The recovery of survivors from New Orleans has left a lot to be desired. A friend wrote me outraged that babies are dying for lack of adequate food, shelter, etc. How can this be in the richest, most creative, most powerful nation in the world?
I think the answer is as follows: We haven’t had a disaster like this in a long, long time and when it happened in the past, the vast majority of victims died rather than surviving. We have not been faced with something of this magnitude spread over such a great geographic area, probably ever. Certainly, we haven’t seen a major inner city area suddenly and violently reclaimed by nature.
FEMA probably had enough water, food, drugs, and bandages ready, but not the kind of massive mobilization of search and rescue workers needed for a disaster like this. It was simply incomprehensible.
We don’t keep an army of rescue workers waiting around for something like Katrina. I’m not sure we could even afford to do so. But the situation is grave and what must be considered is something new. We can’t let the victims die. We have to mobilize. That means it may be time to consider conscription of boats, buses, helicopters, etc. Maybe even the conscription of men if volunteers can’t be found. I know I’m offending libertarians. But it may be time to think on those lines. Actually, it simply is time.