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Sandy, Katrina, and Failure of Leadership

By Dr. Gerard Nadal
November 5th, 2012
Coming Home (gerardnadal.com)

The catastrophe we now face can and must in large measure be laid at the feet of Obama, Cuomo, Bloomberg.   It's true that government can't, and shouldn't be expected to do everything.  But the scandalous truth is that they failed to do most of what it is they were supposed to do.  "Never again," doesn't mean no more storms. It means responsible planning. Realistic logistics. An informed citizenry. A post-disaster police/national guard presence that is clear and forceful.  "Never again," is about leadership from in front.  It's time for a change.

NEW YORK - (Originally published at Coming Home.  This article is reprinted with the author's permission.)

In Hurricane Katrina a Democrat Governor delayed in making the call that was legally necessary, the one asking the President to send in Federal troops. The Federal Government was similarly ill-prepared. CNN and FoxNews both reported that the state Homeland Security of LA refused to allow the Red Cross to go into New Orleans. Governor Blanco and President Bush assumed responsibility for their respective failures, and all vowed, "Never again."

Enter Superstorm Sandy.

Government cannot prevent the destruction of property in natural disasters. It happens. By all accounts, Governor Cuomo and Mayor Bloomberg did an excellent job in admonishing people to leave the areas under direct threat, and ordered the mandatory evacuations. For myriad reasons, many of my neighbors failed to heed the warning and paid with their lives.

That's nobody's fault but their own.

However, the catastrophe we now face can and must in large measure be laid at the feet of these men, Obama, Cuomo, Bloomberg. We had at least five day's notice that this monster was headed our way. Why were emergency generators not assembled and pre-positioned in safe areas for rapid deployment after the storm?

Why were tents, blankets, MRE's, etc not similarly deployed? Why were police stations, schools, churches not pre-designated as centers to apply for food, blankets, FEMA aid, etc? People without power, heat, clothing, food can't hear the radio broadcasts of leaders telling them to go to websites (which they can't access anyway) to find out where to obtain assistance.

Why have neighborhoods in the NYC borough of Queens descended into anarchy, with devastated residents left to fend for themselves against looters with guns, baseball bats, and even bow and arrow? This, while the Mayor swore that we could simultaneously staff a 26 mile marathon route through all 5 boroughs!

Mayor Bloomberg was shamed into canceling the NYC Marathon, when the press reported three large generators were sitting in Central Park to power a party tent. This, against the backdrop of increasingly long lines for gasoline because most stations were without power, a situation deteriorating as of last night.

Those generators could, and should have been deployed to intersections with two and three gas stations in order to ease the shortage, which we have been told is a result of the loss of electricity to power the pumps. People need the gas to power generators for heat and light.

It was Bloomberg's Marie Antoinette moment. Let them eat cake.

Would that Bloomberg showed the same zeal for disaster logistics as he has for banning trans fats, 20 oz. soda (pop), taxing tobacco into the stratosphere, mandating the posting of calorie counts on menus, banning soda machines in schools, trampling private property rights of bar owners in outlawing smoking, handing out Plan B to children in schools, attempting to crush crisis pregnancy centers.

This failure, and his obsession with the eating habits of his citizens are his valedictory: hard won and fairly earned.

To the credit of my fellow New Yorkers, we're not waiting for our elected officials to act. Slowly, amidst suffering that could have been attenuated by responsible advanced logistical planning, we're climbing back.

This can't be blamed on Republicans this time. In New York, it's a Democrat trifecta. Of course, the spin will be that government can't, and shouldn't be expected to do everything. And that is true. But the scandalous truth is that they failed to do most of what it is they were supposed to do.

"Never again," doesn't mean no more storms. It means responsible planning. Realistic logistics. An informed citizenry. A post-disaster police/national guard presence that is clear and forceful.

"Never again," is about leadership from in front, and leadership that is characterized by proactive needs assessment and timely follow-through.

It's time for a change.

NOTE: For a way to help buy food for stricken Staten Islanders, where every penny donated will be used to purchase food, click here.

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Dr. Gerard Nadal holds a Ph.D in molecular microbiology from St. John's University, is a teacher, editor and columnist at the Center for Morality in Public Life, and a public speaker.  He is the former National Director of Med Students for Life of America.  His blog, Coming Home, is committed to serving the pro-life community through the Sciences.  He is currently working on an international research project researching the abortifacient properties of oral contraceptives.

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