Back to previous post: God Be Praised, The System Works

Go to Making Light's front page.

Forward to next post: Discover America! It’s 2700 smiles wide

Subscribe (via RSS) to this post's comment thread. (What does this mean? Here's a quick introduction.)

September 4, 2005

Survival
Posted by Patrick at 09:42 AM *

Some days, you can’t really do better than to quote entire posts by other people. Here’s the mysterious Alameida:

Now, I’m going to say something that’s going to maybe make you all think I’m a bad person or something, but that’s what “anonymous” blogging is for. Living in D.C. for much of my life, I’ve given a lot of thought to the post-apocalyptic, breakdown of society questions. What would I do? I was just talking about this with my sister today; what if we were at our house and the dirty bomb went off? Let me be totally honest. I’d have my babies in the sling, the SKS in my hand, and a 9-mm in my pants waistband. (Well, unless we couldn’t get away; then let’s say we’d divide the labor and leave the babies at home). Hell yes, I would loot the pharmacy on day 1. Diapers, iodine, formula, food, electrolyte solution, clean water, heavy-duty antibiotics, wound dressings, and oxycontin. Valium too. Would I leave the liquid morphine behind for other, less enterprising looters? No. Fuck the bullshit, people. Would I go around and try to save everybody in my neighborhood, bring the old ladies in their houses to my place, get formula to those other people’s babies? Yes. If somebody looked at me wrong, would I shoot them? Yes. If I saw the 20th rescue helicopter pass me by would I fire in the air to say “here we are, assholes! Somebody get down here!” Yes. And now, just to mix things up—would I loot the local jewelry store? The bank, if I thought it was practical? Yes. I’m kind of an amoral person that way. But I’m white! So it’s all good. Discuss.

Seriously, stipulate that you have guns and ammo at home, but you’re worried supplies will run low, and you know from personal experience watching TV this whole fucking week that you are totally on your own. Are you telling me you’d wait there like a putz? “Oh the government will come soon.” With your children? You wouldn’t go down to crowbar the front off the CVS? You’re lying. All these “shoot-to-kill” warbloggers can kiss my ass. They would be the first ones out there, if they had the guts to go outside. More likely they’d die with Cheeto dust on their hands in the basement, having just won convincingly at Risk.

One thing the last week has clarified is that, as far as a lot of right-wingers are concerned, self-reliance and survivalism are virtues only when practiced by people who look like right-wingers. Practiced by the rest of us, they’re grounds for summary execution.

Comments on Survival:
#1 ::: Laurie Mann ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 09:57 AM:

CBS Sunday Morning this moring has been fascinating. Just by reporting the news, it's been quietly, but adamantly, anti-government.

#2 ::: Henry Richardson ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 10:00 AM:

Make sure you have a hand sledge, cold chisel, and (important!) safety goggles before you hit the pharmacy, because the opiates are in locked dispensers.

#3 ::: John Lansford ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 10:16 AM:

I too saw that comparison on CBS this morning between the disaster response for the tsunami and the lack of response for Katrina. It is unconscionable that even though supplies and trained personnel were close at hand (closer than for the tsunami!), it took DAYS to get them to areas affected by Katrina, and in some cases RELIEF HAS NOT SHOWN UP YET!

Towns like Biloxi, Gulfport, Long Beach and especially the small communities away from the shoreline, have seen little if any government relief efforts. The Weather Channel has had its own reporters in some of these smaller cities, and spoken with local reporters on-air in others, and the only response many of them have seen has come from goodhearted citizens bringing food and water on their own.

There has been lots of coverage on the effort made in New Orleans, and almost nothing on the massive destruction and lack of support in Slidell, Biloxi, Gulfport and dozens more cities, all which are suffering as much as New Orleans.

#4 ::: alameida ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 10:24 AM:

hey, thanks Henry; that's good to know. I'll keep it in mind.

#5 ::: Henry Richardson ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 10:34 AM:

My SO just pointed out that my post made it seem like I was a little too knowledgeable about this topic. I just want to assure everyone that I have no hands-on experience in this area. I just look around a lot and notice everything while I'm waiting for a prescription to be refilled. Honest. I read the ingredients on food containers too. I just happen to pay attention to these things. Really.

#6 ::: Georgiana ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 10:49 AM:

Excellent, excellent post.

Someone was yammering on about how it is the responsibility of the good upstanding citizens to stop the looters. Oh fuck no it is not. If I'm over to the Wal-Mart getting supplies for my family and friends and someone is stealing all the iPods and the plasma TVs that's fine with me. Take what you want and leave me alone. Now if they are getting all the asthma medicine and won't give me any for my own kids then I have a problem, but until them, take whatever you want.

Henry - that's good information. I didn't think you'd ever used it, I just figured you were part of the "I want to know how everything works and why" tribe like a lot of us here.

#7 ::: Bob ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 10:58 AM:

While I agree that a survival situation negates a lot of moral debate that might go in an ordinary situation, the post quoted demonstrates a willful, almost wishful, fantasy of derring-do that is a generally BAD IDEA. While we all might imagine how cool it would be to run around with pistols in our waistbands, grabbing drugs and supplies to keep ourselves alive and being generally McGyver-esque, the author seems to forget about all the other people who would have the same idea, who would also have guns (and might be better at it than you), and who would be just as willing to shoot someone who looked at them wrong.

If you've got the guts to break into a pharmacy and grab what you need to survive in a disaster, then you should have the guts to quietly accumulate those same supplies now, through the much safer method of exchanging cash for them and storing them somewhere safe. Anyone who claims that they can't get a prescription for antibiotics or painkillers is either incredibly naive or simply isn't trying very hard.

If your back is against the wall, then maybe it's an ok moral choice to shoot some other survivors so that you can grab what you need to live. If you've got $100 in your pocket right now but you don't have enough supplies to make it for at least a week without outside help, then you should be running down to that same pharmacy you're daydreaming about looting and buying those same products. When the disaster comes, you can sit tight and live off your emergency supplies while everyone else is out getting shot, stabbed and beaten over the last Snickers bar.

Deliberately putting yourself into a desperate situation so that you can then justify your actions as a necessity is the worst kind of moral cowardice.

#8 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 11:06 AM:

"the post quoted demonstrates a willful, almost wishful, fantasy of derring-do that is a generally BAD IDEA. While we all might imagine how cool it would be to run around with pistols in our waistbands, grabbing drugs and supplies to keep ourselves alive and being generally McGyver-esque, the author seems to forget about all the other people who would have the same idea"

You must have read a different post than the one I quoted. Maybe it's one of those browser incompatibilities.

"Deliberately putting yourself into a desperate situation so that you can then justify your actions as a necessity is the worst kind of moral cowardice."

Yeah, there's lots of that going on. Right along with the way all those black people deliberately arrange to be drowned in sewage so they can luxuriate in free supplies from the Red Cross.

#9 ::: Tina ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 11:14 AM:

Not to mention the fact that not everyone has a spare $100, or a doctor that will prescribe you antibiotics for no reason. Or a doctor at all.

#10 ::: enjay ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 11:15 AM:

If you've got the guts to break into a pharmacy and grab what you need to survive in a disaster, then you should have the guts to quietly accumulate those same supplies now, through the much safer method of exchanging cash for them and storing them somewhere safe. Anyone who claims that they can't get a prescription for antibiotics or painkillers is either incredibly naive or simply isn't trying very hard.

After all the previous discussions, it seems to me quite incredible that the understanding that not everyone can afford to buy supplies in advance hasn't sunk in.

BTW, Juan Cole has a piece on looting in NO and Iraq that is worth reading.

#11 ::: Georgiana ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 11:21 AM:

Anyone who claims that they can't get a prescription for antibiotics or painkillers is either incredibly naive or simply isn't trying very hard.

Then color me both. I have intractable intracranial hypertension. The pain from this is described by doctors as the worst pain you can have. In two years I have gotten exactly one prescription for a painkiller, 30 darvocet, refillable once. When my head hurts so much that I can't move, where I just lay here and cry and my kids try and decide if they can call an ambulance I am still afraid to take one of my eleven remaining pills because what if I get one that's even worse? What if I get one that hurts so much I can't breathe? And yeah, you can have that much pain. My optho neuro says it's not her place to prescribe painkillers and my family doctor, who is a deeply compassionate woman, has to be very careful of every narcotic prescription she writes and her guidelines say the treating doctor should be writing the RX.

I can't even get the pharmacy to fill my non-narcotic prescriptions properly. I'm supposed to be taking Diamox SR, 3x a day, except for one week out of the month when I take it 4 x, but when I just got it filled the pharmacy would only give me sixty for the month and says that is all my insurance will cover. Yeah maybe I'll get it straightened out but maybe not. This is a continuing problem and I know I am not the only who has a problem getting enough drugs to get through today, much less planning for a catastrophe.

Oh and guess what, not everyone has a hundred bucks sitting around. I don't. I've lived on the edge all my life and although I have a wonderful boss and a job I can do while so ill I can't get out of bed, it pays crap and every penny is accounted for. Oddly people who pay more aren't terribly excited about the prospect of hiring a chick who passes out, throws up and can't actually leave the house to go to work, so please don't bother telling me to get a better job. At least I have health benefits, thank God.

#12 ::: alameida ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 11:36 AM:

bob: if you really think that without being seriously, verifiably, ill right now (and--an aside--even if you are ill right now) you can go to a doctor and get a prescription even for antibiotics, much less for narcotic painkillers, then I humbly submit that you are full of shit.

#13 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 11:56 AM:

And some of those medications require things like refrigeration to stay usable. Real helpful when the power goes. (Insulated boxes don't stay cold for long enough, even with ice. )

#14 ::: Tayefeth ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 11:56 AM:

Bob also conveniently ignores the fact that prescription drugs don't last forever. And, even for medications like my thyroid replacement, getting extra pills to save for a disaster means skipping days, because the insurance won't pay for a refill if there's more than a week to go on the previous bottle.

If I were really enterprising, I'd figure out how to make a painkiller from the poppies in my garden, but for the moment I have pickles to put up...

#15 ::: Bob ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 12:03 PM:

Patrick,

The post I read described grabbing the SKS, sticking a pistol in their waistband, and heading down to their pharmacy to grab supplies, while being willing to shoot anyone who looked at them 'wrong' on the way. That sounds like derring-do to me, and that's not a browser incompatibility.

Your suggestion that I'm equating the victims of both the hurrican and the government's bungling to the author of the post you quoted is ridiculous. I referred only to the post you quoted, and never tried to infer that any of the victims in NO were following that post's advice.

enjay,

I agree that not everyone can afford supplies. Rambo-types that have an SKS and a pistol certainly CAN, however, and it seems obvious to me that selling your extra rifle or pistol now to buy supplies that could prevent your from needing a rifle or pistol later would be a wise trade.

alameia,

I just ordered a general antibiotic that is commonly prescribed for young children online for my cat. Most animal antibiotics are identical to those prescribed for humans. The antibiotic I just ordered was a legitimate renewal for my cat, but I could just have easily renewed the prescription and kept the medicine just in case. As for narcotics, I guess you believe that every drug user has a verifiable need for their drug of choice and a prescription? Seriously, when compared with your idea of running around and shooting at people, how bad is it to buy drugs illegally? I live in a very rural area, and I've lived here less than a year, but I already know where to go if I wanted some heavy narcotics.

The point of my post was not that the victims of the hurrican did anything wrong- the point was that fantasizing that you'll grab your gun and fight your way to the last bottle of pills in the drug store is stupid and irresponsible. It's boring to quietly accumulate spare antibiotics through pet pescriptions, but it's safer. If you don't have the money, you don't have the money. You can at least store some 2 liter bottles with a drop of nonscented bleach in each in a dark place for emergencies, and that wouldn't cost anything.

alameida professes to own multiple firearms, and seems more than willing to use them to get what's needed. Someone in that position has no justification refusing to spend $100 for emergency supplies.

#16 ::: Matt McIrvin ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 12:05 PM:

And if you can easily get a prescription for antibiotics without being sick, that is unfortunate, because it could lead to a disaster even bigger than Katrina.

#17 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 12:10 PM:

The fact of the matter is that there's only so much one can do to prepare for an emergency. Personally, unless I'm on a road trip, I never let my gas tank get less than half full. I keep at least a full case of water (~6 gallons) in my trunk. My travel kit lives in a jump bag that I can grab and run.

I don't (and won't) stockpile antibiotics. I go years between needing them. This year, I did, and I needed more than one kind to clear up a debilitatinng bout of food poisoning; not something I would have been successful at treating on my own.

The things I should have but don't include an EpiPen or two, although I've never had an allergic reaction. I haven't been stung by a bee in over a decade either, and I wouldn't want to find any newfound sensitivities during an emergency.

