Should we really trust the government with disaster prep?
After a short but unusually severe thunderstorm that roared through the D.C. area on Friday night, the entire Washington Metropolitan Area was thrown into chaos.
Three days later, countless traffic lights are still out, hundreds of thousands of residents are without power, including myself, grocery stores and gas station are closed for lack of power, and the federal government is encouraging employees to telework.
[SHTFplan Editor's note: Brilliant recommendation from the best and brightest – to "telework" when the grid is down. ]
Is this the work of a terrible terrorist attack? No, it is the complete disaster non-preparedness a decade after 9/11. Despite the fact that billions if not trillions have been spent since 9/11 on counter-terrorism and so-called "homeland security" measures, one of the major terrorist targets, the nation's capital, cannot cope with a severe thunderstorm.
I received a message from PEPCO that most D.C.-area residents may not have power until next Friday at 11:00 pm – a full week after the storm hit. With temperatures this week set for the mid to upper-90s, that is a long time for residents to be with air conditioning, or fans, or refrigerators.
Two years ago, the Washington Post's comprehensive examination of the billions of taxpayer dollars spent on "homeland security," "Top Secret America" reflected that the D.C. metropolitan area was burgeoning with infrastructure, though apparently none of it focused on keeping the D.C.-area up and running after a severe thunderstorm.
I am not the only D.C. taxpayer wondering, where are billions in "critical infrastructure" protection and "homeland security?" They are not going toward obvious solutions like putting power lines underground.
The D.C. area's responsiveness to unexpected events has not improved, but taxpayers' pockets have been drained to create an entire secret city of "national security" in northern Virginia. Making sure citizens have food and power in an emergency should be a top priority, not a distant second to security theater like taking our shoes off before getting on an airplane.
I'd like to hear from somebody who doesn't believe in global climate change. You know, to keep this thread balanced.
OP, I don't know what to tell you. The issues you raise have a lot to do with the DC metro mentality...everyone here tends to be overwhelmingly REACTIVE as opposed to PROACTIVE. Those who are looking for a babysitter are obviously going to be frustrated with the current situation, following a storm that occurred several days ago. But seriously, it's no secret that people should take certain measures to prepare for emergencies (stock up on food and water, never let their gas tank go past half full, plenty of flashlights, etc.). I was out of town for the storm, but when I returned back to Arlington, the lights were working and my Internet/cable were functioning as well. I credit Dominion for being competent (even during the pending hurricane last year, the lights in my building only flickered)...PEPCO ALWAYS has issues, and it's no surprise that it could be until another several days before they're able to restore service to customers. Maybe if DC weren't so full of a bunch of stodgy traditionalists who are against change...that's what's keeping most areas from cutting down trees or putting power lines underground. The 1% don't want their views tarnished.
R2, do you think the monopoly position various utilities "enjoy" makes them less likely to upgrade or create redundancy? Since there is no completion, there is no incentive to prepare for an event that might cause them to lose customers.
Just look at how incompetent FEMA is even in minor disasters. Wouldn't devolving those functions to the local level- thus allowing communities to create site specific disaster prep, and contract with neighboring communities or private companies (not crony companies like Blackwater or Haliburton) in case of a major disaster to provide supplemental help- provide a more robust and less expensive disaster recovery system?
[qote]allowing communities to create site specific disaster prep
There's nothing stopping them from doing that now. The prohibition on communities preparing their own disaster plans is a figment of your fevered imagination.
WE are the government in this country. Of the people, by the people, and for the people.
If you don't like how disaster prep is working, look at who you're voting for.
The more republicans cut the budget, the worse the government is going to be at providing emergency services.
You think it will be cheaper for individual communities to independently prepare for any manner of disaster? Imagine the waste of having each community stockpile anthrax vaccines or supplies to clean up mercuric chloride.
The USA has the worlds most expensive and ruthlessly efficient disaster plan. It is called the US Military.
The bad part, is the insanely huge and powerful US Military, will also be used internally in the event of domestic "political" disasters, not terrorism, POLITICAL disasters.
Read some William F. Nolan and George Clayton Johnson or BF Skinner, Ray Bradbury, George Orwell, to get an idea of why the Pentagons budget is still increasing during the Great Recession.
In Georgetown and just got my internet back late last night. What a disaster. I'd rather be sweltering than without ny net. I can always sit around naked in a tub of water.
My building is on an underground grid shared with GW Hospital and I have never lost power in over 20 years. Same this time - no power loss or phone loss - just my internet. Verizon customer service and information about the outage was abysmal.
Public service utilities are notoriously poorly run. They need as much regulation and supervision as possible. And, no, privatizing them is not the answer.
[quote]I'd like to hear from somebody who doesn't believe in global climate change.
They're waiting for winter to come around so they can claim the cold disproves global "warming."
I think there's some fundamental ignorance in this thread.
OP if you're going to copy paste from the internet CITE YOUR FUCKING SOURCE.
[quote]Should we really trust the government with disaster prep?
who then should step up? an improvised bucket brigade?
Shit happens. You can't expect government to prevent all disasters all the time. Nor can you expect them to make everything perfect instantaneously when it does happen. Mother Nature will Fuck. You. Up.
Government is the Corporations - there is no difference.
So the real question is, should you trust the Corporations?
[quote] Should we really trust the government with disaster prep?
Okay, OP. I nominate you. I prefer Scott toilet paper.
R15, it's rapidly heading there, and it will get there if Romney wins and the GOP takes over congress... but we're not quite there yet.
And it's not SUPPOSED to be that way.
Yeah, what about New Jersey. Over a week and no power for thousands of people.
Isn't it funny how the more technologically advanced "we" become, and the wealthier the ruling class, the more we seem to spiral back in time to an era of huddled masses yearning...for one thing or another.
