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1) Government is generally incompetent.
  • the mayor invites people into an auditorium, then realizes they have no ability to care for these people, then starts swearing like a sailor about the Bush dropping the ball (see here).
  • the efficient Red Cross were denied access (see here) to New Orlean because the federal government was afraid this would discourage emigration from the city.
  • the department of Homeland Security is a bureaucratic nightmare, and has taken over FEMA. Surprisingly, to some, it was not up to the task.
2) Law and Order are the first priorities of government
  • John Locke was a seminal influence on the Constitution of the US. He noted that securing the life and property of its citizens is paramount.
  • see this classic video, which shows citizens and police looting a WalMart during the crisis.
  • New Orleans has historically been a lawless place. Earlier this year police fired 700 rounds of blanks (see here) and no one called the cops--they did not figure it worth reporting, either because it was not uncommon or they just did not care.
3) Some communities within the US--the wealthiest and most powerful country on earth--are as dangerous as any place on earth.
  • Looting and violence did not happen nearly as much in other equally devastated areas like Biloxi Missippippi, or in post-earthquake Kobe Japan, or in post-tsunami Sri Lanka. Many international observers were surprised, but the US is a big country, and many parts of it are one power-outage away from Hobbes' state of nature.
4) Risk is a part of life.
  • No amount of money can prevent 1-in-100 year storms from disrupting communities and causing loss of life. It is impractical to have a standing army ready to jump into the fray when such improbable occurences happen. Those who get most upset by the inability of federal government to instantly ameliorate these situations (see here) just show their childlike naivite, as if the government, especially the federal government in Washington DC, has an efficient plan to protect every enclave from its particular risks. It doesn't, and it can't.
Mahalanobis meinte am 7. Sep, 18:30:
Thanks for your comment, we are working on it. I had to remove your entry since it destroyed the layout of the whole site (seems that inserting a "linked url" causes troubles). 
jim (guest) meinte am 12. Nov, 19:40:
I think you are so right about this. The government did mess up here so much in New Orleans. So much that we need to learn from this. Plumbing tips and adivce 
nedved1000 meinte am 19. Feb, 20:31:
thanks so much for sharing with us that awesome article
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