Would I bust into a pharmacy? I don't know. For me, probably not but for family or a friend, almost definitely yes. Would I bust into Waldbaum's/Publix/Safeway/Kroger's? You bet your ass.

The direction our society is going has just about gotten me to the point that I want to go out and buy a couple of guns (one long gun of some kind and one handgun). The veneer of civilization has gotten mighty thin these days.

#18 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 12:12 PM:

Not to mention that animal antibiotics aren't always the same as people antibiotics. Certainly they won't get the same (alleged) FDA review: animals come under the USDA. For whatever that may be worth.

#19 ::: Bob ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 12:22 PM:

To the people who (rightly) pointed out that it's not wise to prescribe antibiotics for yourself and that many drugs won't last without refrigeration:

Go back to the originally quoted post. Do you imagine that the antibiotics you grab from the pharmacy after shooting some other survivor will be easier to self-administer, or that they'll somehow last without refrigeration just because you're willing to kill to get them?

My comment was about the absurdity of planning to raid for supplies rather than preparing before a disaster. If you've got a condition, or a need, that can't be met in advance through purchase, then it's probably not going to be met by grabbing a gun and hitting an abandoned store. Don't fantasize that you'll be able to make it just because you're willing to do anything to survive: EVERYBODY is willing to do anything to survive.

#20 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 12:35 PM:

Don't fantasize that you'll be able to make it just because you're willing to do anything to survive: EVERYBODY is willing to do anything to survive.

Not everyone is willing to do anything: the people who think that way are probably the ones who shoot at rescue choppers. (Come to think of it, it's the same mindset as the ones who would have shot their neighbors who wanted to get into their bomb shelter in the Sixties.)

I work thirty miles from where I live, in LA. I commute on mass transit. You think I'm going to want to fight my way home after a major earthquake? Especially since said earthquake will be leaving the area I work in covered with an estimated six feet of broken glass (and other stuff, including remains of people)? And that it may take a week or more to get things cleared to where I could get out of said area? There are damn few pharmacies and markets in that area, but lots of restaurants. If they could be reached, because you'd be wading through that six feet of broken glass and other stuff.

#21 ::: Sylvia Sotomayor ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 12:37 PM:

Re Tayafeth's "insurance won't pay for a refill if there's more than a week to go on the previous bottle." True. However, you can refill with 3 days left, and I am going to try to regularly refill my prescriptions every 27 days and see how that works.

The other thing is a vacation override. My prescription was due to be refilled while I was in Glasgow, so I went to my pharmacy before I left and explained this to them, and they got a vacation override, even two weeks before I was due for a refill.

Depending on your pharmcy (mine's small and local and independent), you may be able to get them to advance you a week's worth on the grounds that you lost them or they were destroyed or something.

Another option, my hmo sent out these coupons for getting 90 day refills from an online pharmacy. My doctor was more than happy to write me a year's prescription to take advantage of this. Check with your plan. Some do this.

Of course, this only works for people who have a health plan.

-Sylvia

#22 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 12:47 PM:

actually the only problem with any of the looting was the wide screen tvs, that's just stupid. Now if someone had used the opportunity to pull an underwater break in to a bank, blown the vault...that person would be pretty cool on my pop-cult meter. And if they also helped some of their friends drive out of town and shot a republican/fundamentalist tv evangalist I would buy that movie.

In fact, screw the movie, I should start writing the book now!

Anyone got maps of banks underwater in N.O!?

#23 ::: Margaret Organ-Kean ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 12:50 PM:

Sylvia's idea does work with certain pharmacies and certain health plans. I've got my husband about a week ahead on some meds he needs to take daily - and I'm working on all of them. After NO, thought, I think I'm going to try for 10 days.

Georgiana -
If I were you, I'd consider taking a friend/significant other to my next appt with that specialist. I've noticed that my treatment by a previously difficult doctor is significantly improved with a witness. Furthermore, your friend can help you remember to ask all the questions you need to ask.

You might also want to ask your GP for a different referral - reason given, you want a second opinion or are unhappy with your treatment.

And for the meds - make sure your GP & specialist knows that you aren't getting your full prescription. Doctors get really pissed over non-compliance. When the non-compliance is someone else's fault other than the patient's, they can really get annoyed. Most doctors have a bit of a god complex. Use that to your advantage.

And if you know all this already, I apologize - but I'm hoping it might be helpful.

Margaret Organ-Kean

#24 ::: Georgiana ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 01:15 PM:

It is helpful Margaret, I appreciate your concern. I do often forget things I meant to ask the specialist. I am planning to call her on Tuesday and ask about this last perscription. She wrote it for 100 capsules but the pharmacy is saying that she put down take it twice a day and there is nothing they can do, 60 is all they can give me. It's all very frustrating but enough about that. Thank you.

#25 ::: colin roald ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 01:19 PM:

It seems to me that Bob's basic point -- that your first-preference should be to give yourself the best chance of not needing to loot a pharmacy at all -- is perfectly sensible. Are there situations when that advice would fail? Of course. Are there people who live so close to the edge of survival all the time that they don't have that option? Yes. Could most people, including most people here, including me, be much better prepared for disaster than they are? Without question.

I don't see an argument here, except possibly about the ease of laying your hands on antibiotics. But in any case, prescription antibiotics and narcotics are not first-order survival supplies anyway. Bactine and bleach and Advil and Nyquil are not hard to come by.

Also: if a dirty bomb goes off, I'm taping up my windows and fucking sitting tight in my apartment.

#26 ::: alane ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 01:21 PM:

Maybe I'm just overly law-abiding, but I don't even know where I could buy marijuana, much less black-market narcotics, Ritalin (despite living on a college campus!), or anything else.

If I were interested, I could probably ask someone who knew someone who could get me pot. But the rest? Not a clue.

I wouldn't self-administer antibiotics, though -- asking for trouble. Although granted, Russia hasn't collapsed from abuse of over-the-counter antibiotics yet.

#27 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 01:23 PM:

Actually, I think "Bob" is simply getting prissy and pursed-lipped about an actual female human permitting herself to talk in a jokey fashion about grabbing a firearm or two.

Accusing Alameida of of a "a willful, almost wishful, fantasy of derring-do", as if her stylized and obviously humorous rhetorical stance were being taken in a vacuum, is either extraordinarily tone-deaf or extraordinarily stupid. Alameida is responding to the yammering bluster of a thousand right-wing would-be survivalists over the years. Her point isn't that in an emergency she's going to go all Mad Max; her point is that in the right emergency, any of us might well wind up being pretty ruthless about how we protect ourselves and our loved ones; and that, moreover, a lot of the stuff we've seen characterized as "violence" and "out-of-control looting" by high-melanin New Orleans residents is in fact quite rational under the circumstances.

"Bob", who appears not to have been previously seen hereabouts, appears to be determined to argue as if Alameida is categorically asserting that we should all respond to emergencies by becoming heavily-armed desperados. That is neither the point of Alameida's argument nor of the wry, parodic tone in which she has chosen to couch it. Moreover, I don't think most Making Light readers have had any difficulty figuring this out. I'm certainly not going to spend any more effort explaining it to someone who's obviously not interested in pursuing the discussion in good faith.

#28 ::: "Bob" ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 01:39 PM:

Patrick,

I'm not sure why my name ("Bob") is such a big deal to you, or why it matters that I haven't posted comments here before. As to your assertion that I've failed to pursue the discussion in good faith, I would challenge anyone who agrees with you to review your comments in this thread in contrast to my own.

I've tried to make a point about actual preparation vs. being willing to do anything to survive. Your comments have consisted alternately of attempts to paint me as a racist or a sexist. You've never responded to my basic point.

Alameida's comments have consisted of challenges to my assertion that basic preparation is relatively simple - she never argued that her post was meant to be humorous.

That's fine. It's your board, to do with as you please.

#29 ::: Georgiana ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 01:47 PM:

Ugh. This site has had more information on how to prepare for an emergency than I have encountered in my entire 42 years of living. If you look down the main page you will easily find the most recent thread, with links to previous threads and discussions as well as extraordinarily helpful external links. I know they are helping because they convinced me to do things that I kept vaguely thinking I should do "some day."

As for not telling you the original post was humorous did we also have to point out it was written in English and published on the internet? Some things are so obvious they don't need comments.

#30 ::: colin roald ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 01:52 PM:

"actual female human"

Unless I have missed something, this is the first point in this thread in which anonymous alameida's gender has been specified. Certainly I did not know it, and re-reading Bob's comments, it seems to me he did not know it either. At least, his comments are full of neuter and omitted pronouns.

#31 ::: enjay ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 01:53 PM:

Even among those who accept that looting for essentials like food, water, clothing, diapers, etc. isn't really looting, there tends to be amazement expressed when looters steal things like jewellry or TVs. Surely these are druggies and criminals taking advantage of the breakdown in law and order!

I'm not so sure. Consider this:

The worst has happened. There has been a disaster, from which you could not flee and for which you could not afford to be properly prepared. You have nothing but the clothes on your back and whatever small things you have been able to snatch at the last moment. You have a family, small children, that depend on you.

You might be left to rot in the ruins of your city. Or you might be sent to a refugee camp in a different place, and be stuck for months in a squalid, perhaps unsafe situation. If so, you will likely be stigmatized as someone from The Camp (and we all know what Those People are like, they were the people who were too lazy or stupid to leave before the disaster struck).

In either case, you won't have a job. There aren't any jobs in your home city anymore, because the city has been shattered. Jobs may come as rebuilding begins, but when will that happen? And do you have the skills that will be needed? Even if you do, in the meantime you will be living a hand-to-mouth existence and depending on the charity of others until you can find some kind of employment, and you will be competing for that job with an awful lot of other people. When you live close to the line, when everything that you have worked out that allows you to survive while living that close to the line is gone, you know that starting over is going to be pretty damned hard.

So I'm not prepared to write off all the "non-essential" looting as demented behaviour by criminals and junkies; under the circumstances I can also see why normally law-abiding people might steal jewellry or other valuables on the chance that they might be able to pawn them later for $20. Cash is freedom. Cash gives you options. Cash might make the difference between sitting in a camp and getting your feet under you again sooner. Between the bleak minimalism of simply managing to stay alive and the ability to live with an occasional comfort.

I don't mean to condone all looting, btw, or to suggest that it couldn't possibly be done by criminals and druggies. I just think it's important to recognize that in a survival situation, you do what makes sense to you in terms of your survival. That doesn't mean that you didn't live a law-abiding life before and won't go back to a law-abiding life afterwords.

And this applies to any affluent middleclass people caught in a disaster just as much as it does to those in poverty.

#32 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 01:55 PM:

"I've tried to make a point about actual preparation vs. being willing to do anything to survive."

No you haven't; you've devoted your strongest language and greatest enthusiasm to a characterization of Alameida and her rhetorical aims which is supported by only the most tendentious of readings.

Now you're complaining because someone's called you on your game. Life's hard.

#33 ::: Naomi Libicki ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 02:21 PM:

Enjay:

Yes, absolutely. The diamond in my engagement ring is one of a handful that my husband's grandfather (a diamond cutter) happened to have in his possesion when World War II broke out. Said diamonds did a lot to speed the safe passage of himself and his family across national borders, out of internment camps, etc. during the course of the war.

Depending on the nature of the emergency, diamonds really can be a girl's best friend.

#34 ::: Bob Oldendorf (NOT 'Bob') ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 02:22 PM:

The best form of survivalism and disaster planning is to work together communally: institute a form of government that treats the concerns of its citizrens (water, food, shelter, medical care, living wages, domestic tranquility, etc.) seriously, and that acts to met those needs.

I'm sick of Bush-defenders whining "oh, don't politicize this unpreventable natural disaster." What we've seen this week was not primarily a natual disaster: the city of New Orleans rode out the hurricane pretty well. (The Gulf coast got hammered: THAT'S a natural disaster.)

But then the levees failed at exactly the places where the Corps of Engineers HAD TO STOP WORKING ON THEM because of decisions this administration made.

"Politics" is NOTHING BUT deciding whose problems get addressed. Neglecting work on the levees was NOTHING BUT a political decision.

What we are seeing is the result of a quarter-century of conservative ascendency, under which THE most pressing problem that has been addressed is the taxation rates of the rich. Everything we've seen this week is a consequence of this country's political priorities.

Let's keep that in mind: Congressional elections are in fourteen months.

#35 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 02:23 PM:

As noted upcomments, prescriptions for "controlled-substance" painkillers are usually only allowed for a 30-day supply. (I'll have to check about those 90-day coupons for mail-order Rxs mentioned.)

And you can only refill them a certain number of days before the last RX has expired. If disaster struck at the wrong time, my wife might only have three days supply of painkillers on hand.

