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Katrina Disaster: A Realistic Assessment

I live on a mountain side about 200 yards or so from the edge of a National Forest. The forest is seriously overgrown and there are constant warnings regarding fire danger. It is more than likely that one of these years a lightening strike is going to occur that will result in a forest fire that could burn down my home and homes and businesses throughout my community. We are all aware of this, and yet we still choose to live and work here. Sound familiar? So, who would be to blame if a fire occurred?

I realize that the scale of any natural disaster that could occur in the East Mountains pales in comparison to what Katrina has wrought. In fact, the scale of any disaster to occur on US soil to date will in all likelihood pale by comparison.

I also think what has happened to the people of New Orleans, Biloxi and other communities in the region is a terrible tragedy and my heart and prayers truly goes out to them. My family has already joined countless others in making a contribution to relief efforts, and I am sure we, citizens throughout the country, will do more in the weeks and months to come. This is and has always been the American Way.

Unfortunately, it is also the American Way to politicize disaster. The outcry from the left that this disaster is the result of racial prejudice is obscene. In 1900, Galveston was decimated by a hurricane that left more than 8,000 people dead. This happened in a community where “Only the nation’s wealthiest were allowed to live…” Yes, that was over a century ago, but read the description of the disaster and you will see that history eerily repeats itself – especially the parts about the populace not heeding early warnings and the failure of local and state government to prepare.

This last point is important. If any governmental entity deserves blame, it is on the state and local level, not on the federal level. The city and the state authorities failed the people of New Orleans. The lack of leadership shown by elected city and state officials in dealing with this projected crisis is the direct opposite of what we saw by state and municipal leaders following 9/11.