Depend on Yourself First, Government 2nd
by Howard Melamed
As if New Orleans didn’t teach us all a lesson, Hurricane Wilma comes to town and all I heard from everyone is bitching about FEMA not being there for us. In New Orleans, the prevalent words you heard from the people who really suffered was “Where Da Government At?” In the Hurricane Katrina case, people of Lousianna lost homes, and those that couldn’t get out of town, struggled to survive the disaster that hit there. Here in Coral Springs, most of us are bitching about things, because as Thurston Howell The Third would say ” My Pool Screen Got Blown Away! “, as he mixes himself another scotch and water. For the most part, that is the extent of the inconvenience that was caused by the hurricane, aside from several days of no electricity. Again, in perspective, we came through pretty good compared to others around the world suffering from natural and unnatural disasters.
However, the amount of complaining by residents of Coral Springs, about the lack of help from the federal government, as well as complaints about favoritism showed to police and fire personnel by merchants in this town is disgusting. I think people just do not have enough to do around here other than complain.
There was a near riot that broke out a day after the hurricane at the Home Depot on University and Atlantic, when while people were standing in line for more than 4 hours for generators, the police department shows up, cuts in line and pulls generators out of the store. People were screaming at the police bitching about the fact that they got there first . First off, these generators where delivered specifically to the Home Depot for the Police department, and did not affect any allotments that were in the store. 2nd, and more importantly, did you not prepare yourself prior to the hurricane hitting, or are you one of those people that refuse to prepare, then bitch like crazy when what you were told was going to happen, happens, and there you are unprepared. You get no pity from me. Be prepared next time, like I was. Generator, gasoline, water, food. After all, in case you didn’t know by now, we are after all in South Florida, and in South Florida, you get hurricanes.
There are no excuses for those idiots that refuse to heed the governments’ warnings and those that also depend completely on the government. The Government has limitations and in the great words of President Kennedy , “Ask Not what the government can do for you, but what you can do for your government.” In our case, fend for yourself first, and depend on Government 2nd.
Do you expect the Government to be at your immediate disposal as soon as something bad happens ? That is unrealistic, unless you want your taxes to go sky high as we increase the number of federal government disaster relief personnel, and deploy them to all parts of the country on an even basis. After all, shit happens in Kansas as well as here. You are expecting too much from government, and too little from yourselves. The purpose of the government is to be their after disaster happens, but you need to fend for yourself when it does happen. Bitching about FEMA being late, or the FPL taking their time or the Coral Springs Police Department not doing enough is simply bullshit.
Take our police force for instance.., Do you know why they couldn’t be deployed at intersections directing traffic and helping in other ways? They were all tied up guarding Gas stations because several idiot citizens decided that they needed to fill up their cars a day after the hurricane hit, as if gasoline in this state was ever going to run out. As people showed up with containers for electrical Generators, other showed up with 3/4 full gas guzzler automobiles filling them up just in case…what? Just in case they were going to take that cross country trip? SO, to make sure no one would get out of line, or cause trouble, the police were deployed at the gas stations. To protect us from us!
Then a few days later, the state police shows up…..Then the national guard, and finally FEMA. All this took at least a few days. I think that was fabulous. They did their jobs and should be commended for it not condemned. However, as citizens did we do our part in helping the government? Did we prepare ourselves adequately to make sure that our government had enough time to deploy to give us assistance?
What is really needed is that we develop in Coral Springs a volunteer organization where we can provide our government with enough manpower to allow them to handle the big picture. All we need from Government is to act as the vehicle to get it started.
The volunteers would do the following:
1. Help keep the roadways clear after a storm to allow emergency personnel to have free access everywhere. This can be done using trucks, winches, chain saws, or whatever each of us may have in our arsenal of ‘weapons’.
2. Traffic Control. I know this is a dangerous task, but several of us can be trained to take control of keep intersections allowing traffic to move along.
3. Provide neighborhood help . Several of our neighbors had trees and other debris damage their houses. Yet, know one had a stock pile of tarps and other supplies. The city can store those blue Tarps and deploy them to neighborhood designated citizens to make sure that they get deployed quickly by us.
4. We can coordinate the use of generators. Just on my street alone, there were at least 3- 4000 KW and 2 ^ KW generators and . but there were only 5 homes using them out of 12. In order to run the Refrigerator, Freezer, and a TV set, you need only 2 KW. With 24 KW of available energy, all of the homes on the street could have had power, and more importantly, we could have pulled our resources to lessen the lineups at the gas pump! The generators could have been deployed on the street with 100′ power cords in a fashion that everyone would have had their share. Instead, I saw many people going out an buying generators, greater in capability then what was needed.
5. First Aid: Many of us already have first aid training, and since in the first day or so after a disaster, the Fire Rescue will be tied up, we should be able to offer this to our fellow citizens. However, we need a center to coordinate these resources and to make sure people know who on their block they can count on.
These are but a few suggestion on how citizens can help out the government in times of crisis. We need to be weary of those that are complaining about the speed in which government works, and those that at all cost will not prepare themselves for a disaster such as Hurricane Wilma, We shouldn’t be asking Where DA Government At? But , “Where Da Hell We At?”