In such a case, if there weren't other ways to get help or get out of the disaster area, you're damn right I'd be breaking into an abandoned pharmacy.

Recent events are also making me think seriously about having a working gun in the house. I have two guns (a .22 rifle and a handgun) inherited from Hilde's father, but the rifle has a broken firing pin and the handgun probably hasn't been fired in at least twenty-five years (I'm not even remembering what caliber it is!) and I wouldn't try using it without a cleaning and testfiring by a gunsmith.

#36 ::: Bob Oldendorf ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 02:25 PM:

I can't spell when I'm angry.

#37 ::: Bob ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 02:27 PM:

Patrick,

In your own follow-up to the quoted post, you wrote:

"One thing the last week has clarified is that, as far as a lot of right-wingers are concerned, self-reliance and survivalism are virtues only when practiced by people who look like right-wingers. Practiced by the rest of us, they’re grounds for summary execution."

I took your post to imply that you agreed with Alameida's basic premise that whatever you have to do in order to survive is not only what you WOULD do, but was also morally ok. So it's a joke when the example used to support the premise is demonstrably wrong, but you're serious when you want to assert your right to survive as well?

I didn't consider Alameida's basic assertion that none of us would sit there waiting to be rescued if salvation was sitting in a locked store down the street to be humorous - I took it as her main point. My argument has consistently been that getting all "ooh-rah" about how empowering it might be to smash a window and grab what we need to live is stupid. It's not only stupid, it's a murderously-stupid idea that you and Alameida put forth while there are real people dying because they either believed in something similar, or they believed someone's lie about help being on the way.

#38 ::: colin roald ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 02:29 PM:

It appears that Patrick considers it obvious that this is a political thread about whether looters should be shot, and no one could possibly believe that alameida was describing her actual emergency plan.

It appears that Bob doesn't read whatever warbloggers you're arguing with, considers it obvious that the issue of whether people in New Orleans had any choice but to go scavenging was settled a couple of days ago, and is more interested in discussing that actual emergency plan.

Alameida's post sounded to me like something written by a survivalist. I mean, I think I can easily imagine someone like interdictor writing every word there. I presume that is what Bob thought, too. Is that tendentious? Do I have poor reading comprehension? Personally, I think it's just lack of context and an anonymous author.

#39 ::: mythago ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 03:19 PM:

I just ordered a general antibiotic that is commonly prescribed for young children online for my cat.

Amoxcillin, which does not keep for long periods of time, and which is not exactly easy to fit into the family budget if you are living paycheck to paycheck. Also, amoxcillin is prescribed for children precisely because it is a very mild, first-line kind of antibiotic. This is why it is given to cats.

I wonder if the people shouting "Kill the looters!" are aware of the fact that a lot of those looters are cops.

#40 ::: Tina ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 03:23 PM:

Bob, seriously, are you advocating the buying of animal antibiotics in bulk and illegal narcotics as a survival tip? I mean, seriously?

Let's leave off the dosage considerations. Let's even leave off the fact that a great many sources for pet/animal antibiotics sell them in injectable/liquid forms, which have a much lower shelf life than the pills I could grab from a pharmacy in a pinch (pills often have a shelf life of several years, depending on which antibiotic we're discussing).

Any legitimate supplier of antibiotics for animals also requires a prescription. Note the word 'legitimate' there. I didn't include it for legality concerns; I included it for quality control concerns. Anyone willing to circumvent the law to sell you antibiotics may be willing to circumvent the law on other points. Such as age of drug. For instance.

This applies even more strongly to drugs purchased on the street. Any drugs, including things like Vicodin (which you can find on the street, if you look -- but do you know how to identify Vicodin pills? Whether or not you're really buying the drug you think you are?)

#41 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 03:32 PM:

Re: Buying narcotics on the street and stockpiling them at home.

The DEA takes a dim view of this, and jailers may not take their prisoners to higher ground when a hurricane's coming.

#42 ::: ben ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 03:43 PM:

Guys, a plea for truce here -

Could we please look at the cause of the is-it-smart debate, please?

Larry Brennan put it quite well upthread:

"The direction our society is going has just about gotten me to the point that I want to go out and buy a couple of guns (one long gun of some kind and one handgun). The veneer of civilization has gotten mighty thin these days."

#43 ::: Tina ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 03:47 PM:

Also, I figured out what bugged me about the rest of this.

Bob, it seems to me that you read the original note as an alternative to planning. I read it as "if I didn't have the means to plan, or my plans weren't sufficient, damn straight I'd do what I had to do to survive".

Since a whole heck of a lot of the people left in New Orleans were of the "didn't have the means to plan" persuasion, the point is still valid.

#44 ::: Chris Clarke ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 03:51 PM:

Keystrokes "Bob" "Oldendorf" has spent explaining that he knows how to survive in a major disaster better than other people: approximately 9000.

Keystrokes others have spent in an admittedly enjoyable effort to smack him down: approximately 24,000

Keystrokes necessary to send an email to the White House demanding immediate action be taken to address the continuing and in fact mounting deaths on the Gulf Coast: less than 5000.

Keystrokes necessary to go to the Red Cross website and make a credit card donation of $100: less than 500.

Keystrokes I've spent in this condescending snark: about 650.

#45 ::: glinda ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 04:01 PM:

Anyone who claims that they can't get a prescription for antibiotics or painkillers is either incredibly naive or simply isn't trying very hard.

Or is poor (see previous "you know you're poor when..." link).

I'm "lucky," I've got Medicaid. This means what prescriptions I do get are good for only 30 days' worth of that medication - and CANNOT be refilled until those 30 days are up. (I can call the refills in three days earlier, but can't pick them up until the 30 days are over. Period. NO EXCEPTIONS.) It also means that I don't get extra painkillers at all (even naproxen), or antibiotics (to most of which I'm allergic, in any case) unless the sinus infection/whatever is so bad that it's in danger of setting off my chronic bronchitis to the point I'd need hospitalization.

Very different realities when poverty is involved.

(And I didn't fit the 'you know you're poor when...' category until I was disabled and 50-something. Am still surprised that I'm surviving. *wry*)

(Forgive any errors in syntax, whatever, it's a severe CFS/fibro crash and migraine day, and I'll probably regret attempting communication right after I post this.)

#46 ::: Bob Oldendorf (NOT 'Bob') ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 04:13 PM:

Chris Clarke (3:51): the person posting in this thread as "Bob" is not me.

I don't THINK I've posting anything here on the topic of my own survivialist prowess

#47 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 04:22 PM:

who could possibly ever have guessed that two people could have the same name?

sorry, but this is my new conversational style. I have grown quite enamoured of it.

#48 ::: PurpleStater ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 04:43 PM:

Off on a tangent:

"I agree that not everyone can afford supplies. Rambo-types that have an SKS and a pistol certainly CAN, however, and it seems obvious to me that selling your extra rifle or pistol now to buy supplies that could prevent your from needing a rifle or pistol later would be a wise trade."

Google says I can buy an SKS rifle online for $100. Rumor has it that a dirt-cheap Hi-Point 9mm can be had for $110, if I can bring myself to ignore the insults from the owners of higher-quality weapons.

Looks like I can get 50 rounds of 9mm ammo for $23. Let's budget $50 for ammo.

Total cost for these two guns: $260. They'll last forever -- for decades, at any rate -- so I only have to buy them once.

Now, to hell with exotic stuff like Cipro, narcotics, or even diapers. Let's stockpile something cheap and obvious: 10 days' worth of drinking water. To provide 3 liters of water per day, per person, to a family of four for 10 days requires me to store 120 liters of water, or about 30 gallons. I can fit four one-gallon plastic jugs in a square foot, so I can use about $20 worth of boards and cinder blocks to build a 3-tier shelf that holds 30 one-gallon jugs in only 5 square feet of floor space. So far, so good.

Before the disaster, market rents for apartments in the New Orleans warehouse district were about $1.20 per square foot. Let's assume that I'm paying $1 per square foot. That means that my water stockpile will cost me $5 a month. Oops. Selling my $250 worth of guns will only pay for 4 years of water storage.

Of course, I could forget about storing water in jugs and gamble that I'll be able to fill up my bathtub with fresh water in advance of any emergency. But bathtubs cost money too. At $1 per square foot, a bathtub is at least $10 a month, and that's not counting the water bill. Suburbanites may find this hard to believe, but not everyone in America has a bathtub handy.

Conclusion: Anyone who argues that "if you can afford a gun you can afford X" is wrong for most values of X, because guns are cheap in the United States, and X is more expensive than you think it is.

#49 ::: J Thomas ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 04:57 PM:

I want to go back to the question about when it's OK to shoot looters.

Consider Jim McDonald's explanation about how to organise for disasters.

The priorities are, in order:

Life safety
Mitigating the situation
Securing property

Given limited resources, you save life. With more resources, you save lives and keep the incident from expanding. With all the resources you want, you save lives, put out the fire, and protect other property.

So if you aren't on top of things, which I expect we still aren't in NO, you save lives. Shooting looters is not saving lives. Shooting people who shoot at you is probably saving lives, shooting people who're stopping rescues is probably saving lives, shooting looters is not. So OK, say the lifesaving is going well and you're ready to work at repairing the dikes and getting the pumps working. That's fine and it still doesn't involve shooting looters. So then once you have things secure enough that the endangered people are mostly found and the fires are mostly put out and the pumping is getting done, *then* you want to save corporate property from looters.

Are we there yet?

OK, the other side. If you need stuff to survive, you take what you need. Ideally you'll leave the rest, but it's a judgement call what you need. If there are insane cops or marines running around ready to shoot you for looting water, be cautious. If you trust their good will, send a woman out to ask them for water. If you don't trust them not to rape her but you're reasonably sure you can approach them without scaring them and you trust them not to shoot you when they're calm, you go out and ask them for water. If they won't give it to you and you need it, then try to get away with taking it.

If you're ethical, you'll try to track how much stuff you're taking, and you'll make your best effort to pay it back when you can. And if you can't pay it back, you'll pay it forward, donate to disaster relief or something that does good.

The distinction between borrowing without permission and stealing is a subtle one. But it's the difference between a civilised person dealing with disaster, versus somebody else. As long as it's just good intentions it isn't a difference that will show up on the outside at all. A marine couldn't tell the difference by looking at you. The way you find out what kind of person you are is when you do get the chance to repay your debts.

If you think that way you'll try to avoid taking jewelry. Say you take a $500 ring and you get $20 for it. It's $500 you'll be paying back. Bad deal. Much better if you can take cash. I'd far rather borrow $20 and pay back $20 plus interest than borrow $500 with $480 vigorish.

If you think that way you'll behave better in the short run even if it turns out later you only had good intentions and you never repay your debts.

As a side issue, in my limited experience people have been far less eager to shoot me when I wasn't armed. That's likely in a crisis too, though it isn't really dependable. When you look dangerous people are more likely to shoot you from cover. When you don't look dangerous they're more likely to steal from you and let you live. Which is worse?

#50 ::: tavella ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 05:05 PM:

Chiming in on the antibiotic thing: when I had an infection in a tooth that had had a root canal, it took me practically breaking into tears to get an antibiotic prescription from my dentist, and I could not get a second one no matter how I tried. He insisted that I needed to go to a specialized dentist to have the root canal 'salvaged'; I explained I was unemployed and was borrowing the money just to visit *him*.

#51 ::: J Thomas ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 05:29 PM:

Purplestater, it might be possible to do that cheaper. The last time I tried to store a significant amount of water I put one-gallon jugs on top of my kitchen cabinets. It was space I wasn't using for anything else and I had no trouble putting 34 of them there.

If you know somebody who buys 3-liter soft drink bottles, and they let you scrounge them, you can store more water in the same floor space because they're taller. Or if you have a patio, you can actually put them outside. Stack them like firewood with something at the ends to hold them. Unless the neighbors complain you're probably set. Sunlight and dirt won't be real good for them but they'll mostly hold up except in the freezing season. Bury them below the frost line and you're OK there too, except it's harder to check on them.

Now here's another idea. Keep peroxide, or chlorox, or iodine, and disinfect your polluted water. You might think 'Oh, I can't do that! I'll get heavy metal poisoning! I'll get PCBs!' I say if you're drinking polluted water long enough to have health problems then you'll have bigger problems on your mind.

Iodine keeps very well and it's easy to figure out the dosages. While you have a wristwatch to time your disinfection you can have dead water to drink. It's a whole lot easier to carry a vial of iodine than to carry even 4 liters per person.

