Monday, March 21, 2011

The Learning Curve

 People learn from their past experiences.
 After Hurricane Katrina, the world was shown America at it's worst.
 the local residents - who didn't take the threat of yet another monster hurricane seriously enough to leave town or prepare to shelter in place,
 to the local and state government - which failed to be proactive,
to the federal government - which seemed overwhelmed and out of touch,
 the entire response to Katrina was a mess.
Theft, looting and other crimes were commonly mentioned on local and national news.
 But by the time Hurricane Rita struck the Gulf Coast (less than a month later) people learned to heed the warnings of mandatory evacuations.
People who stayed behind were warned that no assistance would be made available in the case of an emergency and that anyone foolish enough to remain in the area (like myself) should be prepared to shelter in place.
Buses were made ready to ensure that anyone who needed a ride to an inland shelter could get a ride.
Local, state and federal government agencies worked together to create staging areas from which to service residents and contractors upon their return and arrival.
(This was particularly tough because my town was already inundated with refugees from Katrina).
Reports of theft and looting were minimal because most non-essential residents were kept out of town until civil services could be restored.
 By the time Hurricane Ike came to town, the Gulf had it's disaster relief down pat.
 Not being in the 'Ring of Fire', the buildings in Haiti were built to withstand hurricanes - not earthquakes.
But when a 7.0 earthquake struck the island nation, an already impoverished country was to get even worse.
Even with aid being provided, the logistics of getting the aid to the right places was a problem.
The country's government was almost non-existent, the infrastructure was ruined and no one had a plan for earthquake recovery.
To this day, even with massive charitable donations and international 'expertise', no one can point to any measurable progress.
Theft, violence and looting were reported as being major problems after the quake.
 But surely the 90% white city of Christchurch would have no problems with looting after a natural disaster and the government's response would be quick and decisive.
I'm sure no one would dare loot in this predominantly white citeeeerummm...
Wait, I guess Google proves this theory wrong.
Now there are news stories which tell of over 250 thefts in the past ten days in and around Sendai.
I guess theft, looting and crime are a natural response for many (regardless of race, nationality or culture) following a natural disaster.


Amanda said...

I suppose it is possible that after suffering such an assault that some people steal or loot because they need to, rather like hoarders needing to protect and heal their emotional self.

I can't even begin to imagine how I might behave if I were one of the people that survived such devastation.

DF said...

Well the difference is when you expect bad things from a group you can usually find them. When you think people are not usually a certain way it's not newsworthy.

Poor Black folk are newsworthy primarily because the public expects and has been inundated with negative images.

brohammas said...

All I know is....dang.
Katrina, Haiti, Japan... dang.

uglyblackjohn said...

@ Amanda - People are just trying to survive.
Taking food and suplies from a source where they will go unused seems okay.
Taking TVs, Nikes and Caddilacs is just straight up stealing.

@ Yeah... the broke people who cooked for all their neighbors and made repairs to pass the time did not make the news.

@ brohammas - Yeah, some (well, most) problems go beyond 'race'.

Anonymous said...

The stuff is going to go to rot anyway. At least someone can enjoy and make use of it. I don't call that stealing.