Strange Musings *hyuk*
Wednesday, August 31, 2005
  11:04 AM — Comparisons
Am I the only one out there offended by the repeated comparisons of Hurricane Katrina to the Asian Tsunami or Hiroshima and Nagasaki? Yeah, it's a disaster, yeah the city's wiped out, yeah a million people are without homes for the next month or year, yeah a few hundred people died. But WTF?! You had warning, you could've gotten out! You had disaster relief people just begging to help you leave. Heck, you had a mandatory evacuation! Of the 1,200 people so far rescued from rooftops in New Orleans, how many of them genuinely COULDN'T leave before the hurricane? None! They all could've gotten help to leave. I can count maybe 5 deaths that were inevitable: 3 senior citizens from a nursing home who had heart attacks or something when being evacuated, and a few more people who died from tornados in Alabama.

The Asian Tsunami (26 Dec 2004) gave no warning to the undeducated people in its swath of destruction. There was no infrastructure for repair and relief in many of the countries affected. 150,000 people died. The destructions of Hiroshima (6 Aug 1945) and Nagasaki (9 Aug 1945) were man-made, hell, they were American-made. We could've given warning but didn't. There were around 120,000 immediate fatalities, or around 340,000 including later deaths from radiation.

We are so small, but our egos are so huge to think this little event is notable.

Actually, most of the people who stayed behind probably couldn't have left. New Orleans is a city. Lots of people who live in cities are poor. They don't own cars, and since apparently the Greyhound bus station was closed since Saturday, they had no affordable means of escape. And if a family near the poverty line did manage to get out of the city, where would they stay? Unfortunately, escaping a situation like this turned out to be a privilege.
When I say "leave," I mean "get to the Superdome or other shelter." There were busses to help with that.

I've heard one semi-convincing argument regarding not going to the Superdome, and one that I'm skeptical of. The convincing one is that pets may not have been allowed, so people with pets who couldn't get out of the city would have stayed in their homes with the pets.

The one I'm skeptical of regards how admission to the Superdome was handled, that people being admitted had to display their prescription medications and photo ID which were compared against each other, and there may have been some sort of frisking or metal detectors for weapons also. I can see the weapons checks, that makes sense when there's a chance of riot in that many people, but checking if someone's on birth control? I am skeptical that that occurred. And supposedly once a person checked in, s/he was forcibly prevented from leaving. Again, I'm only 50% convinced that last one is happening, but if so I understand the need for it.

The argument the person telling this story made was that he'd rather not go than be subjected to those conditions - even though I'm not sure how he would've known of all this before he was already there. Even if that really was happening, I would have gone, as I was under the impression that disaster was inevitable. And if someone decided to take their chances, well, so be it, let the water take them! Or at least charge them for their rescue.
I hear you. I really feel for the people in New Orleans. What a disaster. But...Hiroshima and Nagasaki...where millions died? And so many generations that had birth defects.

I mean it's good that it's really nothing like an atomic bomb or even the tsunami.

We live in the age of hyerbole. Sad!
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