You consider the cost of guns. But you don't need guns to loot an abandoned store. You need guns to keep people from taking your stuff from you, and to take stuff from people. Who needs it? On average, you can expect to get shot in half your gunfights. If it's your neighbor that you'll be living near the rest of your life then maybe it's worth the risk. When you have a good chance of getting to civilization in 2 weeks, is it worth it? They take your stuff, go back and get more. They take it again, beg them to let you keep some of it. It's a pain, but 2 weeks from now you'll probably be safe and they'll probably have an infected gunshot wound.

Guns just aren't that much use until you need to overthrow the government. Or if you can hunt with them.

#52 ::: Dave Kuzminski ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 06:05 PM:

No, I've found that guns are very useful in self-defense against those who think they can take advantage of the situation. My wife didn't get raped and my children weren't harmed because I got the drop on a peeping tom and chased him off. Unfortunately, I didn't shoot him. Why unfortunately? Because he threatened a neighbor's infant in order to rape her the following day.

Bravo to Alameida for the brilliant blog essay.

#53 ::: Alex Merz ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 06:24 PM:

Okay. First with the "who'd live in such a stupid location" garbage. Spouse and I live in an earthquake zone. So do at least 25% of the people on Planet Earth. Of course, we'd never be stupid enough to live somewhere where tornados are common, or where we'd freeze to death if the power failed or the car stalled. Or where water has to be piped in from hundreds of miles away. Nooooo. Of course not.

Second, about preparedness. To talk about preparedness, one must consider risks.

The biggest risks that Spouse and I face are heart disease, cancer, and auto accidents. An influenza pandemic could be very, very, very bad. The U.S. government is not doing nearly what it should about this risk, in my relatively informed opinion. A fire in our house could kill us efficiently. Crime is low where we live now. I think that the economy is fragile and that this may change, but it's not huge a problem today. I mentioned that we live in an earthquake zone. We reasonably expect to do so for another four or five decades. This amounts to a serious risk -- even a likelihood -- of a citywide or regionally catastrophic geological event. Catastrophic volcanic eruptions and dirty bombs are nonzero but in my view far smaller risks. I hold a doctorate in microbiology with a specialization in mechanisms of bacterial infection. I view the likelihood of an effective, large-scale biological attack in my city as approaching the limit of zero (yet vast funds are being spent, purportedly to limit this possibility).

Based on these assessments, l keep serious go bags & medical kits for home and car, and at work. I have cached in my laboratory equipment (crowbars, flashlights, gloves, dust masks, etc.) for egress in the event of earthquake. We have a plan, and I will do what I can to get myself and the people in my team out safely.

Third, about responsibility. Virtually all of the discussion that I have seen about emergency preparedness falls into two categories. Blame/forgiveness of looters, and claims that people should already be prepared for disaster. Some very important ethical points are being missed, I think. It is a fact that most people do not prepare for disaster in any meaningful way.

For poor families, to prepare for sporadic and episodic disaster can be a dereliction of duty. Being poor means that economic catastrophe is THE disaster. It is not abstract. It is at the door: the landlord with an eviction notice, the collection agency on the phone, the hypertension medication or the insulin and glucose test kits that you cannot afford, and without which you may leave your children parentless, the injury at the job that does not provide insurance, the breakdown of the shitty car that gets you to the job, the $5/gal gas that means you can't use the car anyway.

Spouse and I are not in that situation. We are in the middle classes, and so we have the luxury of preparing for disaster. We do this in part because we want to survive disaster and its aftermath. But there is another reason that we think it is important to prepare.

In any large-scale disaster, emergency services will be overwhelmed. And if New Orleans teaches us nothing else, it teaches us that when emergency services are limited, the poor and disenfranchised will, on balance, get the shaft. As a consequence, relatively rich, pale-skinned folks will get more than their fair share of emergency services.

Spouse and I happen to think that this is criminal, and we wish to limit our culpability. Thus we are doing what we can in order to NOT require emergency services during a large disaster, and perhaps even to locally supplement those services by being ready to help our friends and coworkers. For us, emergency preparedness is more about responsibility to our community and our democracy than it is about the delusional "self-reliance" of so many "libertarians."

#55 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 06:47 PM:

Bob --

Whatever you have to do to survive is not morally ok. Not in the general case, and not in the specific. I don't think you can find a blanket moral allowance even if you stipulate 'least sufficient means' in place of 'whatever'.

One of the besetting philosophical gaps in wide swathes of political discourse is the assumption that individual rights are necessarily greater or lesser than collective benefit.

Thing is, they have the same value. The many and the one come out to the same value. My survival, benefit, whatever, is of the same value as the collective well being.

And vice-versa; I don't get to decide that there isn't any such thing as the collective well being anymore because conditions are bad.

East African ground ape specialized to co-operate in groups.

Which means, the way to survive a disaster is to find, create, or belong to a group to co-operate with to get everybody out.

The bad problem in New Orleans is that a lot of people thought they belonged to a group -- US Citizen -- and it turns out that while most of the rest of the group agrees, the folks charged with maintaining good order don't.

In that situation, the right thing to do is to form your own group as well as you can, and do what you can -- build rafts from the rooftops, if you can find enough tool approximations -- but that takes three things -- the skills and planning ability to do something, the social agreement among the survivors that this is necessary (very hard to get), and the widespread recognition that the group membership that you thought applied really doesn't.

I know how impossible I'd find it to believe that the Dominion of Canada accepted no responsibility for fishing me out of a natural disaster in Canada; I can't find it my heart to blame the folks in New Orleans for not believing that the United States Government was leaving them there to die until it was logistically too late for them to do much. (You work hard after three days with no or little food.)

#56 ::: Chris Clarke ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 06:57 PM:

Bob O, thanks for the correction, which was far more gentle than it could reasonably have been. I'm sorry to have been so careless.

#57 ::: Bob Oldendorf ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 07:07 PM:

Chris Clarke:

Thank you. I had no reason to be impolite - it was obviously just an honest mistake.
It's just that, you know, I had been making an effort to distinguish my comments from others'. Thanks again.

#58 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 07:12 PM:

It is a fact that most people do not prepare for disaster in any meaningful way.

True enough. Still, the people whose job titles are "Chief Disaster Preparer," and who accept goverment grants (or accept government paychecks) for disaster preparedness ought to be preparing in very meaningful ways.

Incompetence is incompetence, and putting political hacks, cronies, and campaign contributors into happy little sinecures in emergency services will be exposed when that disaster arrives.

Today we read:

Katrina medical help held up by red tape

Sunday, September 4, 2005; Posted: 5:36 p.m. EDT (21:36 GMT)

BATON ROUGE, Louisiana (AP) -- Volunteer physicians are pouring in to care for the sick, but red tape is keeping hundreds of others from caring for Hurricane Katrina survivors while health problems rise.

Among the doctors stymied from helping out are 100 surgeons and paramedics in a state-of-the-art mobile hospital, developed with millions of tax dollars for just such emergencies, marooned in rural Mississippi.

You'd think that there would be someone in charge of saying "You. Set up here. I will get the patients to you." You'd think that there would be someone else saying, "Okay, here are the patients. Transport them there." And a third saying, "Here are the trucks. Load 'em and go!"

You'd think so. And, if the system were working, that would be happening. Yes, all scenes are chaotic. Yes, plans get fouled up when they meet reality. Yes, an overwhelming catastrophe will be rough and raw and full of weirdness. But when the guys in charge are Ida Know and Not Me from The Family Circus, you know what? It costs.

#59 ::: Bob Oldendorf ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 07:19 PM:

Just to explain to everyone else: a few hours ago upthread, Chris Clarke attributed remarks made here by "Bob" to me ("Bob Oldendorf").

We've straightened out the confusion.

Oh, and Chris - I've already thrown a few bucks at the Red Cross. Now I'm considering if it would be better to throw more money at the immediate disaster, or to send money to what's left of America's opposition party.

#60 ::: Alex Merz ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 07:24 PM:

To be as clear as possible, Jim: I was speaking of individual citizens, NOT of those for whom disaster preparedness is a primary professional and civil responsibility.

#61 ::: Another Bob ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 07:37 PM:

Life is a bit more simple than most people let it be. I heard 80% left prior to the hurricane, including my nephew, so that leaves 20% if my math is correct. Probably 19% of the 20% remaining could have been with the 80% but chose not to because they couldn't "fast forward" their lives say one week in advance (kinda the Monday morning quarterbacking effect). And you know the 19% would have left if you ask them that today! So that would leave the 1% or so that were sick and afflicted etc. that rescue officials and crews could have concentrated on evacuating immediately. Lets say that is 25K to 75K conservatively (know you left wingers like that word). And THEY would not be shooting at or rioting the rescue attempt (not one of the essentials on the bed tray of the sick). Sure would have made it easier for the rescue operations but it would not have given you "left wingers" much to gripe and accuse would it now? When I was a child I lived on a creek that had venomous cotton mouth snakes. Dad told me early in my life "son don't play with cotton mouth snakes". Obviously I didn't!!! It wasn't much later in my life that in school I learned that New Orleans was built below sea level and if it had a major storm it would be a major disaster. You think I'm cold hearted but I'm just realistic (too old to spin). It's kind of like people building homes in the middle of a forest and when the fires come blaming the government and anyone else they can for not saving their home. I'm not trying to add insult to injury and if you wish me the worst too late, had two tornados in a period of about 7 years do major damage to my home and barn etc. But I didn't blame the presidents (liberal Slick Willy was president the first one) or the governor or any local officials. But hey I don't believe you left wingers want anything to go well in this country else how would you try to sell your naysayer agendas.

#62 ::: Anarch ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 07:38 PM:

Accusing Alameida of of a "a willful, almost wishful, fantasy of derring-do", as if her stylized and obviously humorous rhetorical stance were being taken in a vacuum... Her point isn't that in an emergency she's going to go all Mad Max...

The rhetorical stance is obviously humorous, but was the post itself intended in jest? It sure doesn't look like that to me, although perhaps that's the way she meant it.

#63 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 07:44 PM:

Ah! A classic "you people" post!

And how refreshing to learn that 99% of the people in New Orleans had cars in their driveways and credit cards for hotel rooms in their pockets.

Good to know that defunding levee repairs and improvements was a fine idea, too.

Thanks for setting us "right," big guy. It's great to know that in this happy land there's still someone to stick up for criminal incompetence.

#64 ::: Alex Merz ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 07:54 PM:

Another Bob: what in the hell are you doing building in a tornado zone? That is plainly irresponsible behavior.

#65 ::: Chris Clarke ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 07:58 PM:

Oh, and Chris - I've already thrown a few bucks at the Red Cross. Now I'm considering if it would be better to throw more money at the immediate disaster, or to send money to what's left of America's opposition party.

I wish I had a good answer to that.

#66 ::: J Thomas ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 08:03 PM:

Dave Kuzminski, you have a point about having weapons to protect your family. But in a disaster, if you needed to go out foraging, I tend to believe you'd do better to leave your weapons with your wife. She's likely to need them more than you. When you're wandering around with unconcealed guns they'll get you in trouble more often than they'll get you out.

But if you disagree that's fine. Live and let live, the stork needn't tell the fox how to catch fish.

#67 ::: J Thomas ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 08:05 PM:

Another Bob wrote,

"Dad told me early in my life "son don't play with cotton mouth snakes". Obviously I didn't!!!"

So what are you doing *here*?

#68 ::: Anthr Bb ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 08:06 PM:

Rnld McDnld

rst my cs

lx Mrz

Trnds hv bn spttd n ll f th cntnntl 48 stts, whch plnt d y lv n nstn?

#69 ::: Another Bob ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 08:11 PM:

Ah Gee J, I don't know what to tell you, except "everone has to be somewhere"

#70 ::: Jhn Sbtt ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 08:12 PM:

Ltng jwlry str hs nthng t d wth "srvvlsm", rght-wng r thrws - t's nthng bt thft, nd th jwlry-str wnr wld hv vry rght t scttr yr fckng brns ll vr th pvmnt, y lftst crp.

Rlly, y knw, f y bstrds wnt t y'll gt xctly wht y dsrv. Thr's plnty f ppl wh'd hnd t t, t. T bd bt yr kds, thgh.

#71 ::: Alex Merz ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 08:13 PM:

Hey Bob, are the probabilities of being hit by a tornado *equal* in all states? You've been hit twice. Maybe you're just... unlucky?

#72 ::: Georgiana ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 08:21 PM:

What a funny fellow you are, Another Bob. That Ronald McDonald thing is knee slappingly amusing. How do you come up with such clever bon mots?

#73 ::: Another Bob ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 08:30 PM:

Alex, you still didn't tell me what planet you live on. Who said I was unlucky? Only you naysayers. I was able to build back bigger and better each time because I live in the greatest country in the world and work hard to make it that way. Insurance didn't pay a dime on the second time only about $2000.00 the first (not even close to the premiums i've paid in my life). The point is that you left wingers can never get is that millions of us when we have hardships etc. don't blame first whine secondly but pick up the pieces and rebuild and go on with life.

