Thursday, September 08, 2005

People are not Sheep

Today’s news theme:

"There are people in New Orleans who don’t want to leave their homes, even though it is clearly dangerous and STUPID to stay there."

I guess I’ve seen the story fifty times today on all major networks. Is it surprising, that some folks would resist the idea of leaving the only thing of value they have? And for some of them, staying at home rather than going to the super dome seemed to be a wise choice. If their house wasn’t inundated; they had food, water and the comfort and security of home while they waited for the tempest to subside.

Not every home, or every neighborhood was flooded.

Government officials at all levels need to understand that simply telling people to leave doesn’t always work. People are not sheep, easily herded into a crowd and moved at your whim. It takes a compelling reason, and good communication to get that message across. And right now, as screwed up as things were through the initial “mandatory” evacuation, why should these folks believe the Mayor, Governor or the President?

They should leave, but not all will do so. Which brings a big question, what do you do if they don’t.

With hordes of media hanging around with cameras chasing after every news opportunity, does anyone want the photo opportunity of US Army soldiers forcefully removing Grandma from her lifelong home at gunpoint?

What is the point of mandatory evacuation plans, if you don’t see to it that the evacuations are done. And that means, providing transportation, manpower, and the communications necessary to get it all done.