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Kimberly Brooks Headshot

What Else is on the List?

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They keep talking about how this is the greatest natural disaster the country has ever seen. But it is not the natural disaster we’re in shock and awe about. It is the government’s disaster.

They anticipated this, you know--not just in countless science journals, newspapers, engineering reports. Our tax dollars pay for people to sit in a room and machinate about all the likely next horrible things that could happen. In early 2001, the top of FEMA’s list was a terror attack on the twin towers in New York. Right up there with that was that a major hurricane would strike New Orleans and that the lake would fill its bowl. They anticipated that in spite of attempts to evacuate, a great many couldn’t/wouldn’t leave and would hide in attics, and climb on their roof tops. They knew all of this. They knew and yet they do too little too late.

So, what else was on that list? Let’s mentally pat down our trousers for the other scenarios we have vaguely heard of like a traveler frantically searching for the misplaced passport. Or must I search for the title of that Dustin Hoffman movie about germs myself? What other nightmares should we expect our eviscerated government to protect us from?

And what, pray tell, are the disaster plans for each and every one of them? Right now, we still don’t have the manpower to pick up the decaying, disease-carrying, floating bodies. As Lt. General Honore said on 60 Minutes last night, “Which would you rather have picked up, the living or the dead?” Did it have to be choice? Don’t give us the double talk about Mayor, Governor, FEMA, blah blah. I don’t care what the procedure is. Spare me the Bambi in headlights “leaders” and the fingerpointing. Figure it out, guys! And talk loud so we can hear. The champagne bottles popping in Osama’s cave are deafening.

I choke on the “happy” stories that cable news spoon feeds us as if a little reunion here or there is going to make the boo boo go away. This catastrophe has put our sense of America in critical condition. No more hollow mouths opening with thin upbeat words falling out and splashing like human waste on our feet. Are we supposed to forget when we dropped leaflets and food over Afganistan? Or when we set up massive tented cities to prepare for refugees fleeing Iraq that never came? But we can’t do it in America? Shame on us.

Let the outrage rise from our guts to our heads. We have to take back our country. We must demand accountability. Let this tragedy at least give birth to a serious dialogue of what is on the list and what the plan is when what they “never imagined” comes true again. We have no country to invade this time to distract ourselves. We must invade ourselves. We want the truth.

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