First and foremost, my Grama is ok. My mother was able to get through to her on a land line late last night (woke her up which is impressive because Grama doesn't hear so well). Her apartment complex sustained minor damage (a miracle in itself with all of the horrible destruction on either side) and only has generator power in the lobby and 1 elevator running. But she's ok. The Red Cross, a local grocery store, and a local fruit and veggie stand are providing food and water to the residents of Grama's building (God bless them!).
Mom will be heading down there early next week when she has a day off to get Grama. Thank GOD!!!
Now for my thoughts...bear with me - my heart and mind are still very jumbled. When 9/11 happened, it took me at least a year to really wrap my brain around everything. I have a feeling it will be the same way with this situation as well.
The level of destruction - the SCOPE of the destruction - is unimaginable. When I sat and watched the footage of 9/11 it was a little less personal. I have never been to New York or the World Trade Center. But I have been to Biloxi. I have been to New Orleans (though the trip was short and did not involve a visit to the French Quarter or any other highlights of the area and did so badly want to go back).
When I was 7 or 8, my family took a trip to the Gulf Coast to visit family and friends. My mom grew up in Moss Point/Pascagoula. My Grampa worked down there and is (was?) buried at the VA cemetary in Biloxi. And my Grama has lived in Ocean Springs since I was 4.
When McGyver was in flight school, I took advantage of my proximity to Grama and went down to visit her twice. We stayed at the Seabee base in Gulfport - which was nearly decimated by hurricane Camille in 1969. Though I never lived there, the Gulf Shore was still a piece of me.
So watching the footage of the destruction from Katrina was SO much more personal than 9/11. When I went to bed last Sunday night, I thought I would wake up to find that New Orleans had been wiped off the map. I couldn't sleep and around 4am (Hawaii time) only to find that Katrina had made a right hand turn and was heading toward Gulfport/Biloxi.
I thought I was going to be sick.
Grama stayed where she was because she thought that she would only catch the outskirts of the storm, not the brunt of it. God, help them all.
And then to watch the destruction of New Orleans who, on Monday morning, looked like they would have dodged a bullet that residents have been waiting for for 40+ years, in slow motion as the levees gave way was like salt on a wound. It was like watching a train wreck in slow motion and not being able to do a DAMN thing about it.
For 4 days, I sat in shock in front of the TV and in a state of panic in front of the computer. With power out and phone lines down, there was no way to check on Grama. Our family is friends with the Sheriff of Jackson county and his family and I tried desperately to reach him - just to see if he had any word on Grama. But I couldn't. Efforts to go "rescue" my Grama were stimied by reports of road closures, gas shortages, and violence. I was *this* close to buying a ticket to the area to go get her myself (with McGyver's gun in my suitcase...don't mess with the redhead). And then mom was able to reach her and she's ok.
And now that the shock and panic has subsided, anger is setting in. And here are some things that I am angry about...(you knew this was coming, right? Those of you with tender ears and constitutions might want to skip this part - there WILL be rough language)
You have to be kidding me. These people just left a disaster area. They escaped with nothing more than the clothes on their backs (and they were lucky to have THOSE) and hadn't eaten for days and the Reliant officials DENIED them access to help?? Who the hell were those officials and what the HELL were they thinking??? Someone needs to smack those morons up side their heads, preferably with something hard.
Terry Ebbert has the UMITIGATED GALL to stand there and CRITICIZE the federal government for THEIR lack of response?? Does he not understand that the best defense is a good offense?? How fucking hard would it have been to be a little proactive? Mr Ebbert, it is YOUR job, as the head of New Orleans' emergency operations, to provide that offense.
And don't give me that "we didn't think it would be that bad" bullshit. It was obviously bad enough to issue an evacuation order yet YOU, Mr. Ebbert did not give them the means to get out. YOU, Mr. Ebbert, are to blame for this fiasco. YOU, Mr. Ebbert, are responsible for this. YOU.
At the least, you need to lose your job. You failed and on a massive scale. At best, you need to be held accountable for the deaths in your state. Those people had nowhere to go and no way to get there. YOU, Mr. Ebbert, had the facilities to help them BEFORE the hurricane hit yet you either failed to recognize the asset or you CHOSE not to. HOW DARE YOU? How dare you...?
THIS, Mr. Ebbert, is YOUR legacy. This.
THEN THERE IS THIS
Don't tell me that there aren't enough guardsmen. There are. But a disaster of this magnitude takes time and coordination ON THE PART OF THE STATE and federal governments to get moving. It takes time. And, while I understand that time is not something the people of the gulf shore have, the bulk of that blame should be placed on the shoulders of the local STATE officials. Protocols should have been in place and they weren't. That was the responsibility of the STATE, not the federal government. And the STATE failed.
Add to the overwhelming nature of the disaster itself the fact that New Orleans is one of the more dangerous cities in the United States on a normal day AND the fact that the New Orleans police department is one of the most corrupt police deparments in the country. And is that the fault of the federal government? No. Again, the onus rests on the shoulders of state and local officials.
To the officials to which I make reference, I have a message and a suggestion : suck it up, be men (and women), admit you screwed on up many levels, and MAKE IT RIGHT. Don't waste your time and the time of those who do not have it to give by trying to dodge the blame you so justly deserve.
I understand breaking into a store in order to get food and water and diapers for your family. I get that and I'd be right there with a rock, busting open a window to get supplies for my family with no remorse whatsoever.
However, those ANIMALS that feel the need to take things such as jewelry, plasma screen TVs, beer, and the like? Shoot them. The ANIMALS that break in to the homes that are already decimated by flood waters and crawl OVER the bodies of the dead owners inside in order to steal their valuables (not their water or canned goods. We're talking jewelry and such.)? Shoot them, drag them out into the street and spray paint the word "LOOTER" on their naked body and leave them for the rest of the world to see and learn from.
Those CRIMINALS that are shooting at the very people who are there to help them - the same ones that they are bitching about NOT helping? - shoot them too. Shoot them twice, just for good measure.
Don't sit there and bitch that no one is coming to help you and then SHOOT at them when they do. That's a good way to get your sorry ass left behind. Or worse.
And lastly, I have a bit of a rant for some of my fellow military spouses. I'm sorry if this rubs some of you the wrong way but it's my blog and if you don't like it, you don't have to read it. On some of the boards I frequent (more than one), there have been some spouses who are actually complaining that their husbands may have to "deploy" to help in the recovery effort. I bit my tounge when I read the first thread about it but after I read similar threads elsewhere, I began to get irritated.
Now, I understand being sad/disappointed/upset about being separated from loved ones - sometimes for the 2nd or 3rd time including deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan - and I understand the sadness that comes with their loved ones missing special moments - births, holidays, milestones - but damnit, THIS IS THEIR JOB. THEY SIGNED UP FOR THIS. How can you complain about your service member being asked to help fellow Americans??? HOW? I don't get it. I"m almost hoping that McGyver's unit gets called up for this just so ONE of us can do something.
I'm done for now. I probably won't be on much over the next week or so - we have friends in town and I need a break. This week has been rough. Nothing compared to what some of my fellow Americans are going through, but there are other things I need to be doing besides typing on the computer.
Just in case you haven't already been innundated with requests for help from various charities, please visit Soldiers' Angels and give what you can. This fund is set up to help the families of soldiers in the area, many of whom are deployed and many of whom have lost everything.
Technorati tags : hurricane katrina, Soldiers' Angels
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