#74 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 08:31 PM:

Another Bob--

That is precisely Alex's point. There are no places that are safe from natural disasters. If you know what your risks are, you -- individually and collectively -- can do things to mitigate them, like building levees, making buildings earthquake-resistant, and making sure people have access to tornado shelters.

None of those methods are perfect. When disaster strikes, decent human beings do what we can to save ourselves, help each other when we can, and get out of the way when we can't. We don't sit safely on the high ground and go "nyah nyah" at the people in trouble.

#75 ::: Lin ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 08:31 PM:

Probably 19% of the 20% remaining could have been ...

Yo, Bob! Did you ask any of the 20%? I have. Personally. And in come cases I was told without having to ask. Did you listen to anything any of them said on tv? Do you realize FoxNews actually had interviews with people who said they'd wanted to leave but couldn't?

Did you ask?
Do you listen?

#76 ::: Bob Oldendorf ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 08:32 PM:

Another Bob:
I'm curious -- when you heard the tornado warnings -did you start walking out of tornado alley, or did you hunker down, expecting to ride it out?

The evacuation order was given Sunday morning (as near as I can tell, about 10am). The wind was already blowing Force Five, and the barometer was already dropping as a CATEGORY FIVE hurricane was coming, within hours.

At noon, the buses in New Orleans stopped trying to get out, and started bringing people over to the Superdome.

And the people who rode out the storm in New Orleans made the correct decision: they were fine - -
until four years of neglect caused the levees to fail.

Now, in retrospect, you're saying that they should have known that they wouldn't be rescued for nearly a week.

Which means that you were more certain of the of the administration's incompetence than they were.

#77 ::: Alex Merz ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 08:38 PM:

"you still didn't tell me what planet you live on."

It seems that you can type, but not read. I did say what planet I live on, before you asked, in this very thread.

#78 ::: Another Bob ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 08:40 PM:

When the second one hit I was in CA so I'm always "hunkered down" out here. But to say they had no warning is ludicrous as Accu Weather predicted the almost exact path about a week before it hit New Orleans.

#79 ::: Alex Merz ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 08:51 PM:

Bob, your last name isn't Major, is it?

Major Major's father was a sober God-fearing man whose idea of a good joke was to lie about his age. He was a long-limbed farmer, a God-fearing, freedom-loving, law-abiding rugged individualist who held that federal aid to anyone but farmers was creeping socialism. He advocated thrift and hard work and disapproved of loose women who turned him down. His speciality was alfalfa, and he made a good thing out of not growing any.

#80 ::: Bob Oldendorf ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 08:51 PM:

Another Bob: I never said they had no warning: I'm saying that sometimes the smart thing to do is to hunker down. After all, you are not going to walk out of the path of a Cat Five hurricane.

You were hit by a tornado, and yet YOU stayed and rebuilt - you might have some empathy for the residents of New Orleans, who have been hit by any number of hurricanes over the years, and - until George Bush began starving the Corps of Engineers - always rode them out and rebuilt, too.

#81 ::: Lenny Bailes ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 08:51 PM:

How many "Another Bobs" out there are going to cast their votes for Frist, Neil Bush, Tom Delay, Zell Miller, or Etrigan in the next two elections?

Is it worth it to say this: "Look, you're probably a perfectly nice guy to your family and friends. Obviously, you can read, write and think; maybe a lot better than some others who live in your community. Please don't let Bush and his cronies play you for a sucker. We may have political differences on a number of issues. But human life is precious. The incompetent, deceitful people who can't care for the refugee population of New Orleans are not likely to care for you or your family, either.

Hundreds of thousands of Americans have given their lives to create a country that values the best civilization that human beings can build. Please help us to preserve it. Don't give these people a free pass to continue looting your tax money and pursuing unworkable fantasies instead of providing the public service you want for you and yours."

#82 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 09:05 PM:

Another Bob: When the second one hit I was in CA so I'm always "hunkered down" out here.

And you could have been in an earthquake instead. Possibly one of the type where your adrenaline goes from 'idle' to 'full' in about half a second. I've lived in tornado country. We had a weather alarm on nearly all the time ('nearly' because after the third or fourth time it's gone off in one night, you unplug it so you can sleep). We had a basement to take cover in, if necessary (and I've been there and done that). Be glad that tornadoes come with watches and warnings, because you might not be here without it.

Oh yes: California has a fine assortment of poisonous critters. And poison oak is very pretty, especially in the fall when it turns really bright orange. We learn about them early. You have no monopoly.

#83 ::: Another Bob ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 09:08 PM:

Dadburnit' Doggone it' Lenny you slipped and called them "refugees". Now your aligning yourself with the rest of us insensitive right wing bastards

#84 ::: Another Bob ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 09:17 PM:

Bob Not-Old-Enough to remember

George Bush cutting Corp of Engineers funds is so laughable, W was barely defecating yellow when the Corp of Engineers funds was cut!!! Its hard to see out of that little tube isn't it. Look around and see when the last dams were built by the Corp of Engineers.

#85 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 09:17 PM:

Let me tell you a little story, Another Bob.

You probably don't know it, but I'm a volunteer EMT in my community. That's common in America -- volunteer fire department, volunteer EMS, but we're all trained to the same standard as the paid guys in the big cities.

The reason that there is EMS is because Lyndon B. Johnson started the ball rolling and Richard M. Nixon kept it going.

A while back I went to an automobile accident. Two in the morning, raining. A roll over. Just the one automobile.

The cops were there, putting up flares, directing traffic. The firefighters were there with the Jaws of Life. I was there with an ambulance.

The roof of that car was smashed in, the doors jammed.

Now was this accident the driver's fault? I'd say so. I didn't tell him to drive in the rain on bald tires. I didn't tell him to have so much beer that his blood alcohol was at twice the legal limit. I sure as heck didn't tell him not to wear his seatbelt. Same for his passenger -- no seatbelt, riding with a drunk driver, and alcohol in his belly.

But you know something? Neither I, nor the firefighters, nor the cops, just stood there by the side of the road looking at that stove-in car saying "Hey, guys, it's your own damn fault. You got into this mess -- get yourself out."

No, we did what we train to do, what we volunteered to do, what we get paid to do: Got those people out of the car and up to the hospital. Not because they deserved it, but because they're fellow human beings.

One of those guys was my patient. I didn't know his name until much later. His race isn't important. Nobody asked about his insurance. Here's what was important: His neck was broken in three places. C-1, C-3, and C-4 if that means anything to you. He wasn't going to get up on his own, no matter how self-reliant or patriotic or tough-minded he was. He needed help. He got it. Not only did he live, but he didn't get paralysed. That's all I was looking for. Even if being in that situation was his own fault.

Maybe he's out getting drunk and driving too fast again tonight. I don't know. If he is, and he wraps a car around a tree, I'll be back to help him again.

Maybe you'll wrap your car around a tree some night. If so, someone will be there to help you too. And no one will ask if it was your fault before they help you.

#86 ::: adamsj ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 09:19 PM:

Another Bob's numbers--not his percentages, but his actual numbers--are off by quite a bit. Why, then, should I pay attention to any of his words, other than to mock them?

#87 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 09:20 PM:

W was barely defecating yellow when the Corp of Engineers funds was cut!!!

W was defecating yellow in 2003? Good to know!

#88 ::: Bob Oldendorf ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 09:23 PM:

Another Bob: you know nothing of my age. To judge from your comments here, you know nothing of anything but your own experience.

I was attempting to engage you in conversation. Too bad you're too rude to hold up your end.

#89 ::: nthr Bb ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 09:23 PM:

pjms (P J) wht's yr pnt? 'm jst syng vrywhr n ths rth thr r "ntrl dsstrs" tht ppl cnfrnt mnthly, yrly r s bt whn th clvry cms mst ppl dn't sht t thm nd blm thm fr nt gttng thr qck ngh!!!

#90 ::: Alex Merz ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 09:24 PM:

It's always fun to be "schooled" on the history of American dams and waterways by someone who spells it "Corp of Engineers."

#91 ::: Bob Oldendorf ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 09:30 PM:

Another Bob: " when the calvary comes most people don't shoot at them"

When you've been abandoned in a flood, one way to attract attention is to fire into the air.

You're being played for a fool if you believe the reports that the rescue choppers were fired upon. Apparently, being played for a fool is not a new experience for you.

#92 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 09:34 PM:

That boy sure is doing the right-wing cause a world of good.

Do you know how long it takes a man to die of thirst, Another Bob?

It's right around three days. Some people last a little longer, some a little less, but it's in that neighborhood.

If you can't get drinking water to folks in three days it's game over, and you lost.

Incidentally, the stories of people shooting at rescuers seem to have been just a wee tad exagerated. But that doesn't matter to you, eh?

#93 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 09:37 PM:

I'm just saying everywhere on this earth there are "natural disasters" that people confront monthly, yearly or so but when the calvary comes most people don't shoot at them and blame them for not getting there quick enough!!!

When there's as much notice as there is for a hurricane (you do know about warnings, don't you?), help should be ready to roll as soon as it's reasonably safe to go in: when the wind is down a bit and it isn't a solid wall of water.
Earthquakes: no notice, but you start the cleanup as soon as the ground stops moving after the first shock.

When the calvary comes over the hill, we'll be watching in astonishment, because those crosses were planted pretty solidly, and a very long time ago.

#94 ::: colin roald ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 09:55 PM:

Shorter "Another Bob": "If poor people could see the future, they wouldn't have lived in New Orleans. But that wouldn't have given you lefties anything to complain about, so they didn't. My daddy told me not to play with snakes but we got hit with two tornadoes anyway, and we liked it. You liberals don't want anything to go well."

So, um, yup, people here are sometimes a bit quick to jump on first reports of bad things out of the disaster zone, and you know how the first report is always wrong and whatnot. It's good advice to be more circumspect. Thanks! We appreciate it. It's a shame you have to be going already.

#95 ::: Anthr Bb ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 10:05 PM:

xcs m nstn "Crps" n't ths fn, y tr hggrs jst cn't stnd n ppsng pnt f vw. Y tg s nsnstv, mn sprtd tc. Dl s knw frst hnd bt dsstr, bt m smrt ngh t ls knw tht mkng ths pltcl bcs y ht W wn't brng bck th dd nr wll t wsh wy swg n Nw rlns. ll tht ds s frthr yr lft wng gnd. nd s fr s rmmbr W ws lctd twc. Gt vr t. D gr wth ll f hs plcs? Nt vn cls. Bt stll hv ths hrrbl mg f Jhn "Jn" Krry s prsdnt nd wndr wht f. Gss w wll nvr knw hh?

#96 ::: Bob Oldendorf ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 10:06 PM:

On Thursday, George Bush publically admitted that he was totally surprised by the failure of the levees.

The last head of the Corps was sacked for telling Congress that this was likely to happen if the Bush budget was enacted.

Yet trolls on the right believe that
a) Bush should be forgiven for not anticipating the failure of the levees; and
b) the poor residents of New Orleans should be blamed for not having properly anticipated the failure of the levees.

It must be hard work to be a troll.

#97 ::: Alex Merz ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 10:11 PM:

Another Bob typed: "You tag us insensitive, mean spirited etc"

Again, you demonstrate that you can type, but cannot read. I have not called you either of those things. I have pointed out that you are both ignorant and stupid. VERY different. You want insensitive? Stop by and I'll make you blush.

#98 ::: Laurie Mann ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 10:13 PM:

I notice the trolls have been much more at work online over the last two days or so, after not saying much of anything in many forums I'm involved with this week. It's almost like someone lit a little fire under them saying "Stay the course...stay the course..."

And isn't it interesting that most of them don't have the courage to use their own names when they post? Gotta love a person with the courage to stand up and publically state their convictions with their own name.

#99 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 10:20 PM:

Laurie: And they're so sensitive and understanding, too. (Comment by a friend: Another Bob has never been in real need in his life. He's obviously doing well, since he could rebuild his house without insurance or other aid. Lucky him!)

'Compassionate conservative' may be an oxymoron. Possibly without the 'oxy'.

#100 ::: Another Bob ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 10:21 PM:

Alex

Whats smart about holding up for people warned to get out and staying and having to be rescued? Truth hurts doesn't it.

#101 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 10:24 PM:

What's American about seeing someone who needs help, even if it's his own damn fault, and saying "I'm all right, Jack -- fuck you"?

#102 ::: Alex Merz ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 10:25 PM:

"Possibly without the 'oxy'."

Rush Limbaugh excepted, of course. Or was he stockpiling to prevent having to knock over drug stores during the next hurricane?

