Saturday, January 16, 2010

I'm having deja vu.

I saw a guy interviewed on TV this morning...

"Nobody came!" he said into the camera.

"Welcome to the human race!" I blurted back at the television.

Maybe everybody has a breaking point. Maybe at some point we all just sit down, throw up our hands, and wait for Mommy, or teacher, or the doctor, or the government, or the Red Cross, or the UN... But I'd like to think that the instinct to grab a shovel is strong in at least some of us. I mean, if it weren't, the lions would have eaten the whole troop of us before we made it off the veldt, no?

27 comments:

Michael said...

Looks like the reporter came.

Shermlock Shomes said...

I'm descended from that monkey who shoved the whiny ones out of the tree and hooted gleefully as the lions ate them. Unfortunately the whiny ones were prolific breeders.

Tam said...

"Looks like the reporter came."

Vultures perform a vital role in the ecosystem, too.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with you. Every time some disaster hits you always see folks standing around on TV waiting for help. Maybe that just makes good tv, but I just wonder why they don't start cleaning it up.

I know that was our response to the hurricane after it hit. Next morning, even before the winds died down, we were out picking up the trash, cutting down the trees and taking care of the mess. It was just instictive to get after it.

Michael said...

If only the rescue agencies had the response time of the news services, these people would all be saved. And it makes me think, we've all seen footage from a circling helicopter of people on the ground stranded and moments from death. But never once have I heard a story about a news chopper rescuing anyone. You would think human decency would cause at least one pilot somewhere to do something other than watch.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I'm with you guys, I'd feel better about disiaster rielief in some places if people were seen to be organizing themselves and making themselves useful. Rather than standing around waiting for manna, or out making trouble.

On the other hand I have the "do not believe the TV filter on 11".

Like when you see "raging" flood on TV and vast expanses of water, only to know that the view is o fthe slough or river bottom that floods every damn year.

In N. New Jersey there is a block or two of a local suburb that floods every damn time it rains and every tdamn time it rains hard the TV crews are there standing in the water decrying the flooding. Dammitall, bulldoze it already and make it a park.

Andy said...

I did see one man on TV last night that I liked. While he was asking for help, he was asking for heavy equipment to help them dig.

Man, as a society, has simply gotten soft. The simple home skills of even 50 years ago have simply eroded away.

Anonymous said...

The logistics of moving a talking head, sound tech and video operator are a lot less than a company of Marines, sailors or soldiers. The difference is that the news crew is a burden on the system while the military is self sufficent and a relief group.

The perky one is there so we can all relax. Situation is under control because Katie cares!

Gerry

Anonymous said...

I know one damned thing as an absolute: If I'm ever in some disastrous situation and some Newsie sticks a camera in my face and asks, "How does it feel...?", he's gonna need the help of an orthodontist just really quickly.

Giggle-snort: Just the mere thought of such an opportunity is enough to make me want to carry a fish-billy, just on the off-chance.

Not that I'm against human-interest stories, you understand...

Art

Owen said...

in related news, we usually have FoxNews on at work. The other day one of the "newsbabes" was talking aabout how horrible it was that haitians were digging haitians out of the rubble, with nary a relief worker to be seen!

Oh the horror! neighbors helping neighbors WITH NO SUPERVISION! The end is nigh!

tickmeister said...

An F-4 tornado flattened most of my farm 5 years ago, including my nephew's house. We just got out the saws and went to work. I was grateful when some people came to help, but honestly surprised. I didn't expect it.

Favorite moment: My nephew and I were walking through some uprooted trees surveying damage when the Fox news helicopter came over the horizon and hovered over us. We both spontaneously gave them the bird until they left. I doubt it made the evening news.

John Stephens said...

Michael,

Helicopters are unforgiving machines, with no tolerance for stupidity. So we can assume that helicopters pilots are not stupid, at least not for very long. If you land a helicopter in the middle of a mob, you and it will be torn to pieces out of sheer panic. Because they are not stupid, the pilots know this. That's why they don't do it.

Stranger said...

If I had one wish, it would be for those who TALK about Katrina to live through it. I did - and I was deeply involved in em-comms afterward.

The situation in New Orleans was a manufactured crisis, a show that put real people in peril to gain $250 billion in disaster relief. Much of which would have gone into pols pockets, one way or another. It would have worked had someone not realized that's more than the entire value of the state south of I10.

