it be noted that my reaction is purely directed at those who had the means, and the opportunity to leave but chose to stay and ended up endangering other people. Their rescue meant that someone else who could have really used the help was not able to receive it because some idiot chose to violate the mandated evacuation simply because he could. Thanks for adding your voice to the conversation.