Thursday, September 08, 2005

Ruth's Morning Edition Report

Ruth: This is not one of my regular Morning Edition Reports. I'm not mentioning NPR or spotlighting Pacifica programming that I've not yet been able to.
On KPFA's Evening News, I heard a story that probably touched home with me due to my own age and I wanted to share it.
In New Orleans, an elderly woman is presumably dead. Many people are. The natural disaster became a crime of negligence due to the refusal by our government to take care of the needs of the areas involved. Priorities were elsewhere and we've seen the results of the "What me worry?" attitude all too clearly.
What stood out about this story to me was that the elderly woman is most likely still in her apartment and, most likely, dead. She was unable to get down the stairs due to being disabled and she called for help over a week ago. She was told help was on the way.
Over a week later, help still has not found the time, as of the reporting on Wednesday evening, to make it to the woman's apartment.
I am fortunate. I have my mobility. I have family near by. I do not know the woman's situation but I know that she was disabled, that she phoned for help, that she was told help was on the way, and that, over a week later, help still has not come.
You hear smugness on the part of some commentators who take the attitudes of, "Well why didn't they get out? If they stayed it was their own fault."
I do not buy that argument. Hurricanes are not uncommon to the areas involved. Just as people living in Oklahoma are always facing tornados, people in these areas are used to facing hurricanes. They were not prepared for one of the severity of Hurricane Katrina.
After the hurricane hit, our government dragged its feet and was slow to respond. The "response plan" appears to have not been a plan.
People ended up trapped. Some, like the woman I heard of, may have believed that help was on the way because they were told that.
There is a move to once again take the responsibility that our national government, and the Bully Boy, should bear and push it on to individuals. This is not a problem for individuals.
A national disaster requires a national response.
Chain of command carries the responsibility up to the top, to the Bully Boy.
Instead of blaming the people who lost belongings and lives due to the fact that their government failed them, we need to remember that a federal government is supposed to respond swiftly to national emergencies.
Listening to the story, I really wanted to believe that at least this one disabled, elderly woman would be found and she would be okay. I still have that hope even though it is not a realistic one.
The woman had hopes that "help is on the way." So did the others who paid for those hopes with their lives. Congress needs to call for an immediate investigation to find out why our government failed the people.