Monday morning I heard an interview of a weeping girl/woman distraught that the aide center had run out of supplies before she got there. She cried out “I have an 83 year old grandmother who hasn’t eaten in 2 days!”
There are two possible explanations for this terrible and dire cry, neither of them have anything to do with the government failing this girl/woman or her 83 year old grandma. Reason #1: She’s lying. Reason #2: She and her family are idiots who failed to prepare for a natural disaster. A natural disaster, by the way, that the grandma starving government was kind enough to warn about.
Am I being harsh? Let me show you the math and the storm path. Hurricane Ike’s path can be found at this link. You can also see the where this hurricane was on specific dates. On Tuesday, September 9, Ike left Cuba in wreckage and headed pretty much straight at the Texas/Louisiana coast. Wednesday and Thursday Ike continued for Galveston Island. By Friday it was crystal clear where Ike would hit. Evacuation orders were given, those who stayed behind were warned to have a 72 hour supply of food and water on hand.* Ike made landfall in the early hours of Saturday, where it kicked butt and took names.
Now, back to our wailing girl/woman and her hungry grandma. Ike hit Saturday, September 13, 2008. The interview/wailing session took place Monday, September 15. Each day is 24 hours. Two days together is 48. Three days is 72 hours. Not to be didactic, but grandma should have had plenty to eat and could only have been ‘starving’ for two days on Thursday, September 18, tomorrow actually.
I share this next by way of full disclosure: Since 2003 we have lost power repeatedly, often for days at a time. With Isabel in 2003 we lost it for 11 days. In 2006 we lost it for more than a week during an ice storm, the temperatures did not get above freezing the entire time. We did not have a generator for either extended powerless time. As recently as a month ago we lost power for several days after a severe storm took out three trees two houses down and the powerlines with them. On no occasion when we were without power did we: A) go hungry, B) cry, C) ask the government for help. I am not unfamiliar with living in unusual circumstances due to a storm’s aftermath.
So I am left with choosing between two possibilities for grandma and her girl: either they are lying or they are idiots. I’m choosing both. You can not tell me that they had so little food on hand that they ran out of food on the day of the storm. They knew it was coming. How did they not take the time to grab some canned tuna or chicken, apples, bananas, cereal, crackers, peanut butter, water and cheetos? Not any one of those products is especially expensive. All are easily affordable and none needs refrigeration or heat to be not just edible but tasty. What I believe is that girl lied in an effort to squeeze more out of a government she thinks should babysit her, give her freebies. She was a liar and an idiot to make such a claim, and greedy to try it.
The media who didn’t question her claim and indiscriminately broadcast it are just as culpable. The cry of “The Government Isn’t Helping!” was heard in the early hours after the storm, before it was even safe to head out to check on survivors. Why repeat such a ridiculous claim unless it was to further a pre-written story.
Either way, they are culpable. Idiots and liars, all.
*Note: Since September 11, 2001 the US Government has repeatedly recommended that each and every household in the US keep a 7 day supply of emergency rations on hand in case of disaster, to include water, food, hygiene products, etc.