Watching the reports about Hurricane Rita, a couple of random thoughts struck me.
posted by Michael Hickerson at 9/23/2005 07:20:00 AM
- In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, there was a lot of criticism for all levels of the local, state and federal governement for the lack of a timely response to the disaster that had occurred. How could we be caught so flatfooted? a lot of us asked. Well, this time around, each of those levels of government has a chance to restore some faith and confidence in the eyes of the American people by how the response goes to this crisis. But we'd be foolish to assume that because we're able to respond to this disaster better that, in the future, things will be better. In a lot of ways, this is a similiar situation to if you're driving your car in traffic and nearly rear-end someone. You are on heightened sense of alert for the rest of your drive or maybe even the next day or two. You're likely to show more caution while driving and to be more alert. But the real test is--in six months, are you still going to be the safe, alert driver you were ten minutes after the potential collision or will you have gone back to your bad driving habits that nearly caused the wreck to begin with? I applaud that all levels of government stand ready to assist those in the path of Rita, but I'm still not convinced we've "fixed" the problems that were exposed by Katrina. Unfortunately, only time and experience will be able to tell us that.
- As I watch the news of evacuations from Houston and other cities in Texas, I keep seeing images of clogged highways with no one moving. We hear about airports being short staffed because staffers choose to head for the high ground rather than come in to work. We hear those stories of trying to evacuate but only going three miles in as many hours and having to turn around and go back home due to lack of gasoline in your car. In fact, I heard that they are filling up tankers and having to re-fill cars on the highway in order to keep things moving. It just worries me that in a lot of our major cities, the transit systems are not prepared to handle a mass evacuation. I mean, it was one thing when that was part of the plot on the fictional show 24 this year, but it's far more disturbing when you see it unfolding on the evening news.
- In all of this, the news came out that the SEC stepped in and moved the Tennessee/LSU game from Saturday night to Monday evening. I applaud the SEC for realizing there are more important things at this time than football--even UT football. And I understand LSU wants a home game and they want home field advantage. But I think that in this, the SEC is missing an obvious solutions. UT plays LSU at LSU this year and they come to visit Neyland next year. I think one solution could be to just flip that schedule--have them come up to Neyland for this game and then have us go there next year when hopefully the area can handle and support a football game. This was an obvious solution weeks ago, but yet no seems to have brought it up or if you do, I am sure some fans will scream it's unfair to LSU. Also, I have to wonder if the damage from Rita is severe, will the area be ready to host a football game? As much as I love football, it's just a game and it can be postponed until such time as it's safe for all parties involved--players, fans, etc. And the real winners of this decision--the SEC schools from Mississippi who get UT and LSU next weekend on short weeks, this leading to huge potential upsets.