#103 ::: enjay ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 10:31 PM:

"Treehuggers?"

Don't recall any discussion of trees, or even the environment in general. Seems a tad reflexive.

Recommendation: at least make your insults match the content of the discussion. Otherwise it's really hard to convince people that thought processes are actually engaged, as opposed to bigotry.

#104 ::: nthr Bb ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 10:32 PM:

lx

Mk m blsh? bn plcs y dn't knw xst!!!

Pjms

Y r cllss t wht mlds hv ndrd n my lf. Nt th pnt hr. Y lfts jst wnt t blm W tc. pr nd smpl bcs y r lvng n th pst lwys. ts nly n vd nd trnsmssns tht y cn ht rvrs. ts n llsn.

#105 ::: Bob Oldendorf ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 10:33 PM:

Another Bob, you assert that you're older than most of us here - - yet you've somehow missed the fact that most humans live to have some experience of disaster.

You're come here - - posting anonymously - -and have made fun of the names of the grown-ups attempting to conduct an adult conversation, and now you claim that's it's the adults who are afraid of opposing viewpoints?

What "opposing viewpoints"?

You seem to believe that in this week's disaster, official incompetence should be forgiven. I suppose if you look at it just right, "holding officials accountable for their failures" might be called "an opposing viewpoint" to that.

We are not the ones "making this political." Deciding what problems a society is to address is by definition "political". And this administration has made political decisions that have needlessly killed Americans.

Why do you think that this administration holds you in any higher regards than it holds the City of New Orleans?

#106 ::: Tina ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 10:34 PM:

Yup, yup, all us people with our left-wing agendas just wanted a reason to badmouth Dubya.

...

Wait. I'm not left-wing.

I'd say you might want to read this, but I guess since you've already made up your mind that everything about this is all left-wing propaganda it won't do any good.

Also, you might want to take note of the fact that people are not complaining that the federal government is refusing to magically rebuild New Orleans. What I'm riled up about is the fact that the federal government badly delayed efforts to get the trapped survivors food, water, non-body-ridden shelters, and essential medicines. You seem to be confounding the two topics.

If your tornadoes had left you in a position where you couldn't possibly get to help, darn tooting I would've expected someone to get it to you. That's what disaster relief is for: to help people who have been in disasters.

#107 ::: Alex Merz ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 10:37 PM:

Another Bob,

You don't know the parable of the good Samaritan, do you? Perhaps you might read a bit more, and type a bit less.

#108 ::: Another Bob ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 10:37 PM:

Bluejay

Its not bigotry to have your anti-Bush bashing agenda? You're dogmatic about your hate Bushies theme, am I right?

#109 ::: Alex Merz ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 10:41 PM:

"Make me blush? I been places you don't know exist!!!"

Of course, I see *this* as an opportunity...

#110 ::: Lin ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 10:42 PM:

No tree hugging mentioned here. No one here has said "hate Bush" except ol' bob. Is Another Bob even reading the same threads we are?

#111 ::: Alex Merz ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 10:43 PM:

Bob does have more than a mite of trouble with that whole "reading" concept. I'm beginning to suspect that he's weak-AI.

#112 ::: Another Bob ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 10:47 PM:

Tina

Are you naive enough to believe the same people here would be taking their stand (perfectly rightfull) against what I have been saying if John Kerry had been elected? It just don't work that way!

#113 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 10:50 PM:

Another Bob:

Two words for you. "Project Impact".

This was a FEMA program for "building a disaster-resistant community". "Project Impact operates on a common-sense damage-reduction approach, basing its work and planning on three simple principles: preventive actions must be decided at the local level; private sector participation is vital; and long-term efforts and investments in prevention measures are essential." These sound like pretty conservative concepts to me.

It even proved its worth on February 28, 2001 when a 6.8 magnitude earthquake hit the Puget Sound area. Seattle was one of the early Project Impact cities, and between planning and seismic mitigation projects, the damage was sufficiently small that all the news programs had to show the same pile of bricks on the same car, because it was basically the only photogenic damage site!

That day, President Bush announced that he would cut funding to the program to save $25 million per year. Penny wise, pound foolish.

#114 ::: Alex Merz ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 10:51 PM:

Another Bob: I just did a text search through this thread. YOU brought Bush into the discussion. And yes, I do think that people here (you, apparently, excepted) would be advocating charity (Christian and otherwise) regardless of who is president.

Read, child. THEN write. That's an order.

#115 ::: Henry Richardson ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 10:52 PM:

Actually Other Bob, people here would be first in line to rip Kerry a new one if he had appointed incompetent hacks to FEMA, resulting in thousands of deaths.

You gotta understand that us "lefties" and "tree huggers" and "just plain decent folk" don't give up our right to think in order to march in lockstep with the party of our Dear Leader.

#116 ::: Henry Richardson ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 10:54 PM:

Sorry Other Bob (if there is an Other Bob), meant Another Bob.

#117 ::: Bob Oldendorf ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 10:57 PM:

Another Bob: Are you naive enough to believe the same people here would be taking their stand (perfectly rightfull) against what I have been saying if John Kerry had been elected?

Ok, Another Bob, try it the other way:

Would you be defending President Gore if a Democratic administration had bungled its job this badly?

#118 ::: Georgiana ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 11:01 PM:

Sweet! We've been called naive by two different Bobs on the same day in the same thread!

#119 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 11:07 PM:

Back in early 2001, FEMA said that the three most damaging things that could happen in America would be a hurricane hitting New Orleans, a terrorist attack on New York City, and an earthquake in San Francisco.

Two out of three have hit so far on Bush's watch.

If I lived in San Francisco now I'd be worried.

#120 ::: nthr Bb ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 11:08 PM:

Gys ths hs bn fn!!! 'v hd blst. Bt nd t gt n my 4 whl drv Lrt (ctlly t s my wf's) wth my nw S & W 50 clbr strppd n my hp nd g gt smthng t t. 'll sty "hnkrd dwn". gt hngry t. Jst fr th rcrd, 'm Ntv mrcn/wht 53 nd hv 6th grd dctn. Chrk s nt n th rl nd n Gv chck dmmt. Stck tht n yr lbrl pc pp nd smk t! 'll lv y wth cpl gd tps, plnt yr crn rly nd dn't lv yr cryls n th sn. Wll nd pls pls nvr ls y sns f hmr. Th lst n ws fr. wll sy ths y lbrls r lk pck f dgs, y sr lk t jmp n n shp t tm. Y r t yr bst thn.

#121 ::: punkrockhockeymom ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 11:12 PM:

You know, regarding Another Bob's assertion that commenters here are "making this political," can I please just point out that this particular accusation is not going to cut it, and drives me batshit insane.

Hell yes we are making it political. It was political when the official decisions were made that resulted in this catastrophic clusterfck and it is political now. I damned sure plan on making this political. It's my duty as an informed citizen under the blasted Constitution to make this political.

The Constitution creates a federal government with political branches, Another Bob, quite deliberately, so that the people in power who make crappy ass decisions that result in the deaths of thousands, the suffering of tens of thousands, the displacement of hundreds of thousands and the utter destruction of an entire freakin' city can be held accountable, politically. It's the whole point of the system, Another Bob. You elect people, and if they suck at the job you gave them, you don't elect them again. It's not mean to hold a person accountable for sucking at a job we pay him to do.

If you're watching people in power in the federal government make terrible decisions and govern the country in a reprehensible and incompetent manner, and you aren't making it political, then you aren't patriotic, you aren't doing your duty as a citizen in a representative democracy, and you must hate America.

#122 ::: Anna Feruglio Dal Dan ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 11:15 PM:

Hmm... why are a lot of intelligent people here enganging a troll in conversation?

#123 ::: Alex Merz ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 11:18 PM:

That's a mighty big gun on yer hip Cowboy. Or is it that yer just glad to see me?

#124 ::: Georgiana ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 11:18 PM:

Could that have been any more predictable?

#125 ::: nthr Bb ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 11:19 PM:

Nw thts wht 'm tlkng bt!! Tn l Rn McD
thnks Bsh flw 4 plns n 911 smltnsly nd "pshd" Ktrn n tp f Nw rlns!!! mzng ft fr mrtl mn dn't y thnk. nd y thnk 'm ff bs. Hs lvtr gs hw hgh?

#126 ::: Alex Merz ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 11:19 PM:

In my case, I'm procrastinating. Interacting with "Bob" is less painful than writing a grant proposal; is that faint praise, or what?

#127 ::: Georgiana ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 11:20 PM:

Hold on, did he demand to know what we are all doing about this and say we are just whiners and that people who complain never do anything constructive? Because if not he missed a cue card.

#128 ::: Alex Merz ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 11:22 PM:

Gerogiana, apologies. But a .50 S&W Express is a really big gun. How could I not?

#129 ::: nter Bb ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 11:22 PM:

Sccrmm

nd yr pnt s?

#130 ::: Georgiana ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 11:25 PM:

Oh no no, I didn't mean you Alex. I meant the whole another Bob thing. See I moderate a site filled with people who insult each other if they make less than forty grand a month and surprise, they are mostly conservatives. I see these very same comments day in, day out when they complain about each other, which they do all the time, sometimes forty times a day. I have to read all the arguing to evaluate the complaints.

I am sorry I wan't clear, I am very much enjoying your and Uncle Jim's repartee in particular. You guys are funny.

#131 ::: nthr Bb ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 11:26 PM:

lx

Grnt prpsl, s tht synyms wth "Wlfr Chck"

#132 ::: nthr Bb ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 11:30 PM:

Grgn

Ntv mrcns-ncl Jm's, nghty nghty swt.

#133 ::: Alex Merz ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 11:31 PM:

Don't worry, little pumpkin, all of the proposals that I'm writing at the moment are to private foundations.

#134 ::: nthr Bb ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 11:33 PM:

lx

sn't grnt prpsls synmys wth "Wlfr Chcks"

#135 ::: nthr Bb ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 11:37 PM:

Th hst sn't plyng fr s I'm t hr lv by

#136 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 11:43 PM:

Gee, and I was going to say that it seems really premature to speculate on what Kerry would do as president, seeing as how we're only a year into Gore's second term.

Something about doors and tail ends also comes to mind.

#137 ::: Bob Oldendorf ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 11:43 PM:

Anna Feruglio Dal Dan: Hmm... why are a lot of intelligent people here engaging a troll in conversation?

Well, for one thing, I hold hope that people are capable of growing. Maybe he'll actually think about some of the ideas he's been exposed to here.

second - judging by recent elections, there are a lot of them around in this country, and it behooves us to get to know them better. Now I have a bit more insight about what sort of person could possibly believe Bush's lies.

And third, 'way upstream, somebody innocently confused my name with the other "Bob" we've seen in this thread, so I've been following this thread closely to make sure that THAT never happens again.
So as long as I'm reading here, I figured that I might as well attempt to engage him in conversation. It didn't seem to help him much, but it didn't do me much harm, either.

And "Another Bob" wasn't especially offensive - - a REAL troll is one who starts sending death threats to your home email when he starts losing an argument.


#138 ::: Alex Merz ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 11:46 PM:

You mean scientific research grants from the federal government?

I suppose you could say that these are welfare in the same sense that "highways" and "water projects" and "libraries" and "the internet" (which you seem to have no strong objection to) and "the coast guard" are, yes.

By the way, it might interest you to know that Newt Gingrich and the Republican house leadership thought that government grants for biomedical research are so, dreadful that they spearheaded the doubling of the NIH budget during the 1990s. Don't like it? Take it up with them.

#139 ::: Alex Merz ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 11:46 PM:

Whoops! Forgot to close the italic tag

#140 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 04, 2005, 11:48 PM:

And I read a newsgroup with a resident troll and several intelligent people who are in the habit of insulting another poster. Frequently. The troll can be ignored more easily; the others actually know quite a bit about the subject. (The rest of us yell at them every so often to shut up and act their age.)

#141 ::: Lenny Bailes ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2005, 01:05 AM:

Hmm... why are a lot of intelligent people here enganging a troll in conversation?

Me: because 51% ((maybe)) of the U.S. electorate voted in 2004 to continue Bush's incompetent, deceitful administration. I'd like to convince some of them to think about changing their votes. People like "Another Bob" are smart enough to understand that Bush is creating a trainwreck of a government. But they dislike the attitudes they perceive in "people like us" more than they dislike or fear Bush's incompetence and dishonesty.

My worry is that if we want a decent government in the U.S., we have to find someplace to convince more "Bobs" to vote in their own self-interest -- instead of using their votes as a revenge instrument against "smarter-than-thou" liberals. When one of them drives by here and drops a dose of "liberals ain't so smart," I tend to think that something is making them want to re-test their own beliefs.

