Sunday, September 4, 2011

"Common sense is genius dressed in its working clothes.”~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

While soaking my feet tonight and musing over the pros and cons of taking a hacksaw to my ankle, I spent my time working through the day's articles on Fark and ran across this op-ed published by the Daily Mail rag out of the UK.

While she makes a few fair points (infrastructure and response to disasters can always use improvement) but I just can't wrap my head around her entitled and whining tone.  Equating the US to a third world country goes beyond hyperbole considering what she describes as her "hardships" during Irene's Aftermath.  Not to mention that from her house, she's looking through a pretty thin piece of glass since merry Ol' England hasn't exactly been a shining example of first world decorum and prosperity this summer.

Irene danced her way across 10 states and has caused an estimated $7 billion dollars at least in damage.   Is it any wonder that crews and relief services were stretched thin?  Or that they might have done triage and prioritized more damaged areas (VT, Quebec, points south) first?

My issues with Ms. Churcher are that:

a) She states that she has covered impoverished areas of the world where modern day luxuries and conveniences are unheard of or reserved for the up most members of society.
b) Lives in the Northeast and hasn't been through a least one storm that knocked her power out before. While Westchester County, NY isn't as prone to the storms of upstate NY or NE they do see snow and bad storms are not uncommon.
c)Apparently skipped the day they taught how to research a subject in journalism school- and don't get me started on her complete lack of common sense.   If she has enough to balance on the head of a pin I'd be very surprised.

Irene was not a flash in the pan winter squall that arrives with a flash of lightning as it's calling card- we knew this storm when it was in the Caribbean.  By the time Irene was saying hello to GA and the Carolinas there was strong consensus from NOAA and other reputable weather services that she would soon be visiting most of the Easter Seaboard.

I pay next to no attention to the weather during the summer unless I have an event and I  knew about her 10 days out.   While I'm sure Ms. Churcher is a busy woman with a full schedule that no doubt trumps mine, I find it hard to believe that she did not have the time to research and prepare for the storm appropriately.   Laying in supplies, getting enough charcoal/propane for a grill or enough fuel to run the generator for a few days is not exactly hard to do and can be accomplished in one afternoon.

The part that really gets me?  She lives in lower NY.  She's seen Nor'easters- we have at least one every freaking winter.  While the correct definition of a Nor'easter is different than that of a hurricane- they can and do get up to hurricane level winds and the damage caused by a nor'easter is arguably just as bad and the recovery can be harder due to the problems with responding in snow and ice.

Mind you, everyone I know was pretty blase about Irene- we hosted a BBQ the day before and our preparations consisted of making sure there was enough oil lamp and ice to keep the fridge cold if the power did go out.  Which it did.   We were without electricity for 48 hrs and my son's first day of school was pushed back one day.  

Yes, ma'am, we are indeed living in third world conditions.  

I might be a wee bit uncharitable tonight but I find myself unsympathetic towards her experiences and hope that she might have learned some lessons from Irene's visit.

1 comment:

  1. "Third World Country"? Really? Let her go up to Vermont or parts of Maine and New Hampshire where people were completely cut off from Emergency Services due to roads and bridges being completely washed out. Those people banded together and did what we NewEnglanders do...put on our big girl panties and dealt with it and helped our neighbors in the process.

    Whiny little baby!