At a press conference this morning on Staten Island, a host of local officials, including Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, gathered to highlight the needs of the hard-hit borough in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. And, although many pols spoke, no one was more impassioned than Borough President James Molinaro, who called the Red Cross an “absolute disgrace” and even urged the public to cease giving them contributions.
“Because the devastation in Staten Island, the lack of a response,” Mr. Molinaro said to explain his comment to NBC after the press conference. “You know, I went to a shelter Monday night after the storm. People were coming in with no socks, with no shoes. They were in desperate need. Their housing was destroyed. They were crying. Where was the Red Cross? Isn’t that their function? They collect millions of dollars. Whenever there’s a drive in Staten Island, we give openly and honestly. Where are they? Where are they? I was at the South Shore yesterday, people were buried in their homes. There the dogs are trying to find bodies. The people there, the neighbors who had no electricity, were making soup. Making soup. It’s very emotional because the lack of a response. The lack of a response. They’re supposed to be here….They should be on the front lines fighting, and helping the people.”
Hey, you know who should be on the front lines fighting and helping the people? The people!
I know it’s easy to Monday morning quarterback something like this, but this hurricane didn’t drop down on them without warning. See this? Hundred and fifty bucks. It will hold a weeks worth of food, water filter, flashlights, batteries, clothes, toiletries, camp stove and fuel, radio, medical supplies and every other item a person would need to keep them going for about a week…and still have some room left to spare. (Or, you might wanna get two.) Waterproof, airtight, rugged, durable and all but hurricane-proof. You don’t even have to screw with it….just load it up, rotate the contents once a year, and tuck it away somewhere you can get to it so it’s there when you need it. When the winds and rain stop and you’re standing in what used to be your house you can unpack it and be in a position to be a ‘self-rescuer’…which is nanny-state talk for ‘someone who can take care of themselves’. And once you can take care of yourself you’re in a much better position to take care of others.
Imagine five or six guys, or two or three families, who were all on the same wavelength. Each one having a box like that for each member of the group or family. Now you have a team of people who aren’t worried abut how they’re going to eat, wash their hair, or take a crap. While everyone else is whining about ‘wheres the .gov?’ they can actually, you know, get stuff done….dig out their rigs, set up a radio network, help their neighbors, whatever.
I should go surf the LDS websites and see how the Mormons are faring out there. I don’t know if the heavy-urban ones are as prepared and organized as our western-rural ones but if they are, boy, there’s a crowd who you aren’t going to see on the ‘victim’ side of a Red Cross food line.
I recall saying that Katrina was going to be the benchmark for modern American disaster planning and armchair-quarterbacking for the next decade or so. I’m waiting for the comparisons to begin. I know its only a matter of time before the usual suspects start saying that because of the ‘flavor’ of NYC, they got a better response than ‘chocolate’ New Orleans.