This isn't r.a.s.f.f, and I won't belabor the point that we need the votes _that much_ after someone gets rude.

Is this too much of a cheap shot? You might like Bush's personality and find John Kerry to be personally annoying. But if you're choking to death in an Capitol Hill elevator, which one (at this late date) do you think is more likely to save your life?"

#142 ::: mythago ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2005, 01:17 AM:

Total cost for these two guns: $260.

Well, then you have to add in the cost of a gun safe. And you'll be paying more for ammo, because you have to actually go out and shoot the darn gun at a range once in a while, unless you expect you'll be clubbing people with it. Then you will probably need lessons, and permit fees (you don't really want to keep an illegal SKS around, right?), and...I think we're over $260 now. Just sayin'.

James--in the Bay Area we're of course very worried about earthquakes. You think that Bush ignored NOLA? If a Big One hits SF, he'll probably have Air Force One fly low over the rubble so he can piss on it.

(And that's SF. Less glamorous and less white places like Richmond or Oakland wouldn't even get a nod on CNN unless there were shots of dark-skinned people burning things.)

#143 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2005, 01:30 AM:

"Hi, my name's Another Bob and I'm a trolling addict. I get involved in arguments online and I can't stop myself from trying to have the last word. I've lost all control. I keep saying more and more outrageous things, just so I can think I have some control over the conversation. Even when I try to stop posting, even when I say I've made my last post, I can't stop myself from coming back to make just... one... more. Oh, hell, sometimes a dozen."

#144 ::: ro ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2005, 02:10 AM:

This has been an intriguing read so far, especially for someone like me who's living in SF and is not an American.

I don't want to be a naysayer but am wondering: what would make me believe that a different government would have acted differently in the same case? And even if there would have been wiser people in charge during the last week and before (greenlighting budgets and such), wouldn't people in leadership at the local level still act the same? Honest questions.

#145 ::: Bob Oldendorf ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2005, 02:28 AM:

Well, I suspect that had the Corps of Engineers not been starved, the levees very well might have held. The major break was exactly where the Corps had to down tools four years ago.

So with a different federal administration, this entire nightmare might be remembered instead as "New Orleans' Close Call'. Monday afternoon, the sun was coming out, reporters were talking about the city 'having dodged a bullet.' Then the levees failed.

#146 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2005, 03:13 AM:

well me and my friends always used to go out to open farmland, set up some old mattresses and various trashed bottles and shoot the shit out of them: priceless.

#147 ::: Tina ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2005, 05:34 AM:

Since he's been majorly disemvowelled and he's such a trolly troll this is probably pointless but:

Yes, "Another Bob". If Kerry had screwed up to this proportion, I'd still be partly blaming him (as well as still blaming certain FEMA people). I didn't have any problem expressing my distaste at Clinton's signing the CDA into law, for instance.

I'm also pretty darn certain that Teresa and Patrick have the intellectual honesty to point out when someone they otherwise support screws up. I suspect the same is true of many other regular posters here.

Can you say the same?

Hell, if anything, I think some of the people here would be more angry, simply because they would tend to expect better things out of Kerry than out of Bush..

Of course, you'd notice that people were putting the blame on "the government" (as a generic) and "FEMA" as well as just Bush if you were doing more than drive-by arguments, but hell, don't let me stop you from your idée fixe.

#148 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2005, 05:36 AM:

Bobbing for last-name-bobbitized buffoons....

=============================

This has been an intriguing read so far, especially for someone like me who's living in SF and is not an American.

I don't want to be a naysayer but am wondering: what would make me believe that a different government would have acted differently in the same case? And even if there would have been wiser people in charge during the last week and before (greenlighting budgets and such), wouldn't people in leadership at the local level still act the same? Honest questions.

1. A lobotomized flatworm has more of a clue about keeping/putting in "cognizant personnel" [translation--people who have expert knowledge and competence and experience] in emergency operations management/disaster planning/disaster planning management positions then the Schmuck has.

2. There are a bunch of people who hang around [virtually[ Making Light who drunk at 3 AM and lacking sleep, are better planners and executors than anyone in FEMA seems to be, regarding "what are the needs and how can they most expeditiously be addressed"? for disaster relief. Here's a simple example, anyone halfway competent who ever worked on Operations at a World Science Fiction Convention (I hope I'm not causing PNH and TNH flashbacks things they'd prefer to not have come into their conscious memories there.... but it's an example].

3. Leadership MATTERS. I saw how fast atittudes and performance and morale could change, when I was in the Air Force, when the Commander changed. Incompetents the people working at lower levels have to try to get AROUND "pointy-haired manager" (look up "Dilbert") and morale became sarcastic and "getting things done despite the incompetent management." When I was in Cheyenne Mountain, I had a boss who used to DELIBERATELY walk past the dumpsters when coming in to work, "to get [him' in the proper mood" smelling the stinking garbage

Theme songs included "Take This Job and Shove It," "Disco Duck," and the third one I can't remember at the moment--just remembered it, "We Gotta Get out of This Place."

Anyway, good, competent leaders inspire people to excel and be creative and come up with better/more effective/easier/faster ways of doing things, and reward people for it, with appreciate. Bad leaders snarl at anyone who suggests an original thought or improvement, squelch anyone exhibiting "initiative" stomp on people who bring up questions that hint hit at problems, refuse to acknowledge any problems or "deficiencies" and resist both admitting problems and doing anything to -fix- problems, and are averse to anyone going looking and finding potential new problem areas.

Recall the Challenger disaster, and Columbia disasters, top-down Bad Management of "I don't want to hear any bad news." While Columbia's crew -may- have been dooms, NASA appartachiks refused to have the shuttle imaged with cameras that had the resolution to see if there was wing damage--they didn't want to know, better to pretend that there couldn't be a problem or likw Schmuck have faith and believe in Tinkerbelle, that willing there to be no damage and refusing to look to see what the situation was, the bad thing wouldn't happen--don't look in the closest and the monster won't be there. Columbia exploded because the Political Appointee on paper in charge of NASA while Beggs was on administrative leave because he'd worked for Congress' favorite whipping target defense contractor, General Dynamic, didn't have the COGNIZANCE about space systems to know/care about "envelope" of operations where if the conditions were outside the envelope, disaster become a lot more likely to occur. Reagan wanted to talk to a Teacher in Space for the State of the Union Message, and if Columbia didn't launch that day, that couldn't happen. The fact that the temperature outside was below the minimum allowable for shuttle operations... was something that the flunkeys didn't care about, they wanted Columbia launched, and when Morton-Thiokol for the launch readiness checklist said "no," NASA appartchiks said in different words that they weren't going to accept that answer, they pressured Morton-Thiokol to change the "no" to a "yes" and pressed until they got their way.

I felt then and felt to this day, that had Beggs not been on administrative leave, Columbia would have stayed on the ground that day--he was technically cognizance and and engineer. The deputy administrator, was an administrator and not technically cognizant-- remind anyone of Mr Bush and his worthless MBA? Yeah, it's from Harvard, but what was his true Grade Point Average, and Harvard HAS given degrees to people that didnt have to have been earned for academic hard work....

#149 ::: Tina ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2005, 05:41 AM:

ro, I think that one key point is that a lot of people are fairly certain that a different government would have been more likely to concentrate on domestic problems over foreign ones. I can't quote you actual stats or hard facts but my gut feeling based on observation is that more moderate-to-liberal governments do tend to do this.

A concentration on domestic issues would probably have resulted in better planning for strong hurricanes, and I suspect also led to better post-disaster response.

#150 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2005, 06:53 AM:

Just having more of the military, regular and National Guard, home in the USA would have made a difference. Look at how many transport aircraft and helicopters are still in Iraq, or flying in and out of Iraq.

It's not just a question of which issues the government pays attention to; it's what resources they choose to apply.

And some things there probably wouldn't be any difference. Can you imagine either party wanting to accept help from Cuba?

#151 ::: Doug ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2005, 10:34 AM:

I don't want to be a naysayer but am wondering: what would make me believe that a different government would have acted differently in the same case? And even if there would have been wiser people in charge during the last week and before (greenlighting budgets and such), wouldn't people in leadership at the local level still act the same? Honest questions.

Pretty much the whole record of FEMA after it adopted the reforms proposed in the wake of Hurricane Andrew (1992). The good news is that the leader who spurred these results is now Gov. Blanco's point person in Katrina recovery.

Local government was always going to be overwhelmed by a storm of this magnitude. That's why having the federal response poised and ready to go in the days after the rain stopped was so important. That's why failure at the national level has been such a problem.

#152 ::: Ann K ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2005, 12:25 PM:

James D. MacDonald wrote:
"The DEA takes a dim view of this, and jailers may not take their prisoners to higher ground when a hurricane's coming."

So, am I reading this correctly, that prisoners can be left to die in the path of a hurricane or other natural disaster? I don't doubt your claim, but I do not want to believe it.

#153 ::: Don Fitch ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2005, 12:43 PM:

"A concentration on domestic issues would probably have resulted in better planning for strong hurricanes, and I suspect also led to better post-disaster response."

That, and a general party-orientation towards the idea that Government exists to serve the Public Needs. The current Administration seems topheavy with CEOs who are unable to adapt to the idea that their job is to fulfill the needs of the customers. As I understand it, FEMA contracted, over a year ago, to have New Orleans covered by a private Disaster Management business, then was folded into the Homeland Security organization. (Lotsa opportunity there for finger-pointing, and I suppose the higher-ups will decide who gets whipped -- Brown, for sure, and deservedly...but his very appointment was a Serious Mistake.) I'm sure thousands of pages of Documents of the kind that CEOs find Impressive & Satisfying were generated, but it doesn't appear that much physical or practical work has been done. And the recent practice of politicizing governmental departments has seriously weakened the traditional system of bureaucratic workers on the ground getting things done reasonably well despite the Pointy-headed Bosses. I happen to think this whole trend wouldn't be nearly as bad under a more liberal Congress & Administration, but of course it's impossible to be certain of this.

#154 ::: Pat Greene ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2005, 12:53 PM:

Columbia exploded because the Political Appointee on paper in charge of NASA while Beggs was on administrative leave because he'd worked for Congress' favorite whipping target defense contractor, General Dynamic, didn't have the COGNIZANCE about space systems to know/care about "envelope" of operations where if the conditions were outside the envelope, disaster become a lot more likely to occur. Reagan wanted to talk to a Teacher in Space for the State of the Union Message, and if Columbia didn't launch that day, that couldn't happen. The fact that the temperature outside was below the minimum allowable for shuttle operations... was something that the flunkeys didn't care about, they wanted Columbia launched, and when Morton-Thiokol for the launch readiness checklist said "no," NASA appartchiks said in different words that they weren't going to accept that answer, they pressured Morton-Thiokol to change the "no" to a "yes" and pressed until they got their way.

I felt then and felt to this day, that had Beggs not been on administrative leave, Columbia would have stayed on the ground that day--he was technically cognizance and and engineer. The deputy administrator, was an administrator and not technically cognizant-- remind anyone of Mr Bush and his worthless MBA? Yeah, it's from Harvard, but what was his true Grade Point Average, and Harvard HAS given degrees to people that didnt have to have been earned for academic hard work....

That should be "Challenger," not "Columbia."

#155 ::: mythago ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2005, 01:39 PM:

well me and my friends always used to go out to open farmland, set up some old mattresses and various trashed bottles and shoot the shit out of them: priceless.

Depends on where you live. Out here in the West, if you accidentally hit a tree, that's a felony. (Class A in Oregon, if I remember correctly.)

#156 ::: ro ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2005, 01:46 PM:

Bob, Paula & Tina: Thanks for explaining. So the core of it all is the old saying that "A level people hire A level people, B level people hire C level people because they're afraid of A level people"? That would be very scary.

Regarding faith vs. preparation & good planning: they aren't mutually exclusive really. If I remember correctly, even Moses had problems with leadership - he couldn't take care of all the problems the logistic nightmare of leading tens of thousand people through the desert and people got grumpy. So his father in law suggested that he'd delegate things to skillful people, having time and a free mind to take care of the big issues.

#157 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2005, 02:43 PM:

' Out here in the West, if you accidentally hit a tree, that's a felony. '
well the west is sort of a big area, if we talk about the Mountain West then I doubt it is a crime in Wyoming, Idaho or Utah. I was in Utah.

And the area didn't have any trees.

#158 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2005, 09:20 PM:

So, Willie, you chickenshit old poseur -- whoops, sorry, I forgot the name's "Another Bob" now -- do you have any last words before I permanently lock you out of my weblog?

#159 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2005, 10:19 PM:

Pat: Yes, that that was Challenger I meant, not Columbia.

ro: "First raters hire first raters. Second raters hire third raters to make the second raters look good and keep the second raters' egos propped up."

