The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

SMU students gather around a bucket of markers to write an encouraging note to put in “Welcome to the Shelter” kits at event in mid-April on SMU’s campus.
Dallas homeless recovery center, The Bridge, is a home
Morgan Shiver, Contributor • June 20, 2024
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Bush not at fault

This article is probably going to cause uproar from all sides and parties. Personally, I don’t care-I’m going to start this list of who is to blame, why and the facts behind why I believe this. Here is my list and order of blame: (specifically in relation to New Orleans):

 

1) The Mayor of New Orleans — Ray Nagin. Why? This man is the one and only person responsible for creating and executing an emergency response plan for New Orleans. There was no reasonable or realistic plan in place and Nagin failed to dispatch the thousands of buses available in New Orleans to move the residents to safety. The Friday night before the storm hit, the mayor received a phone call from Max Mayfield of the National Hurricane Center, pleading with him to begin mandatory evacuation. He said he’d take it under consideration. He told evacuees going to the Superdome to take three days’ worth of food and water, saying it would be “like a campout.” Well, it wasn’t.

 

2) Governor of Louisiana — Kathleen Blanco. Why? This woman admittedly got “confused” about who had legal right to prepare for the disaster. The governor had the authority to put New Orleans under martial law and put the Louisiana National Guard in charge. She chose instead to play politics, as did Mayor Nagin. It is illegal for the federal government to involve themselves in state matters, and a natural disaster is a state matter, unless they are requested or invited. President Bush even drafted the proper paperwork for this request, though the governor decided not to sign even after Bush declared Louisiana and Mississippi a disaster area two days before the storm hit. She also refused to allow rescue organizations and her own National Guard into the area until it was too late.

3) FEMA director — Brown. Why? This guy had no control over what went on when all hell broke loose. His job description is to prepare for the worst possible situation and react to the situation if, God help us, it does happen. I’m not clear on what his legal boundaries are to involve his organization in state situations when he hasn’t been invited or requested to bring aid into an area, but I do think he was overwhelmed and that in itself is unacceptable.

4) The people of New Orleans. Why? Let’s start at the very beginning. You accept a certain amount of risk when you live in an area that is more than ten feet below sea level, surrounded by water and in a hurricane zone. The citizens of New Orleans were warned to get out and many did not. There has to be a certain level of individual responsibility addressed. The amount of looting in New Orleans was insane, and I do not accept the fact that just because they were poor and stranded they had no other choice. Well, whose fault is it that they are poor? Anyone in this country can get an education and further their economic status if they choose to work hard and dedicate themselves. I’m sure I will get a landslide of emails explaining how the government keeps people down and how I’m a spoiled rich kid at SMU. Libraries are free, and they are full of books. Community colleges are almost free. Hard work is rewarded. Every person has the ability to improve himself or herself no matter what their nationality or native language. Also, common sense must be used in these situations. If a Category 5 hurricane is coming your way, stock up on food, water and supplies and get the hell out of the way. The levee situation was addressed to the people of New Orleans countless times. Instead the money was directed towards a marina and casino fund; whoops.

5) God (or some version of him). Why? God is obviously pissed. God has realized his actions in the First Testament worked a lot better than trying to talk people into doing things, like in the second one. Global warming didn’t cause the hurricane, President Bush didn’t cause the hurricane, no one directed the hurricane towards New Orleans because the majority of people who remained in the city were African American or poor. Disasters happen. Obviously I’m not serious that God is to blame; sometimes things happen, and this is one of those things.

 

President Bush is not at fault in this situation. It’s not the president’s job to be a nanny to state officials or prepare them for situations like this. That is why we have local and state officials chosen by the people. If President Bush has moved into the state with federal resources too early and the levees never broke, we would be hearing about how he didn’t care or recognize state rights and how what he did was illegal. The man is in a no-win situation.

We can blame everyone involved and demand to have heads roll, or we can learn from it and prepare ourselves for future disasters or terrorist attacks. New Orleans will be rebuilt and upwards of 50,000 lives were saved by some form of military force, rescue service or the grace of God. This was an expensive lesson, but let’s learn from it so that when a huge disaster happens again we will be ready.

 

Chris Bellinger is a senior advertising and English major. He may be reached at [email protected].

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