Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Katrina Lessons via Instapundit

I don't link to Instapundit often, since it's, well, Instapundit and doesn't really need any gratuitous links. Besides, if you're reading this blog, you've probably heard of and often read Instapundit anyway. Today though, Glenn has posted what he thinks are the 9 lessons that Katrina taught us. Most of them are pretty obvious, yet the sure-to-be-upcoming (and taxpayer-funded) commissions and panels are going to spend months trying to figure them out. Here's the Garm short version of the list, complete with Garm Commentary:

1. Don't build your city below sea level.
Duh. Moving on. . .

2. Order evacuations early.
Yeah, and if the evacuations are MANDANTORY, then enforce them. MANDANTORY has an actual definition, and it's not a synonym for VOLUNTARY. MANDANTORY evacuations are occurring as we speak, with soldiers and police going door to door and MAKING people leave.

3. Have -- and use -- a plan for evacuating people who can't get out on their own.
Actually New Orleans DID have a plan. Hence Reynolds' use of the word USE. See the pictures of flooded school buses here. Look Mayor Nagin, buses!

4. Have an emergency relocation plan.
Could also be considered number 3B, but it's not my list, I'm just borrowing it. This ties into number

5. Make critical infrastructure survivable.
Glenn analyzes the collapse of the NO police radio system. How could the local government NOT realize that communications were critical? And if the government did realize this, why did they not have a plan in place to deal with it? And if they DID have a plan in place, why was it not followed? And if. . . ok, ok, moving on to

6. Stock supplies and prepare facilities.
Again, duh. As Reynolds says, "All public buildings that might be used for refugees should be ready. We used to stock fallout shelters that way; we could do it again."

7. Be realistic.
In other words, it is NOT going to be possible for the government, be it Local, State, or Federal, to help every single citizen in their time of need, even if the other items on this list are followed. In the case of a natural disaster on the scale we're currently experiencing, it is up to the INDIVIDUAL to recognize that their government is not set up to handle such a large disaster event. That's why it's a DISASTER. The government can and should help before, during, and after such an event, but the citizenry must be counted on to do their part as well. In other words, remember the Boy Scout motto: BE PREPARED. Know what's going on around you, know what the disaster plan is, listen to what the experts are telling you, etc.

8. Put somebody in charge.
I'll just quote Glenn again, as he sums it up better than me, while saying exactly what I wanted to say:

Politicians and bureaucrats thrive on diffusion of responsibility, because it helps them escape blame (as they're trying to do in the finger pointing orgy that's going on now). Somebody needs to be clearly in charge. Right now it's mostly state governors, but this needs to be made inescapably plain, regardless of where it is.

9. Make people care.
Disasters are by definition horrible events that are not planned for. That needs to change. All levels of government (there are more than enough fingers to point at FEMA, Ray Nagin, Blanco, etc. rather than just point at any one of them) need to prepare for the worst and hope for the best.

To sum up this entire list, and to sum up what any possible 9-11-style commision might find, I humbly submit this:

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