Fat Steve's Blatherings

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Thoughts on the Gulf Coast


      Will says the New Orleans disaster couldn't have been planned for.  He's 90% right.

At Length:

      Over at Free Will, there's a long post I almost agree with.  Basically, it says 'Shut up about "Why isn't any body doing anything, and why wasn't there a plan for this?", because the answer is, this isn't the kind of thing you can plan for.  When something like this happens, you're screwed.'

      My disagreement, such as it is, is with the difference between 'could' and 'would.'  At one point, Will asks what can be done about looters?  Shoot them?  Why yes, that would work nicely.  But the mayor, and perhaps the governor, can't bring themselves to make the decision.

      The same is true for some of the other things he mentions.  The levees weren't strong enough for a category 5 storm, only a 3?  They could have been made stronger decades ago.  There could have been better evacuation planning, but nobody wanted to face the nightmare, or do things that might turn out to be unnecessary.

      This is all very human.  'If we do nothing, maybe the problem will go away on its own.'  A few years ago, I was without power for a week.  I swore I'd buy an emergency generator as soon as possible.  Real Soon Now . . .

      And if the politicians had tried to do something, much of the public wouldn't have supported them, some would even have opposed them.  So, in terms of what was politically possible before the storm, yes, Will's mostly right.  But if we have the gumption, we can do better than this.  And we should.

      Hat tip: Instapundit.

Update: Some thoughts on disaster preparedness here, from Glenn Reynolds.



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