Wednesday, May 3, 2006

Can We Learn?

Today I'm reading about Ray Nagin's announcement about new evacuation plans for New Orleans, should they be needed again.
Nagin also said federal Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff had cleared the way for the use of Amtrak passenger trains in the event of an evacuation.
I don't understand - are they saying that trains weren't used during Katrina because people weren't allowed? That's a little mind-boggling. It makes me wonder if people really understand what the word "emergency" entails.
People with special medical needs and the elderly would be picked up by city, school and church buses and taken to the train station or evacuated by bus to shelters.

For security, 3,000 National Guard troops could be stationed with police throughout the city prior to a storm, and a dusk-to-dawn curfew would be in place once the evacuation was over, Police Superintendent Warren Riley said.


In addition to the human elements, the plan touches on a heart-wrenching decision evacuees faced ahead of Katrina: To board the buses, they had to leave their pets, and some refused to go without them. In the future, evacuees will be allowed to bring pets with them as long as they are in a cage.
All right, I like the sounds of these parts. Plans to go and fetch those who can't help themselves, and places that will be prepared to take them. Having a police/guard force in place before people get the idea that rioting and looting is a swell thought. Not forcing people to abandon animals, as long as they can contain them.

This part makes me hopeful that we (the American people) sometimes can learn from our mistakes, instead of just repeating them. That would be nice. Because you know what? I've seen the weather patterns these past few years, and we'd be idiots to think that a hurricane like Katrina can't happen to New Orleans again.

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