Thursday, November 1, 2012

Emergency preparation, part 15: Looking over the post-Sandy mess

Those who've been following this series of articles will have found much food for thought in the events in the north-eastern United States as Sandy - first a tropical storm, then a hurricane, then a so-called Superstorm - moved through.  I hope my readers in the areas affected by Sandy are as well as may be expected, and that your emergency preparations were (and will continue to be) sufficient to see you through.  Unfortunately, to judge from news reports, very few appear to have been sufficiently prepared.

One story that really got my goat was the tragic tale of a mother and her two sons, aged 2 and 4.  Her vehicle got stuck in flood waters, and she took her two children with her to a nearby house to ask for assistance.  Unbelievably, the man who answered the door turned them away, refusing to help - and shortly afterwards, while she was clinging to a railing and struggling to hold onto her kids in the storm, a wave washed them out of her arms.  Their bodies were found today.  I can't say what I'd like to do to the man who refused to help her and her sons, because such actions would be illegal . . . but that doesn't stop me hoping that the Golden Rule still applies.  I hope he really needs help soon;  and when he does, may he receive precisely as much assistance as he rendered to that poor woman and her children.  At that time, I hope he remembers that "what goes around, comes around".

It seems that gasoline shortages will endure for at least another week.  There have been reports of fistfights and guns being drawn over access to gasoline pumps, queue-jumping, etc.  I hope my readers stored extra gasoline at home, so they could fill their tanks without having to be part of the post-storm madness.  (This is likely to be even more important in the light of the ongoing closure of New York's subway system, which doesn't look like coming online anytime soon - certainly not until next week.  Certain routes may be shut down for weeks or months while spare parts are ordered and repairs made.  Since parts of the subway are well over a century old, few of the firms that made the original equipment are still around, and they don't have stocks of spare or replacement parts any more.  That's going to cause big delays.  Until mass transit systems are fully operational once more, private transport is going to have to take up the slack - but with limited gasoline supplies, that'll be impossible in the short term.)

I've been particularly annoyed by attempts on the part of big-government supporters to portray the recovery effort as essentially a big-government operation, 'proving' the necessity for FEMA and other agencies to be expanded.  This is complete and utter nonsense.  I presume you've already read my comments about FEMA, the Red Cross and other relief agencies after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005, so I won't repeat them here.  Suffice it to say that private individuals, organizations and agencies did a heck of a lot more, a great deal more efficiently, than any government body.  (Have we so quickly forgotten the tens of thousands of formaldehyde-contaminated trailers distributed by FEMA, and the effects this had on the health of those who survived the hurricanes?)  As Breitbart points out, private businesses do a better job of relief than government organizations.  I'm thinking that right now, those living within range of a Wal-Mart, Home Depot, Lowes or other big-box store are going to have much better access to essential supplies than those relying on FEMA!

As PawPaw puts it (and living in Hurricane Alley in Louisiana, near where I used to live, he should know):

Get to work, quit whining, and start rebuilding.  That's what Louisianans and Floridians do after a storm.  Y'all had a little measly Cat 1 and I didn't even see that it spawned any tornadoes or anything.  The death toll is what?  About 30?  Sucks to be them, but that's not hardly enough to talk about.  Hell, Tuscaloosa lost more than that to a tornado last year.

I thought New Yorkers were tough.

I can't help thinking that he has a point.

Finally, in the wake of Sandy (and remembering my comments a few weeks ago about 'bugging out' and vehicles in which to do so), if you're flush with cash, a California company has just what you need.  It's overkill to the max (insanely so), but if you want it, they'll build it for you!  (I'd use the money to buy several more normal vehicles, plus travel and cargo trailers and emergency supplies.  For the maximum price quoted, I reckon I could equip a dozen people to survive for a decade - with vehicles, clothing, food, medication, firearms, ammunition, the lot!)


EDITED TO ADD:  I've written a follow-up article with more post-Sandy reflections.  You'll find it here.


Borepatch said...

Peter, I'm skeptical about the story of the Mother and the kids. I'm reserving judgement as to whether it's true or not. It's exactly the sort of thing that the biased media would play up, and that's exactly the sort of thing that would encourage an irresponsible parent to use to deflect blame from their poor decisions.

I'm a bit sorry to be so cynical, but looking around it's hard not to be.

Mad Jack said...

Borepatch said it first, but it's what I was thinking when I read the story. I think it's likely that there's some exaggeration here, if not outright fabrication. However, even if the woman's story is true and accurate, the mystery man who denied shelter to Glenda Moore and her two children has not broken any law that I'm aware of. Now me, personally, I would have let them inside, but I'm armed and I know how to shoot. I think guns are all but completely illegal in NYC - truth or fiction?

Peter said...

It's actually a good thing that much of the New York subway's switching and signalling equipment is quite old. Being so old, the equipment does not have as many fragile electronic components as newer versions.

Sebastian said...

Funny, the way I read it was that the kids got washed away when her car stalled, then she tried to get people out of their houses to help her find them...

Peter said...

There are a lot of unanswered questions about the Staten Island woman whose kids were washed away. For one thing, if her story is to be believed, she left her house (which is in a perfectly safe location) at the height of the storm to stay with relatives in Brooklyn. Getting there would require driving over the Verrazano Bridge, which is in a very exposed location and in any event would have been closed before she could have reasonably been expected to reach it. She then turned onto a road that runs directly along the ocean rather than getting to the bridge via a more inland and protected route.