Friday, September 09, 2005

National Struggle Against Atmospheric Extremism

It is apparent to me that the number of deaths associated with Hurricane Katrina will exceed the number of people who died in the 9/11 terror attacks on American soil. This was obvious to me even as the hurricane was on its way in, as I reported around 2 a.m. on Aug. 29th, before the hurricane had even struck in "Katrina: Mother of All Hurricanes." News reports now say we are spending $1 billion a day on the Katrina relief effort. Perhaps that figure would be unchanged even if things had gone differently. However this was not a totally unexpected disaster, as the 9/11 attacks were. This was not some sucker punch thrown by Mother Nature that we couldn't have guessed it was coming. We've known for decades it could come. At least since hurricanes Betsy and Camille in the 1960s. Development in the low-lying New Olreans area continued unabated. (and calling New Orleans "low-lying" is a little like calling Katrina "a large windbag.") A researcher from LSU described what would happen almost verbatim, and this was in 2002. LSU Guy Foresees New Orleans Tragedy. What WAS abated was money slated for levee improvements. Money allocated by the federal government and then apparently spent by the state of Louisiana for other things such as refurbishing some Mardi Gras statues and expensive improvements for the state supreme court. There were even some federal matching funds that went unclaimed because the state spent its largesse so unwisely. The feds also slashed levee monies in recent years, so it's apparent EVERYONE was counting on the generosity of Mother Nature in not walloping New Orleans with a right hook. But wasn't a hurricane in New Orleans more LIKELY than any given terrorist attack? You can never be sure where a terrorist will strike, but you can be certain New Orleans remains a hurricane target with each new season that comes. But we have a whole structure set up, Homeland Security, just to deal with things like terrorist attacks. And, to a lesser extent, natural disasters. Even though it must be obvious by now that natural disasters are a bigger threat to national (and local) security than anyone with a boxcutter. So far there hasn't been any terrorist attack that has emptied almost an entire city, the way Katrina did to New Orleans. It's still an open question whether the city will be rebuilt in any meaningful way. Yes they are giving lip service to it, surely no one is missing all the giant flapping lips that seem to be the hallmark of this disaster. But I suspect they will keep making progress until the "obstacles" get too expensive, whether it be shoring up the levees, detoxifying the city or suddenly realizing that every building in the flooded areas has a serious mold problem that will be extremely expensive to eradicate. My latest idea on New Orleans: Let's glass it in like a snow globe! Then people can visit using those cute little tourist submarines like they have in Hawaii. The next hurricane will wash right over the city with no visible effect. It will be our first fully-functional underwater community! Anyway, if we are going to respond to 9/11 with a War on Terror, then the thousands of Katrina deaths ought to precipitate a War Against Natural Disasters, or W.A.N.D., as in we should start waving one, along with scattering our pixie dust. Maybe we could lable it the National Struggle Against Atmospheric Extremism. Yes, I know we want to blame the policians for not building higher levees, or a dike the size of Rhode Island. But I have to ask: what are you gonna do about California? I forget how much of our national economy it makes up, but it's a lot. CA has one of the largest economies in the WORLD. California is sitting precariously on a fault between two really cranky tectonic plates. The Big One (an earthquake greater than magnitude 8, maybe closer to 9) has been overdue now for at least two decades. When THAT happens you aren't going to be able to bus the bottled water in, or bus the people out. You won't even get the courtesty of 48 hours notice as we did with Katrina. It will just be WHAMMO, and suddenly the whole state will be refugees (excuse me "evacuees," only of course they won't be going anywhere unless there is a helicopter pilot in the family.) Roads will be impassible, buildings will be on fire, people will be trapped, the U.S. economy will be ruined. So my suggestion is a simple one. We need to evacaute California starting TODAY. Maybe we can begin with everyone along the San Andreas fault, and then move, fault by fault, until we've cleansed the entire area of future evacuees! Let's face it, California is only as viable as Pompeii. A nice place to be born, but you wouldn't want to be crushed there. And a note to you in other parts of the world: that Asian tsunami thing was probably just a warm-up! The next earthquake/tidal wave event will likely extend as far as Australia and the east coast of Africa. You can't actually shift the earth off its axis and then not expect a follow-up. So everyone move at least ten feet inland (or ten miles if you can manage it) because we all know now Mother Nature's version of Disney's Blizzard Beach is no fun at all.


Blogger alena said...

Cool Blog, I never really thought about it that way.

I have a Hurricane Katrina blog. It pretty much covers hurricane related stuff.

Thank you - and keep up the thoughts!

10/03/2005 05:06:00 PM  
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