Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Tremendously Strong and Incredibly Brave

I've been very critical of FEMA and Michael Brown in particular. I've also not spared the local and state officials from criticism (though I am not calling for their immediate firing for reasons explained here.

In all this criticism, I want to be clear about one thing: I'm focusing on the civilian leadership that appears in a number of places to have made awful decisions about resources and also failed to prepare.

I am not now nor will I criticize our tremendously strong and incredibly brave first responders, including but not limited to:

  • the National Guard

  • the U.S. Armed Forces (including Coast Guard rescue crews)

  • doctors and nurses

  • EMTs and ambulance drivers

  • civilian helicopter and airline pilots

  • bus drivers

  • firefighters

  • police

And I include in police the vast majority of NOPD officers who did not walk off the job. These men and women in blue were facing the total devastation of their city -- the catastrophic loss of homes, businesses, neighbors, friends and family -- along with the complete breakdown of the infrastructure -- the power, transportation, and communications resources -- that made it possible for them to keep the peace.

God knows the NOPD has had its problems in the past, but don't you dare let the few bad apples who looted let you think the whole barrel was rotten.

Please pray for all these first responders in the coming days and months, even when the rescue operations end and the rebuilding is underway. I fear the psychological and emotional toll on many of them will be enormous. They will also need our help and support.

If I've forgotten someone from this list, please let me know and I'll amend it right away!


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