Today's editorials in The Oklahoman
demonstrate an inexcusable attitude toward disaster relief efforts. To say that the response is just right, that some people may die, but in time the rest will be fine, we don't need to see any errors, improve any process, is infuriating.
I have been a disaster responder in several situations, including to the World Trade Center. One of the most important aspects of any disaster response is to notice and learn from mistakes so that the next response will be better. And there are always mistakes. When babies and old people are dying in New Orleans of dehydration and starvation and lack of basic care, that isn't good enough of a response. When people in Mississippi go for days and days without seeing a single soul there to help, that is not good enough.
One of the biggest hindrances to improving disaster response here in Oklahoma is the belief that we did just fine, just great with the response to the federal building bombing. That, too, was a bungled job in many respects, but it was a relatively small disaster, at least compared to 9/11 and Katrina. To have seen the errors and yet feel resistance to improvement because of the mistaken belief by policymakers and the public that there is no need to do better is infuriating and frustrating and maddening. Sure, hindsight is 20/20, but only if you look
's comments seem a veiled apology for the government's inadequate action. What are a few lives here and there? In time, people will move on, they say. Well, you can say the same about the plague.
Anybody think we are ready for the plague here? A dirty bomb? A big anthrax or smallpox attack? If you do, just keep burying your head in the sand. We aren't ready for any of it.
"So far, so good"? So far, not nearly good enough.