Editorial note: Last evening John Comiskey posted the following as a comment to my Thursday post (immediately below this post). Without receiving his permission, I am moving John’s comment to today’s front page. If you have read John’s prior comments you know he serves with the NYPD and is also with the Coast Guard Reserve. John is currently deployed with the USCG to the Gulf of Mexico. Full disclosure, John and I both serve on the faculty of the new Pace University graduate program in management for public safety and homeland security professionals. We have met each other precisely once, at a Spring faculty meeting.
Your Grandpa sounds like a wonderful man. I imagine that he too would be overwhelmed and even frustrated by the levels of bureaucracy and particularly the federal government’s grant strategy (get the locals to do what you want by footing some or the entire bill). “All politics are local and most times federal too” might be the old “all politics are local.”
That being said, it sounds like your grandfather would have found a way. Bennet’s axiom “People are discouraged, encourage them,” should be a homeland security and preparedness mantra. The obvious — helping people — seems within our grasp, but eludes us all too often.
Homeland security and preparedness are a Pandora’s box of sorts (privacy intrusions, challenges to rights & privileges, economic costs, and others things that are not so nice). But, we need to remind ourselves that the original Pandora’s Box also offered hope.
Today, I heard a Coast Guard Commander refer to Deepwater Horizon as the Coast Guard’s Afghanistan.
The “long spill,” Deepwater Horizon, like the long wars in Afghanistan and Iraq require fortitude, patience, understanding, and hope. Somebody said “hope is not a plan.” Just the same I will keep on hoping and praying for the best whilst I prepare for the worst.
The emotional toll to Gulf residents, government workers, and cleanup volunteers warrants consideration and is bound to be high. The days ahead present three overarching challenges: stopping the spill, extracting the maximum amount of oil feasible, and mitigating the damage. The current forecast of 23+ storms with a 50% chance of a significant storm make that challenge all the more challenging –or might clean most of the mess up -mother nature is most resilient.
I have come to know some of the people of NOLA and have found them to be concerned but going about their business best they can. They talk a lot of football. LSU and the Saints are dear to their hearts. Last year’s super bowl celebration has continued with the team’s preseason visit to Louisiana communities weary of oil: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=127561660
If I remain in NOLA past September, I will likely attend a game. For the record I am a Jets fan. Football players and fans are resilient.
My new colleagues in NOLA poke fun at my New York accent. In turn, I enjoy their nawlins’ colloquialisms. They seem to appreciate my reviews of their restaurants and haunts. So far Acme Oyster House, Tujajues, and Café du Monde top the list. Nothing like football and food to bind people.
I have found that Katrina has left the people of NOLA with doubts in the efficacy of the federal government and particularly FEMA. NOLA’s celebrated relationship with the Coast Guard seems uneasy at best. I am told too little is being done too slowly. That phenomena might be a study in a relationship earned in one disaster (Katrina) only to be lost in another (DWH). Social capital is easier lost than earned.
The USCG is most resilient. It is and always has been a multi-mission organization. Today that mission is clear: ensure and facilitate the RP’s (responsible party) response – in this case BP. That mission will not make the Coast Guard popular.
From my view BP is doing all that it can and is most instances more than that. The American people need to know that without the media hype. BP too is resilient. I imagine someone or some people high in the organization deliberated as to their course of action –cut and run or invest in their enterprise. BP chose the latter. I can’t and won’t speak to BP’s alleged wrongdoing because I don’t know if they were negligent or had a catastrophic industrial accident. I know that matter is being investigated and await the final analysis.
Recovery requires everyone to look past their factions, fights, frustrations, and everything else.
I’m rooting for the people of the Gulf and the United States of America.