Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Rant: Government and Mandatory Evacuation

I've been reading about the mandatory evacuations ordered by our iron fisted government officials who are ostensibly concerned about public safety, and whose Draconian orders are carried out by enthusiastic police who are concerned about making the sheeple obey orders for their own good.  Having lived in Florida and been through a few hurricanes and the inevitable mandatory evacuation orders, I decided to sound off.
In my experience, almost all orders given by the government to the residents are not motivated by a desire to keep people safe.  These orders are given primarily to ensure the convenience of the government and the government employees, and secondarily to gratify the egos involved.  When you're the Junta it's fun to make the monkeys jump.  If you don't believe me, go ask New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and he'll tell you how right he was to order a mandatory evacuation.  Bloomberg is a control freak who won a popularity contest and what he really knows about emergencies and helpful government response wouldn't crowd the head of a pin.

Like I said, the real reason behind a mandatory evacuation is that while we are governed by idiots, the fool on the throne is just smart enough to realize that he isn't alone.  There are other dumb people residing in the State and they are all fully capable of doing dumb things.  This could be ignored except for the proviso that when some numbskull gets himself into a real jam, the government is going to have to extricate him or the State leader will face the wrath of the news media, all of whom are having a slow day.  Two instances that immediately occur to me are locking the keys in the car and snowstorms in Wisconsin.

Some years ago when I was South of the Mason-Dixon line I pulled into a gas station during the afternoon rush hour and filled my tank.  The price had just dropped and traffic was extra heavy, and I locked my keys in my car.  I know, I'm a genius.  The gas station attendant gave me the usual case of the red ass and called the police, who arrived in about ten minutes.  The cops unlocked my car (for which I thanked them profusely) and went on their way.  My point here is that these men had better things to do then getting my ragged ass out of a sling, but they had standing orders to bail me out anyway.  I was glad that they did, but seeing as how it was my own stupidity that got me into this mess, I wouldn't have thought any less of the police if they hadn't rescued me, although not everyone shares my opinion.

On February 5th back in 2008, Wisconsin got a two day snow storm that dumped well over a foot of snow on Dane county, which contains Madison, the State capital.  I was living in Madison at the time and we were sent home from work at 3:00 PM.  I lived about a mile from work and while I made it home in good shape, I'm a skillful driver, I'm careful to the point of being paranoid and it wasn't an easy drive – I could have easily lost control going down a hill, but skill, experience and quick thinking prevented me from becoming a statistic.  Plus I was lucky.  Anyway, I hadn't really been watching the weather very closely, but by the time I drove home it was bad and given any choice at all, I would not have driven anywhere in this storm.  I had to get home though, so I drove – knowing that I could, if forced, walk the distance.  When I watched the news that afternoon I learned that about 2000 motorists headed West on I-90 didn't share my feelings about snowstorms and being stranded.  These pinheads took off from Chicago in their four wheel drive SUVs right at the start of one of the worst snowstorms of the year with absolutely no thought in their head except to get to their vacation home in Wisconsin Dells and enjoy the storm in comfort.  They could have stayed home.  They didn't.  Guess who gets to go and rescue them.  Now,  if I were dumb enough to attempt to travel during a truly monumental blizzard and got stranded on a highway, I'd curse myself and no one else.  If anyone were generous enough to bring me some supplies that I should have had with me in the first place, I'd be extremely grateful.  Naturally that's not what happened here.  The stranded idiots complained that the government didn't do enough for them, that they were cold and miserable and it was the government's fault because the government didn't prevent them from driving on I-90 in the first place, and that they had to walk out into the snow to go to the toilet.  Well, what can we say?  Life's just hard sometimes.  If the government would have just let these fools freeze to death the average intelligence of Chicago would have risen some infinitesimally small fraction of a percentage and their demise would serve as a warning to others.  But that's not what happened.  What happened was the State spent a small fortune bringing comfort to the idiots (none of whom died) and eventually plowing out the snow and getting the traffic moving again. The fallout from this event was significant and resulted in an official finger pointing and name calling contest, which then led to the official creation of an official document that officially said that somewhere, someone was at fault - Response to Traffic and Public Safety Issues in February 5-6 2008 Winter Storm. Under internal pressure from government workers who were understandably reluctant to take it in the neck for Doyle, he eventually went out on a limb: Stranded on I-90
However, he [WI Gov. Doyle - MJ] says drivers need to consider the weather conditions and avoid travel when it becomes dangerous.
Which is as close as any government official has ever come to stating that we the people might consider thinking about taking responsibility for our own actions.  Not actually take responsibility, mind you.  Just consider it.

