Sunday, September 04, 2005

Put it in Perspective

This post will contain very little commentary from me, as this LA Times article is quite revealing.
"Hour by hour, the situation on the ground is improving," Bush said. "Yet the enormity of the task requires more resources and more troops."

The pledges continued to sound hollow to many of those awaiting relief in 95-degree heat and stifling humidity, including Larry Martin, 35, who had been waiting four days to be bused from the convention center.

"They embraced and they cried on Sept. 11; they cried for the tsunami," Martin said.

"But they just left us here to die…. We survived the hurricane, and now we're still fighting to survive a week later. It's crazy."

I wonder how Mr. Martin has managed to ‘survive’ these past 35 years.
Soon after the president spoke, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) distributed a letter to Bush calling for immediate cash assistance for survivors.

"Only the federal government can adequately address the basic needs of our fellow Americans suffering from this disaster, and they deserve a better response from their government," they said.

I was mistakenly under the impression that the level of private giving has been unprecedented. Apparently, "only the federal government” can solve problems.
The displaced in Texas and other states welcomed their deliverance from the worst conditions in New Orleans, but their secondary shelters were hardly garden spots.

Inside Houston's Astrodome, evacuees stood in long lines for medical attention and showers. "I don't know how much longer I can take this," said Evonne Ripley, 28, of New Orleans.

Is this woman not free to seek other, more luxurious accommodations? Obviously, she’s in no position to complain about the provisions that others have graciously made available to her.
The top military commander in the disaster zone, U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Russel Honore, also expressed his sorrow but added that given the challenges, the military had responded in "record time."

Honore said the mood at the Superdome "has been tense. But guess what? There has been more talk of riots and disorder than there actually has been."

The general said evacuees would have left if the shelter had truly become intolerable.

"If there was a fire under your feet, would you stand there? Hell, no," said Honore, a Louisiana native. "There was an acceptable amount of risk. They would have come out of that place. It was better for them to stay."

…nuff said.
The millions of dollars pouring into various charities for hurricane victims was "unprecedented in recent American history," according to Stacy Palmer, editor of the Chronicle of Philanthropy. Three-quarters of the $400 million in contributions and pledges to date has gone to the American Red Cross.

Those figures dwarf the amounts given in the days immediately after the Indian Ocean tsunami ($79.8 million) and the terrorist attacks of 2001 ($24.8 million).

"The total amounts for Sept. 11 were over a billion dollars, but that took several months," Palmer said. "To have more than $404 million [after nine days], it is astonishing."

Juxtapose those figures with the asinine rhetoric of Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.). A little gratitude would be a welcome change, no?