Power lines + trees + fast wind = loss of electricity
I'm not sure what people think could be done to prevent this short of rewiring the entire country underground or cutting down all trees that might fall on a power line.
[quote]I'm not sure what people think could be done to prevent this short of rewiring the entire country underground or cutting down all trees that might fall on a power line.
Ok, I can understand that strong winds and falling trees can take out power, but then why does it take so long to restore it?
Do they have to quickly manufacture the replacement power lines?
To answer OP's question definitively: no, of course you can't trust the government to deal with disasters of any kind.
You need to step up and prepare yourself and your family for every conceivable emergency on your own. Start stockpiling now! Bullets, life rafts, underground bunkers, survivalist training, antibiotics, bug-out drills.
For additional tips, program "Doomsday Preppers" (I believe its on NatGeo) into your TiVo (for as long as electronic media still work).
Good luck to you all!
The Michigan Militia
Exactly, R22. Government is too centrally controlled (no one makes a decision without approval from the top) and inefficient (how do you allocate precious resources effectively when a committee controls it) to deal with disaster.
OP/R23 is such a moron he didn't even realize R22 was being sarcastic, and mocking him.
The government has always been responsible for disaster. When the Chicago fire made 300,000 people homeless, who fed them? The government, which also lightened the burden by comandeering the PRIVATE RAILROADS and forcing them to move 100,000 people out of Chicago to New York and points east in the immediate aftermath.
And this was at the height of the Gilded Age.
People who think the GOVERNMENT has no business in disaster preparedness are ignorant morons.
R24, in order to mock me R22 would have to have offered poor advice, or been overly alarmist. Nothing in his post was incorrect, if extremist in tone.
R25, you really want to use an example over 100 years old to illustrate how effective government is at crisis? Megafail.
"... but then why does it take so long to restore it?"
The longer the disaster or war takes, the more money we make.
Halliburton, Blackwater and Lynne Cheney
R27, look at how many executives of the companies you listed have been government officials and you will understand why governent cannot be entrusted with disaster prep.
OP/r23/r26 - you don't think that advice to "start stockpiling now -- Bullets, life rafts, underground bunkers, survivalist training, antibiotics, bug-out drills" is either poor advice, or overly alarmist?
Welcome to the Militia, brother! Your bunker is the 8th one own the mine shaft, next to gas-mask-and-Kalashnikov depot.
R26, thanks for confirming what a mindless idiot you are.
How much faith do you have in the "good, gray men" that run the planetary financial system, or the governments that support it and will use any means necessary to defend it?
Are you aware of the asymptotic trajectory the world's monetary system has entered (and why 4 years of "QEx" and "monetary easing" has done nothing but forestalled the inevitable revaluation of all financial instruments and physical assets) and the terminal crack up boom that inevitably follows (see the Roman empire, the First Great Depression, Germany post WW1) will not be confined to the US, or EU, or China (although all three are on the brink) but will impoverish billions?
I live on the North Coast of California, it's rural and stormy.
We lose power a lot because of those storms... and earthquakes.
People have generators and water and food stored. Most of us have wood stoves.
Just saying...I lived in San Francisco when the last big quake hit...people helped each other, the police and fire could not get to everybody.
You are on your own in many cases, be prepared in a reasonable way.
R32, having flashlights, water, medicine, food, firearms and money stashed in case something "bad" happens and our utterly incompetent and corrupt government can't rescue you for a few days/weeks/months is just prudent.
God help the people (especially city dwellers like me) who don't have the means to "get out of dodge" if life gets hard.
There is some major crossover between the contents of the thread at the link and this one.
It's the privately owned utility companies who refuse to bury the power lines because it is too expensive. Not the government. It's the utility companies fault when people lose electricity for days, NOT the government's fault.
In first world countries where the government runs the power grid, the lines are buried and people don't lose electricity.
Why are you blaming the government for the storm aftermath?
Why are we afflicted with all these brain dead libertarians. Who is torturing us this way? We cannot believe they are sincere, since even a dog could have figured out we need a government by now.
Someone here linked to an Argentine blogger who posted preparation tips for economic collapse, which he's gone through at least once down there. I found some of the tips useful for storm preparedness, useful since I live on the Gulf Coast. I lost the link when I switched browsers, but maybe someone else here kept it.
R36, "public" utilities (cable, gas, electric, water) are all government controlled monopolies, and therefore have no incentive to improve.
R37, instead of the ad hominem attacks of a 3rd grader who shit his pants in class, why don't you provide some explanation of why we would trust the government.
How many lies does it have to tell before u realize it is just a parasite? You're like an abused prostitute who defends the men who beat you.
R40, you're an idiot.
Good one, R41! How's kindergarten?
Hey, at least I passed Kindergarden. And at least I'm not an idiot.
R43, if you weren't an idiot you would post something besides bullshit any 6 year old could see through.
I just don't feel like wasting my time on idiots like you. Seriously. You're an idiot.
R44 is pretty hysterical, considering he's posting about the evils of nasty government control on a communications medium that was developed by the government.
"Kindergarden" says it all.
I have to say, the government has performed as expected in NY/NJ, post- Sandy.
The weakest and poorest are still without heat/water/electricity, and the richest are making millions off of their suffering.
Can you imagine Paul McCartney singing "Rape Me" or "Nevermind"? The horrors those people must have seen.
Just par for the course...
Just wait until the dollar collapses, and milk, bread and gas quintuple in price...overnight. The government will be paralyzed.
You cannot print trillions of fake money in a 5 year period (more than we printed since 1900) and NOT expect it to eventually cause a Zimbabwe type hyperinflation. When- not if- it happens, the consequences will be tragic for the people that still believe in the omnipotent power of the government and Federal Reserve.
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