"Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both." ~ Benjamin Franklin

A response to Sara's Comment

>> Saturday, September 03, 2005

I had this comment waiting for me today. So I thought I would answer her question and let a few of my readers chime in, as well.

I am interested on your take regarding the relief effort for Hurricane Katrina. I do not want to play politics when people's lives are at stake, but I am interested in a Republican's ideas on it.

Sara- first, let me state that I am an Independent. My politics don't follow lines, they follow my beliefs and morals.

I think that the relief efforts have been pretty amazing. I really think that too much attention has been paid to New Orleans and the problems there and not enough has been paid to the other areas that have been destroyed. Have we heard about rapes and killings in Mississippi? Did we hear about them in Florida last year? No.

New Orleans was the epicenter of the crisis, but the devastation spread across the Gulf Coast, from Louisiana to Mississippi and even Alabama. Hurricane Katrina struck some areas of Mississippi even harder than New Orleans was hit, and Mississippians felt as if they were being forgotten.

“We’re suffering over here too, but we’re not killing each other," Richard Gibbs said in Gulfport, Miss. “We’ve got to help each other. We need gas and food and water and medical supplies.”

Taking necessary items (food, water, diapers, even toys to keep the kids entertained) I completely understand. Looting for jewelry & TVs; that is pure greed. I've heard the argument that the people could pawn them for cash. I think that's an excuse for very bad behavior. But lets get past the looting to the killing and rapes. What is the point of that? There is no excuse for that kind of behavior. None.

People make the situation what it is. And it seems that many people in New Orleans are making a bad situation worse. Not all of them. Not even a majority. I can't understand why so many people have to make a bad situation worse by pointing out what has gone wrong. Yes, things could have been more organized. But, the hurricane didn't actually hit New Orleans and noone knew the levee would break. So the attention was focused elsewhere. The mayor had ordered an evacuation. Many people chose not to leave. That was their choice. Yes, many people in the area are very poor. But the Superdome was offered as shelter. Many people didn't go there, either. Yes, the Dome isn't the greatest place to be, but the people who are cramped in there are certainly doing better than those who are still stuck in their attics... or those who died.

Focusing on negatives over positives can only make a bad situation worse. I truly think that our National Guard, firefighters, police officers, doctors, nurses and ordinary citizens have done an amazing job of rescuing and caring for those who have been stranded and injured. Both the Superdome and the Convention Center have been cleared out. If the estimates were correct and there were close to 45,000 people in those two locations alone (I got this information from this article) then I have to say that the relief efforts have been pretty amazing.

As far as the government helping, yes, it should; and it is. But I truly believe that people need to take responsibility for themselves, as well. You always have a choice. It may not be much of a choice, but it is a choice. Too much time is spent blaming others; looking at the glass half empty. Maybe if we all spent more time trying to fix what we have done wrong ourselves instead of waiting for the government to step in and fix it we would find that the glass is really half full.

Let me finish by saying that hindsight is really the only thing that is 20/20 and it is very easy to criticize after the fact.

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