Back From Hurricane Land

I’ve spent the last few days in hurricane-ravished Southeast Texas. I visited family and friends in the Beaumont area to help out. I ended up helping my Dad and Granny out with fallen trees and limbs, which is always fun (okay...not really). I also visited a friend whose house was hit by storm surge. Right outside of Bridge City everything looked fine, but once you got in every yard you looked at had a large pile of sheet-rock, insulation, furniture and various belongings in the front yard. My friend’s house had water in it at least four foot high. With the exception of the top four inches, his truck was completely submerged. What a mess.

Two things, completely polar-opposite of each other, struck me during my visit. The first was the resilience of the people whose homes had been destroyed. They obviously weren’t happy about it, but the few I actually talked to didn’t seem too down.

On the other hand, I heard a number of negative things about the work that FEMA was doing. My guess is that FEMA is probably trying but they are limited by the fact that a very large area has just been wiped out. But I really don’t want to defend FEMA because I don’t know enough to say "yay" or "nay" on the job they’re doing. I just want to say this, that all the talk about FEMA tells me one thing very clearly: people depend too much on the government. It should be obvious by now that the government is not good at much of anything except blowing up stuff. That they have proven they are quite adept at. How long will people depend on the government to protect them from natural disaster? For their education? Shall they depend on them for their health care and their financial well-being? Nothing I have seen gives me any confidence that they will do a good job at any of these things, so why do people put up with parties that are clearly okay with large, sprawling, behemoth governments? We are in a sad state.


T.C. 2008-09-26 08:42:33

As one who lives in SE Texas, between Houston and Galveston, I completely agree with your comments. We were fortunate in that we suffered very little damage other than on our roof, but as a chaplain in the Texas Air National Guard, I’ve met, spoken, and worked with many folks who lost absolutely everything.

Seems many who lost everything are quite resilient and even rather upbeat about the whole thing...honestly, when one chooses to live here you must resign yourself not to get too attached to anything because storms like this (and bigger) are really a matter of ‘when’ not ‘if.’

In contrast to these types, there were folks calling radio stations within twelve hours of the end of the tropical storm force winds complaining that FEMA hadn’t yet showed up with ice, food and water! It’s not as if we didn’t have a week’s notice that the storm was coming our way, and it’s not as if we shouldn’t all be prepared for this sort of thing anyway. The dependence of the government to ‘save me’ is revolting...and a complete absconding of any kind of personal responsibility.

When even some FEMA workers complain about the bureaucracy (and they did to me), you know the system is bad. It didn’t help, as you point out, the the storm affected the entire metro area of the 4th largest city in the US!

Eric 2008-09-26 11:24:43

Well, that’s just sad! Did they ask for Margaritas from FEMA as well?

It strikes me as very obvious that if you’re going to ride out a storm like that, you should assume you might be out of power for a couple of weeks. And if that’s the case, you need to make sure you have enough water and food. And if you can’t do that, you need to evacuate. But I guess this isn’t as obvious to some. Such a shame.

Glad to hear that your house survived...and apparently your internet connection :). It took my parents about a week before they got power back, but my dad was prepared and had generators (from when Rita hit) going the whole time to keep the freezers from losing their cool. Though my mom came to stay with me, he rode the whole thing out and because of his prep was able to function normally through the whole ordeal. You would think that Rita and Katrina would have taught those who live in the area a thing or two.