If I had a second wish, it would be to build a good sturdy gallows and give the media people who cooperated with that farce a little necktie party. Because they helped get people killed.

Stranger

Anonymous said...

The really creepy and I hate to type it -magical- thing is chain sawing your way into a disaster area down along the Gulf coast just hours after the winds have died down, convinced you're going to find nothing but gators and dead bodies and instead there's a couple of 55 year old guys serving sandwichs and hot coffee out of the back of a Sally Wagon and running SATERN on a ham rig.

Stan in Minnesota said...

Got to love the Salvation Army! My brother as an LEO saw a lot of flooding in Grand Forks ND over the years and has nothing but good to sa about the SA. When the Red Cross trucks showed up they charged for the sandwiches and coffee and the SA gave theirs away. In a disaster he splits his contribution between the SA and Catholic Charities and he isn't even Catholic! He says the Salvation Army is tops for getting there fast and CC helps when the support needs to be sustained.

Bram said...

He's in Haiti! The worst crap-hole in the western hemisphere. Damn funny that he's expecting help.

The Army and Marines have already switched over from rescue missions to security against gangs.

If any significant percentage of Haitians had initiative, Haiti wouldn't be synonymous with corruption and poverty. My guess is that the few who do have these traits quickly find a way to leave.

reflectoscope said...

I am empathetic, but I have little sympathy for people who live in disaster areas and then act surprised when said disaster strikes.

Jim

Midwest Chick said...

From what I'm reading, no one can get in because the Haitians themselves are forming road blocks with rubble and dead bodies to try to loot whatever trucks are getting that far.

Tam--vultures do perform a service, but reporters, especially now, rarely do.

Old Grouch said...

Dependency is learned, just as is self-reliance.

We Americans are proud of our self-organizing (frontier tradition and all), but that's usually predicated on the absence of authority: We don't have to deal with the local warlord getting in the way, the supreme commander's brother-in-law issuing useless orders, or neighborhood gangsters stealing our stuff. But even here, when government gets involved it's first move is to discourage any individual initiative: We get mandatory evacuations followed by "don't you DARE do anything until *WE* say 'yes you may!'."

(Insert comment about last week's situation in England when, instead of encouraging folks to cooperate in shovelling the snow from their walks, the government issued dire warnings that anyone who did so might be sued.)

Haiti's situation has many progenitors: The "slave culture," the shortcomings of French colonialism (top-down management, unwillingness to train local (native) administrators), the long economic embargo after the Haitians threw the French out, a string of corrupt and exploitive governments that encouraged dependency while chopping off the "tall stalks"... you name it. Why do anyting, if the "authorities" will only get in the way/steal it? And where theft is the paradigm, don't be surprised at people acting like a bunch of thieves.

Timmeehh said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Timmeehh said...

@Tickmeister

The ground attack version of the Tornado is designated the GR-4, the F-4 is the the obsolete Phantom II.

;)

Midwest Chick said...

Old Grouch--point(s) taken.

Anonymous said...

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=122599427

I know a guy on the plane in this report. The DMAT team she speaks of so glowingly is the same group FEMA had 2 of in the superdome before during and after Katrina, but you never heard about them. But ya know the O is great and Bush was terrible, so now you will hear all about the wonderful medical teams.

Rabbit said...

I would have my faith renewed in disaster news reporting if only once I saw Haitians loot, kill and eat Geraldo Rivera or Katie Couric, et al. Film at 10.

I work with a naturalized Haitian, and he freely admits that Haiti is Somalia, Caribbean jerk style.

Within a month we'll get those freely distributed plastic water bottles returned for deposit, lashed together as rafts of Haitians in Miami.

Regards,
Rabbit.

amcz said...

Knowing the media, I can't believe anything anyone says until 18 months after the events.

And even then...

The Freeholder said...

Well, against my knee-jerk instinct, I did make a donation (Hospital Albert Schweitzer--I'm told they do good works). However, long-term, none of this will actually do them any good. The place is, for whatever reasons, a cesspit, and will remain so until its inhabitants decide they want it to be otherwise.

Anonymous said...

Maybe we could tell the Haitians that reporters taste good with a little Tabasco sauce?