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I still don't get why so many people are upset at the Katrina response.

Sure, people were uncomfortable for a few days in the Superdome. But what matters most? They were safe and dry, and after a few days, they were taken care of. And in the meantime, thousands of lives were saved by federal, state, and local officials away from the Superdome.

Obviously, the response was not perfect. The Superdome evacuation could have happened sooner, or better management and supply of the facility could have been executed. But I don't see how this merits a condemnation of the entire enterprise.

Further, and more disturbing, I see an effort among most people in and out of government to encourage the government to take steps to, next time, make sure that all the millions of people affected by potential disasters are taken care of by the government. This could not be more wrong-headed.

People must plan to take care of themselves. That's the real lesson of Katrina. People need to have medicines, diapers, bottled water, food, and so on stocked up in case of emergency. This is not an option, this is an obligation to your family, at the very least, and to the rest of society who will be providing those things to you if you didn't plan ahead to provide them to yourself.

Maybe that's why I don't see the response as negatively as so many other people did. I don't see it as the government's obligation to provide these basic needs for several days to people who could have planned ahead to provide them for themselves. Obviously, no matter how you plan, you might end up in a situation where it does no good: maybe you were away from home when the disaster struck, maybe you had no means to transport your provisions when you evacuated, and so on. But that surely does not account for the lack of provisions among the overwhelming majority of people in the Superdome.

It's not that I don't feel sorry for them; I do. It's not that I think we should not have helped them, and helped them sooner; I do. But I don't blame government for them being in that predicament in the first place.


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<pudge/*> (pronounced "PudgeGlob") is thousands of posts over many years by Pudge.

"It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt."

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