BLAMING GOD. We are told we have a govt. of the people and for the people. This article is an overview of the historic pattern of negligence that American leadership has shown to help their people faced with natural disasters. This post is about FEMA’s pattern of disastrous disaster relief, and other irresponsible acts of govt. which have reframed nature’s natural motions into cruel “Acts of God”. The negligence of FEMA is following an historic pattern of govt. negligence which includes poor foresight, poor priorities, poor standards, poor responses, poor accountability, and poor reporting. When all else has failed, dysfunctional govt. has covered its dereliction of duty by proclaiming these events as unpredictable freakish “Acts of God”. For instance, the record clearly shows detailed warnings to the Bush administration about the potential damage Katrina could do, yet afterwards Pres. Bush claimed no one could have anticipated Katrina and the levees overflowing, & Michael Chertoff, Sec. of Homeland Sec. put in charge of the Fed. relief also claimed the same, that the storm had exceeded “anybody’s foresight”.
POOR FORESIGHT. As I grew up, my father as an engineer would point out design flaws; one thing he called my attention to is how most towns in our home state of Kansas were built in the rivers. In KS the rivers don’t have much water, but when they do, people call it a flood, because they have built their towns within the river. I am aware of only one city that wised up, & moved out of the river! Chelsea, Iowa had 15 “floods” in 25 years, and in 1994 decided to move to higher ground. They got realistic, it was easier to manage their people, than to manage a river that wants to flow. Historically, poor foresight has extended to almost every type of natural disaster that threatens the United States. In 1915, a category 4 hurricane missed New Orleans & still killed 275 people. The evidence from history was there for people to see what could happen & later did in Katrina. From 1925 to 1935 4,000 people died in Florida from hurricanes. It was very obvious what the vulnerabilities of the state were, yet essentially nothing was done to prepare, & the extent of the threat basically covered up. In 1935, the Feds sent dissatisfied vets to the Florida Keys to work to get rid of them protesting in the bonus marches in Wash. D.C. They were given inadequate housing conditions when they arrived in the Keys, & they arrived in time for about 400 of them to be killed in the Florida Keys Labor Day hurricane.
POOR PRIORITIES. In researching cities hit by hurricanes, tsunamis, tornadoes, floods & fires you will often come across ridiculous pork barrel projects where the city govt. has spent lavish amounts of money on to enrich their friends, while ignoring important projects to defend their cities from natural disasters. Louisiana was guilty of that prior to Katrina. In 1979, Pres. Carter created FEMA for natural disaster relief. Reagan & Bush took it in a different direction. Reagan put a retired National Guard general Giuffrida in charge of FEMA; Giuffrida was an expert in military population control, and between ’82-’91, FEMA spent $3 billion on protecting govt. officials & the govt. during war, while only spending $243 million on natural disaster relief. The priorities of FEMA have been geared towards protecting the govt. and martial law! Col. Oliver North helped with much of FEMA’s planning in the ‘80’s.
POOR STANDARDS. With as much govt. regulation as there is, one would think that the local, state, & Fed. govt. would have us prepared for disasters. Historically that has not been the case. Apparently, it has been bad for profits to sincerely prepare therefore building codes have been woefully inadequate no matter how much warning history has given! For instance, Charleston, SC has been hit by hurricanes, fires, earthquakes, and plagues since the first people moved there in 1670. (It was called Charles Towne then, & renamed Charleston in 1783.) Even after 300 yrs. of hurricanes & Hurricane Hugo hitting in 1989, the city still did not improve its building codes (such as wind-loading criteria) to deal with hurricanes. In some places where codes have been in place, disasters reveal that the codes were not enforced.
POOR RESPONSES. I want to focus only on one example of this (of many potential ones)…that is FEMA in New Orleans after Katrina. Not only were they very slow in responding, they deliberately prevented emergency relief!!! Brown, the head of FEMA, told all fire & emergency services not to respond to Hurricane Katrina without specific requests by the appropriate authorities. FEMA prevented the Astor Hotel’s evacuation of their approx. 500 guests. FEMA turned away trailer trucks loaded with drinking water for the city, and stopped the Coast Guard from delivering 1,000 gal. of diesel fuel. They cut the emergency communications lines into the Parish, and the sheriff of Jefferson Parish (parishes are the equivalent of counties) had to restore the communication lines & then post armed guards to protect it from being disabled by FEMA. Over 50 civilian aircraft came in to answer requests from hospitals to evacuate their patients. FEMA prevented them from saving people. In some cases they were not even allowed to land by FEMA. Air medical services had many of their emergency aircraft idled by FEMA. Emergency relief sent into New Orleans area to help was often confiscated by FEMA and never arrived to help victims. FEMA replaced the hospital identification bracelets on some patients being evacuated or transferred with FEMA ID bracelets, causing hospital personnel to lose track of their patients. One hospital CEO stated that three months after the storm, the hospital staff still could not locate some of their patients who had been evacuated. Doctors were prevented from saving the lives of patients because the Feds gave them mops and ordered them to mop instead of tend to patients. They sadly mopped while people died around them. When the National Guard finally came into the city, eyewitnesses told me that initially they thought the Guard was there to save them until they realized the Guard came in like a conquering army shooting people. FEMA has had a consistently disastrous record of disaster response; New Orleans was no exception. Although for some reason, someone had stockpiled 10,000 body bags prior to Katrina! Hmmm.
POOR ACCOUNTABILITY. The Navy in WW 2, named Pacific Typhoons with female names. In 1950, the Weather Bureau used that example to formalize naming hurricanes after women. From the looks of how things were done, it appears to me that this was part of psy-op to make people think these hurricanes were wild & out-of-control “females” that emotionally stir up without predictability. And like in Katrina, the insider firm Kellogg, Brown & Root got a no-bid reconstruction contract from the Feds!! America has had plenty of natural calamities, and seldom do the dysfunctional irresponsible officials responsible to protect the public ever get in trouble, even when the proof is available that they did not do their duty. The director of the National Hurricane Ctr. in May, 2005 publicly warned about New Orleans, “I can’t emphasize enough how concerned I am with southeast Louisiana because of its unique characteristics, its complex levee system.” A simple look at the map shows water all around a city which lays at sea level or BELOW sea level. The Mississippi River is to the south, to the east is Lake Borgne, to the north is Lake Pontchartrain, and dotting the area are bayous & small lakes. It was an accident waiting to happen.
POOR REPORTING. Now that the Internet provides a voice to the people, maybe scandalous false reporting will be exposed. Returning to Charleston, SC as an example, in 1885 a powerful hurricane leveled the city and did millions of dollars of damage. But the mayor feared that allowing outside help would tarnish the city’s reputation, so the mayor & other officials allowed thousands of people to suffer while they lied to the country that everything had been taken care of & was normal. They used the words “normal life…restored”. They refused relief assistance. Meanwhile the death rate doubled and many people survived in the most miserable of conditions. Another example of false reporting by city officials is the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake (7.7 on the Richter scale) that burned 28,000 buildings down. The official city figure for dead & missing was 674. Historical research confirms by name 3,000 deaths, and suggests the toll was more like 5,000 dead! Whole sections of the town were by the way wiped out. Again city officials manipulated press releases in relation to their own agendas.
FINAL THOUGHTS. I have winced multiple times listening to mainstream media call these natural disasters “Acts of God”. It seems they delight in making God out to be an unpredictable cruel entity. Considering that someone’s death due to your neglect was serious in the Bible, and even today carries legal blame, a proper view of criminal neglect should cause some prosecution in some of these cases. Christ spoke of responsibility & punishment, “For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more.” LK 12:48b