Hurricane plan should have been in place

Published 12:00 am Monday, September 26, 2005

Editor, the News-Herald:

For the past two or three weeks I have, as I think you have, watched and listened with a very heavy heart, grief, sympathy, compassion and a degree of disgust and shame, to the news of those who are so desperately affected by the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

I also listened, for several days, to the weather report prior to the storm warning everyone of the damage that might be expected with a category three hurricane. Then, as time passed, the hurricane increased to a category 4 and 5 and it was predicted the states of Florida, Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana would be hit hard. Wasn’t that enough to take immediate action to prepare for the worst?

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Was it decided that the many victims who would be left behind were not worth the expense involved in evacuating them to a safer place? Did they not deserve to have the necessary supplies and assistance to at least be given a fair chance of survival? I know a storm of this magnitude may have been beyond most everyone’s imagination, but certainly beyond anyone’s expectation that our country was so ill prepared, so disorganized and so apparently incapable of taking immediate action in an orderly manner to evacuate people from harm’s way.

We do not know why God allowed this great disaster to strike these states of this great, boastful and bountiful United States of America. Yes, we are provided with an abundance of blessings in this nation, with plenty of everything necessary for all of God’s people to live comfortably, healthy and happy. Yet, there are too many people who want all they can get and all they can take from others.

It appears that America is geared toward creating three classes of people in our country: Billionaires and millionaires; the working class, those who work a lifetime to live halfway comfortably as long as they can stay in good and health and dare not get sick or retire; and those who are forced to live in a system that is set up to make them poorer and keep them poor generation after generation.

I, for one, am proud to be a citizen of the United States of America. Yet the longer I live, the more I see and hear and the more I know that some things never change. I often wonder if our policymakers have ever read the 25th chapter, 45th verse of Matthew that says: &uot;Then He will answer them, saying, assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.&uot; That means everything in every way.

Every day we hear more and more excuses given for the failure to help the hurricane victims much earlier and in a more organized manner. This is just another disaster that America is experiencing. The first and utmost disaster is our country is suffering for the lack of good, truthful and honest leadership. Americans should not be deliberately misled by those who have ulterior motives to gain your votes at election times and even worse, to do sunder the guise of Christianity.

Aren’t we tired of the good ol’ boys looking out for their good ol’ boys who prove over and over they are just ol’ boys, not the kind of strong, Christian men we need to lead this great nation in a fair, honest and just manner? Think back, if you will, on some of the policies set, legislation drawn up, laws passed and then orchestrated efforts made to promote, support, and pull all kinds of strings to get things passed, right or wrong. This nation has had many opportunities to correct wrongs, build good, lasting relationships, discard hatred, prejudices and malice, but when some work hard to establish a level playing field for everyone, there are those who work twice as hard to keep the same old ideas and selfish ways that have been a part of them their lifetime.

Much time is spent trying to get bills passed that are unfair to minorities and the poor. Such continued actions contribute to the disgrace and shame that our country is struggling and suffering with on this day. Much has been done that has been detrimental to the freedom and liberation of those who have, to a great extent, provided through sweat, blood and tears, what it took to build this great nation.

Our country, America, that brags and boasts about our power and ability to do so many powerful things; a country that has planes, ships and all kinds of equipment to take over countries all over the world, so said, but has ruthlessly fallen far short of making good on the messages that were made by the commander-in-chief and the promises made to thousands and thousands of black, basically poor, people in this hurricane season.

It is regrettable that such insensitive and not caring attitudes were shown openly and definitively before the eyes of the world. There are always lame excuses or so called justifiable reasons given for doing or not doing things in, with, and for the minority communities. When are the leaders of our cities, states and our nation coming out of denial?

The cover has been pulled over your eyes, America. The world knows your true color. Does it require too much of you to just take a few minutes to try to understand the communities you continue to create? It takes the same things for all people to be successful, to live comfortably and be able to pay their way, but our controlling powers don’t seem to know it, admit it, or have to courage to address it.

When you look today at pictures of all these suffering people, the disproportionate response to calls for help and no services or food or even water provided to thousands and thousands of people who were also created by the same God who created you and me. What do you think? Can you find rhyme or reason that 98 percent of those people calling and begging for life are black and also poor? The remainder consists of a few whites who are probably poor also. Does anyone think that even one person would put himself in poverty deliberately? The dumbest person among us can see that there’s something very wrong with this picture and the reality of this situation is no accident.

Was it just coincidental that all these black and poor, few white and poor and the remaining sick, old and poor people were sent to this so-called safe place to escape the danger of flooding and winds? Was it possible that someone suspected that the Super Dome would be the bowl to catch the water from the lake they spent millions of dollars to prohibit just what happened? I can’t but wonder as I hear repeated cries for help after four days and nights with nobody fulfilling the promise that help is on the way.

I pray that the president of our United States, the congressmen, the senators, every department head and every person in any responsible position in government in America, have been working and are now working with a clear conscience that they have done their very best in every way to address the devastation these human beings have experienced and are yet experiencing. My heart goes out to the brave people from all agencies, individuals and volunteers who risked their lives to help save others.

None of us can say what we would have done in like situations had we been the responsible people to take charge following this storm. But because of the extent of destruction that was readily visible, most people would want the directions and commands from the top commander-in-chief to quickly authorize, support and enforce immediate actions for more successful results. Every responsible individual, agency, commission, military or civilian group or any related services should have been called to action ASAP. The plan of action should have been in place and reviewed before the storm actually struck these areas.

Those who have been in the hurricane zone, giving of their very best, need to be commended, prayed for, loved and supported by everyone in the nation. You are appreciated.

Let us all pray for our country and our leaders. Our nation has suffered a great loss in lives, resources and assets. And above all, remember, &uot;God knows all, sees al and still controls all.&uot;

Ruby H. Walden

Suffolk