Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Responsibility and Accountability


New Orleans' finest at work, one day after the Hurricane. RightWing Nuthouse has a timeline of Katrina and its aftermath.

Being away for the better part of the weekend, I missed the second half of Meet the Press and 60 Minutes. Tim Russert took a bite out of Chertoff; and like a tenacious pit bull, just would not let go. Most analysts I've listened to think Russert was magnificent. Of course, these observers are the same ones enjoying Monday morning quarterbacking. Chertoff would say now's not the time to play the blame game, and Russert kept playing it anyway. *Shrugs*. I missed the second half.

I only caught a radio broadcast of Nagin's interview (go here to see the interview), and it sounds like Scott Pelley threw him nothing but softballs; and Mayor Naggin' Nagin laid plenty of blame to go around town, state, and country....leaving only that crucial man- in-the-mirror as exonerated with clean hands from any of that blame-slinging.

I'm sure there probably is blame that could be handed around. But a good portion of that blame is hindsight blame. Lessons we can learn from for the future on how to do things better next time. But I don't think it's horribly constructive to just fire someone as a scapegoat of blame. Unless there really was negligence or incompetence involved. I just feel no one really knew any better, and if someone else were in the same shoes in all offices that mattered, it would have gone down exactly the same way.

I'd like to point out how we here living in Los Angeles and Southern California having been warned for years that "the Big One" is coming. And yet we still choose to live here. Just as New Orleans residents know they live below the sea level and have had hurricanes in the past, all of us who choose to live in these "risk-filled" areas of the country should shoulder some of the burden of responsibility ourselves before laying the blame at the foot of others. Ultimately, you're responsible for your own welfare. If you want government assurance that they are doing everything possible for you before a catastrophy hits, then do something about it now, rather than moaning and whining about it after the sh*t has already hit the fan. Don't build a house on the San Andreas fault line, then blame government for your own stupidity and decision-planning. If you choose to live in a luxury home that sits on the edge of a cliff, you do so at your own peril. It's not anyone's responsibility to go out of their way to make sure that you are aware of this. (For fellow Californians, this is a useful site to visit).

Now, with that said, of course we pay tax dollars to have government provide us with security and stability and we expect them to provide care and protection in the wake of a disaster. But it must be reasonable expectations. Anytime you are dealing with large government, it is bogged with beauracracies. The President can push all the buttons at his disposal, and still nothing seems to move, because of all the levels of beauracracy.

If you are unsure of government preparedness in a crisis, in how well-structured your work office is in being able to withstand "the Big One", then do something about it NOW! Perhaps the good in Hurricane Katrina, is that it's a test and a wake-up call to how prepared this country is in being able to handle something far worse and perhaps on a grander scale. Federal....State....local...individual.....we all share in the responsibility and the blame.

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3 Comments:

Blogger mlwhitt said...

I think there are so many people to blame at this point that instead of blaming anymore, we need to just make sure this doesn't happen again. We need to demand that the Civil Service be brought back to a level even greater than it was during the Cold War. As tragic as this has been, it could have been worse, and we need to be better prepared.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005 8:37:00 PM  
Blogger Mary said...

All last week, I kept thinking about the potential for a catastrophic earthquake in California, the choices people make and the risks they take.

I wondered how Arnold would respond to a massive disaster. I imagine he wouldn't be a Blanco.

I also was reminded of the blizzards and the severe thunderstorms that I've lived through.

There are no guarantees in life. Natural disasters happen. We each are responsible to do our best to be prepared.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005 9:19:00 PM  
Blogger Mark said...

Thanks for the timeline. In light of what we are hearing from the broadcast news media, it is eye opening.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005 9:51:00 PM  

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