Then there's Irene, the little hurricane that couldn't.  Granted that NYC residents aren't used to dealing with hurricanes but they should be used to Bloomberg by now and have learned not to trust the government.  My expectations of NY residents are wrong, but ever the optimist I hope that by next week New Yorkers will have drawn different conclusions about government and executive orders.

Bloomberg defends mandatory evacuations during Irene
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Monday defended the city's decision to evacuate more than 370,000 NYC residents from their homes in low-lying regions ahead of what turned out to be Tropical Storm Irene
That's three hundred and seventy thousand people looking for new digs, and most could easily have stayed at home.

There's tons of information on preparedness, but the truth is that the people reading and writing this advice will likely never evacuate unless they, personally, believe that evacuation is in their best interests.  That's their own personal best interests.  Should these people be unlucky enough to be involved in a disaster of some kind, we might read about them helping the National Guard, but it's unlikely that any of them will really need help.  Here's one man who has everything well organized: Hurricane Preparation in Houston by Donald Ray Burger, Attorney at Law

If you are ever ordered to evacuate, for Heaven's sake make up your own mind instead of blindly following along with the crowd.  Leaving your home is a major change in your lifestyle and you shouldn't leave that decision to someone else.  At least I wouldn't let someone else decide that I should abandon ship.  If you do evacuate, you won't be allowed to return to your home just any old time you'd like.  You'll have to wait until the government decides it's safe for you to return.  They use road blocks to accomplish this in Florida.

The idea of a mandatory evacuation is actually the government stating that someone far removed from your situation and who doesn't know you exist knows far better than you just what is best for you.  Screw 'em.  Construction is pretty good in the U.S., and your home or apartment will protect you from a whole host of harmful things, including your distant neighbors who may want to share your preparedness.  Consider that a common sight in Florida is a hand-lettered sign that reads: You loot, We shoot.  You'll see those signs in the neighborhoods where people chose to ignore the orders for mandatory evacuation.

I was listening to National Public Radio yesterday and the twits answering the phone lines failed to screen the callers properly.  The Talking Head was taking comments in everyone's grab and go bag, when the whole thing slammed to a stop when one caller finished his short list with "...and a .22 pistol."  This was followed by a long dead air space while the Talking Head tried to recover from shock.  She then asked what the pistol was for, hunting or protection.  When the caller responded with "Both - food supplies will all be gone in a month and people will begin stealing." he didn't last much longer.  Then several others called in and mentioned casually that they also carried firearms as a matter of course.  One guy said he packed salt, chocolate and a shotgun.  Smart man.  I'm going to add the salt and chocolate to my bag.


Beat And Release said...

Ah, the horror stories I could tell about Hugo in '89. Of course, public servants can't evacuate and, in fact, are often called back early from vacations to serve. I did ensure we laid on plenty of supplies prior to the disaster and we lived pretty well by candlelight for a few weeks. Twenty pound blocks of dry ice also served us well and lasted for a few days.

Since then I have obtained a small generator that will run the freezer, the refrigerator, a light and the television. It's called initiative. I don't need the government to survive. Unfortunately, that mindset is becoming very scarce.

Mad Jack said...

I don't need the government to survive.

Exactly. The government doesn't like that and my own observation is that the government is making life just a little more difficult every year for anyone who wants to be self-sufficient.