Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Bad decisions

One thing that has bothered me about all the hurricane coverage is the complete lack of focus on the bad decisions that many people made before the storm hit. I know there are issues regarding people with no cars in New Orleans, but the Mayor did send buses throughout the city on Sunday before the storm collecting people to bring them to the Superdome. As bad as it was there, people did survive it.

How many people were like Debbie Este?
Before Katrina hit the Gulf Coast on Sunday, August 28, Debbie said she hadn't paid much attention to the warnings and didn't want to evacuate without the family's pets. "I never once dreamed ... I just thought it would be a little wind and rain and then it would just blow over."
Este's mother, who lived with her, died waiting to be rescued. Again, I say that the National Hurricane Center has to evaluate their rating system and whether they tend to over-hype their storm warnings.

Taking the NHC's failings into account, I would still like to know why journalists are so reluctant to say that many people are dead thanks to their own bad decisions.

The media has no problem noting the poor judgment of those who die while driving drunk or taking drugs. So, why is ignoring an evacuation order not treated in a similar manner? Surely everyone has to take responsibility to look after themselves as best they can?

We still don't know how many died nor do we know what options each of the dead had or didn't have with regards to evacuating. For those who were left to die in a nursing home, personal responsibility clearly doesn't come into it. But, how many of the 650 known dead lost their lives because they opted to ride this one out.

I doubt we'll ever know, but I do think some focus on personal responsibility is needed. So far, we've heard a lot about what the government didn't do, but most of what the government failed to do was in reaction to the initial failing by individuals to get out of harm's way.