#160 ::: mythago ::: (view all by) ::: September 05, 2005, 10:26 PM:

And the area didn't have any trees.

Then y'all are safe from charges of felonious tree-spiking.

#161 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2005, 12:08 AM:

Framing this whole mess as racism is problematic. Saying W is racist or that this was a racist thing frames the issue in a way that a lot of people simply will be unable to hear. I saw this happen a number of times over the last couple of days. People focused on cries of racism and since they found that incredulous, they denied ALL accusations, all problems, all screwups.

If you hear anyone try to frame this as being racism, that the government would have treated a white neighborhood different than a black neighborhood, just stop them. Bush doesn't give a damn if you're black or white, he just thinks that if you're poor, you must deserve to be poor, and if you've got money, then you've got something to contribute to his campaign fund.

#162 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2005, 12:11 AM:

yes, that was a complete non-sequitor

#163 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2005, 12:49 AM:

My comment, you mean? Trust me -- if you knew who it was aimed at, you'd be bored.

#164 ::: Liza ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2005, 02:16 PM:

This whole thing has been very interesting to me.

I lobby for an organization that thinks that the Corps' budget has been insufficient for some time. Not only has the Corps had to contend with bad budgets from Bush and from Congress, it has also had to contend with accusations from groups like Environmental Defense (which in general I think is quite good, but happens to be way off on the issue of the Corps) criticizing projects like the Louisiana Coastal Restoration project, which among other things, protects the Louisiana coast from storms. So the Corps has been taking hit after hit from both sides of the aisle for some time.

At the outset of this tragedy, it sounded like Administration people were making forays into blaming the Corps for the levee break. Thank God Mike Parker spoke up and mentioned that he said several years ago that the President's budget for the Corps was insufficient. Because Bush cannot countenance such obvious disloyalty, he was, in fact, sacked. The current guy in his position (look it up if you want to know who that is) was SO scared of retribution by Bush that he pussyfooted around a direct question by the Chairman of their Appropriations Sub-Committee in a hearing last March regarding the Office of Management and Budget's funding ceiling for Corps.

So, while under-funding the Corps is hardly Bush-specific and it's hardly Iraq-specific that they have not gotten their funding, perhaps if the Administration listened to their own experts instead of firing them and said experts didn't have to live in fear of telling the truth, perhaps recently things might have gone a little bit differently.

#165 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2005, 04:01 PM:

So, was thinking about the charges of racism and the perfect T-Shirt design came to mind:

George W. Bush: Equal Opportunity Destroyer

On the back it could say something like:

vvvvv

George W. Bush isn't a racist. The failure to mobilize troops for a week while Americans died wasn't because they were mostly black, it was because they were mostly poor, and poor people do not comprise his voting base.

If New Orleans were populated by rich black republicans who prayed at the beginning of school, taught intelligent design in biology class, thought abortion of any kind was murder, thought gay marriage would turn us into pillars of salt, thought "under god" had been in the pledge of alligiance since 1776, not only would Bush have mobilized the Marines the day before Katrina hit the coast... he would have nominated one of them to the Supreme Court.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

#166 ::: Eric ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2005, 04:39 PM:

One of my friends went down into costal Mississippi to check on family members, all of whom survived the storm but who were out of communication.

He's an ex-cop, staunch liberal activist, Eagle scout, and the person I'd most like to have with me when everything goes from bad to worse.

His advice (and the advice of the cops he spoke with): Don't go into coastal Mississippi without a firearm and the skill to use it--there's quite a lot of looting and theft of emergency supplies. Also highly recommended are gas tank locks, portable radios, spare fuel, an inverter for your car, and plenty of food and water. Bug spray will be needed shortly, and there's some concern about mosquito-borne illness. Make sure you can drive for several hundred miles without refueling; gas shortages are widespread.

The area is reassembling itself, largely thanks to out-of-state cops, volunteer cleanup crews, and tons of utility workers.

#167 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2005, 10:18 PM:

Not surprising. If people feel like we're all in it together, they'll generally help each other. If they think they've been abandoned, and bad is going to come to worst, they'll do what they can to ensure that they-and-theirs make it through.

My sense is that survivalism (as commonly practiced in the Intermountain West, and sporadically practiced elsewhere) is actually a counter-survival mindset. One seldom sees emergencies that come down to an us-vs.-them situation. Even the Gulf Coast disaster needn't have come to that point -- it was a natural disaster, but a man-made catastrophe. In most cases, we're all of us much likelier to survive if we cooperate. That's why our species picked up the habit in the first place.

#168 ::: Michael Turyn ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2005, 10:26 PM:
  1. Do any of us seriously believe that the attendees of the Bohemian Grove would act any better?

    (I mean, just two years of unemployment, and I've considered working for GWB's federal government---think of what I might do if I were waist-deep in the big muddy? I don't think I'm particularly weak-willed.)


  2. Q: What's the difference between Iraq and New Orleans?
    A: In one of them, a bunch of poor Americans are waist deep in a stinking mire, and a hurricane just hit the other one.
#169 ::: Eric ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2005, 09:39 AM:

I agree with Teresa on "surivalism", and for that matter, so does Doug Ritter:

Added notoriety has become associated with the term because among modern day survivalists there is often an element of extreme paranoia and anti-government hostility. There may also be elements of nationalism, racism, religious prejudice, or similar bigotry. Some act as individuals, others form or join groups with agendas of various extremity. Some pursue an active anti-social agenda and we then call them hate groups, or worse, terrorists. Any wonder the term "survivalist" has taken on a negative connotation?

Personally, I find it rather sad that entering coastal Mississippi without a firearm (and the necessary skills) is unofficially a Bad Idea in the eyes of local law enforcement. I'm just passing word along.

#170 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2005, 04:38 PM:

mythago: Gun safe is useful, but not required. A trigger lock ($15) will do the job.

Ammo, well yes, a bit of familiarity with recoil and such is nice, but dry fire will improve most people's shooting far more than actually burning powder.

Permits? Where I live (d'at lib'rul bastion Calif.) one doesn't need a permit for an SKS (so long as it's one of the internal magazine jobs).

Even adding the stuff mentioned (locks, and a couple of trips to the range) you're still looking at $325 which can be spread out a bit.

Me, I'd like to think everyone who owns a gun has some idea of how to safely use, and store it, but it's not a legal requirement, so the lessons (which can be free, I've given lots) aren't going to be a cost factor.


#171 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2005, 04:50 PM:

Mythago: looking at the Calif. Penal Code, shooting a tree, per se, isn't a felony.


593a. (a) Every person who maliciously drives or places, in any tree, saw-log, shingle-bolt, or other wood, any iron, steel, ceramic, or other substance sufficiently hard to injure saws, knowing that the tree is intended to be harvested or that the saw-log, shingle-bolt, or other wood is intended to be manufactured into any kind of lumber or other wood product, is guilty of a felony.

#172 ::: Alexis Duncan ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2005, 05:02 PM:

Terry Karney:
Ammo, well yes, a bit of familiarity with recoil and such is nice, but dry fire will improve most people's shooting far more than actually burning powder.
How does that work? I would have thought that to improve your skill, you would need the feedback of seeing where your bullets hit relative to the mark.

#173 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2005, 08:23 PM:

Alexis: Feedback is nice, but not needful.

It's like anything else, good habits need to be established early. The best habit, when firing a weapon, is keeping the thing steady as the stored energy is released (not tweaking the supporting arm, or "plucking" the string on a bow is the same thing).

Firing a pistol, or a rifle with recoil (even something with as little as an SKS, can hide a host of bad habits, (yank, flinch, etc.) which affect point of impact.

If the weapon is zeroed, and one spends time (and I mean a fair bit of time) doing dry fire one can learn good habits (and spending ten bucks on "Snap Caps", a type of inert practice ammo; which protects the firing pin from damage caused by falling on an empty chamber [side note, never dry fire a spring-powered air rifle, it will break] is a good idea, so add that to the costs).

As anyone who had spent time unlearning a piece of bad muscle memory will attest, it's far better to start with good habits than it is to try correcting them.

If you doubt me, I point out the Marine Corps spends a week (to the Army's three days) of Boot Camp to "snapping in" which is dry fire, before they so much as issue one round of live ammo to recruits.

I try to get a couple of hundred dry fires done every month.

For those who have a little more money, and want the positive feedback of holes in paper, an inexpensive .22 LR allows this, without the recoil effects which can hide the problems I referred to above.

#174 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2005, 09:22 PM:

Greg --

They're racist.

They're not just racist.

The only available American frame for a landed aristocracy is the Confederacy; they want to be landed aristocrats.

That means, among other things, destroying the -- very real -- post industrial information economy and the middle class, because both of those things produce disruptive change.

Is also means re-instituting slavery, because you can't have the Confederacy-model landed aristocracy without it. Which means debt peonage, generally ignoring rights if you don't have enough money to fight the appeals, and a general destruction of the rule of law.

This is the very consistent, driving trend of the last thirty years of American neocon efforts. (My personal belief is that, at a gut level, they decided that any federal government able to tell them to treat a black man as their equal was illegitimate and had to go, and they've been coming up with rationalizations ever since.)

#175 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2005, 09:42 PM:

Graydon: I do believe you have it right (I've been getting the same feeling for a couple of years). Why else would these people push 'original intent' as a reason to get rid of things like Social Security and company pensions and AFDC, but not payments to corporations (or to require militia training, which I think was part of the intent of the second amendment, given that we weren't going to have a standing army)?

#176 ::: Rev Bushmaster ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2009, 07:38 AM:

I am a world traveler thanks uncle sam (101st PsyOps) and Fluor Daniel now the Flour corporation (reinforcing ironworker foreman and assistant superintendent. Also thanks to the insurance check (it paid for several adventures across the pond). Now at age 55 I am feeling (my knees) those days (1972-73) in the 101st airborne (hey even Psyops guys had to jump!) , and the hard manual labor of ironworking.

Anyway the point I am getting to is that the world so different now (I sound like grand pa). Really I am also a hillbilly and have my little piece of heaven here in the southern Applach. mountains, and a few friends. Most people around here have the anti government mentality and have had it for hundreds of years.

Everyone I know owns at least one weapon and has food etc put away. I am very happy that the city folk is beginning to get a us vs them mentality. Its healthy and practical. In the late 80's up until the mid 90's most city folk seemed to be oblivious to the threat that existed and thought people like myself were gun toting nut cases! Then the serial killers began killing, Katerina hit the cops began getting caught on the then new technology, vid cams beating citizens nearly to death. Then cops were caught shooting grand mothers and people going to weddings to death, sometimes expending a couple of 21 round clips from their 9s etc.

The national guard seized weapons in Katrina, and I forgot to mention the war on citizens that started in the late 70's to the 80's, it was called the war on drugs. However black clothed machine carrying goons kicking in doors to check for drugs is a war on citizens that have no violent crimes on their record for the most part, they simply just did not agree with the state.

Oh I forgot the atrocity at Waco and the murders of civilians one a child by slime ball FBI and ATF goons at Ruby ridge....

Yes, its not a free country, and I don't think that we ever were a free people really. Perhaps the 1800's up to the early 19th century (around 1910)was a great time because the government lacked the tools to monitor us closely so were free due to the inability of government to make it otherwise, at least they couldn't control us covertly like they do today.

Well in any case I must close, I own a church and two missions I am trying to get up and running anyone feel free to write me at RSADE1@aol.com, put in caps ATTENTION ATTENTION !!! in the title field and I will answer all.

; {>

Long live the south and or the people who love the confederacy, its about states rights not racism.

#177 ::: Rev Bushmaster ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2009, 07:41 AM:

I have just noticed the dates of the replies! Ang! Slooooooooooer than my elderly basset hound!

; }>

#178 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2009, 10:58 AM:

Oh, don't worry about late replies; people have been known to reply to threads a year or more old--and even not be spam while doing it. :)

I don't mean to imply that you're spam, either.

It's such a pain in the neck to communicate intent in text...

#179 ::: Rev Bushmaster ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2009, 07:48 PM:

Don't worry Carrie I am not a spammer of spam, just a atypical bored white boy with too much free time on his hands, thanks for your reply! : }>

#180 ::: Serge sees SPAN ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2011, 07:15 AM:

Probably not THAT Will Smith.

#181 ::: joann thinks Serge should be seeing SPAM ::: (view all by) ::: February 16, 2011, 11:13 AM:

C SPAN not trigger the filters.

Choose:
Smaller type (our default)
Larger type
Even larger type, with serifs

Dire legal notice
Making Light copyright 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 by Patrick & Teresa Nielsen Hayden. All rights reserved.