Paul Wilson: Galena, Alaska Wiped Out — Why We Should Care

KarrieEvery now and then, we need stories that help to restore our battered faith in modern man…

While we hear about tornadoes in Oklahoma – a tragedy of enormous magnitude – a smaller but equally devastating disaster is taking place up north in the land of the self reliant individual. In Galena, Alaska.

As much news as I consume on a daily basis, I hadn’t heard anything about it, yet 90% of the tiny town has been wiped off the map.

My wife used to tour internationally singing and one of the friends she sang with is Karrie Pavish Anderson.  Sunday as we were winding the weekend down she got a text from her friend ‘s mother asking if we’d heard about Galena being flooded?

Some background…

Galena served as a military base and outpost during World War II. It ceased operations and personnel were pulled when the cold war ended. Its airport is fairly important since you can’t get there by road. Needed services come by air or down the Yukon River since they are 300 miles from the closest city.

Galena is 62% American Indian and 28% white, with the remainder a mix of biracial, Hispanic and Asian.karries vehicles

And while Galena is small, it’s kind of a big deal.

The public boarding school has strong vocational programs where youth from all over the state can get private pilots licenses, take automotive classes, cosmetology, small engines, carpentry, and culinary arts.

Why does any of this matter?

As Karrie told me what happened, I began to see a sharp contrast between Galena and Katrina. Sure, Galena’s a fraction of the size, but that’s not the point. While we watched the horror stories of New Orleans and the warnings that the residents had to get out, most of them just stayed, waiting on the “government” to come and do something.

As the waters rose, the first complaint was, where’s the government?

When life was lost, it was the government’s fault for not protecting them, for not saving them.

Let’s set aside for a moment the fact that 40% of the people of New Orleans made a conscious decision to live below sea level with the mighty Mississippi River at their doorstep.

Similarly the people of Galena made the decision to live on the banks of the Yukon, but they at least had a plan and began to act on it.

Their town is 90% gone, but their people? No one was killed and there were hardly any injuries. Why? Self Reliance. The first line on the City’s web site, under its list of core values is…

KIYU Radio Station

KIYU Radio Station

We accept responsibility for our operational and organizational decisions and actions while delivering cost effective and efficient services with the objective of doing our work right the first time.”

Those are dangerous words. Accept responsibility for their decisions and actions?

Karrie told me this morning, “Every April, we have a flood meeting. Living on a river that is about 1 mile wide in our area means we all pay close attention to river conditions each year. Leaders from the schools, city government, etc. meet and develop a flood plan based on forecasts for the Yukon ice break-up. We learned in April that Galena might have moderate flooding – it’s all educated guessing at that point as to what would happen, but we take flooding seriously.”

Karrie explained the mentality of Galena’s residents: “When one lives so close to nature, it becomes natural to be very aware of one’s surroundings and learn the ways and habits of the land.”

Note to the people living below sea level.

1 am evacuation

1 am evacuation

 

Karrie works part time at the Galena radio station KIYU when she’s not on tour. In May, she began announcing the ice break-up times to villages up river as the information was provided to them by The National Weather Service.

Then she added, “Our elders say 2013 was the worst flood ever. Homes were built at the 100-year flood-plain, but nature decided it would one-up the 100-year flood-plain apparently.

“I spoke with fellow community members and they were adjusting their summer plans according to the possibility of a moderate flood. Adjusting travel plans may not sound like a big deal to most people, but Galena is only accessible by plane in the winter. One can take a very long snow machine ride to Fairbanks, and in the summer, a very long boat ride. To fly to Anchorage from Galena is $885 round trip, so yeah, it’s a big deal to us.

“On Sunday May 26th, the river broke, and as usual, community members flocked to various locations along the banks to watch.”

Kinda like when JoCo residents flock to the middle of the street when tornado sirens sound to see if they can see anything coming.

“It’s such an AMAZING experience to watch the mammoth ice chunks churn down river, to see ice sheets the size of Star Wars command ships. It’s one of my favorite times of year,” Karrie says. “You can stand at the bank and watch the water and ice carve the earth away before your eyes. You can watch the Yukon abduct adult birch and spruce trees from the land.

“Break-up was very late; five more hours later and it would have broken a record. Around the time of break-up it was very hot – 80ºF. We had snowfall on 5/18, so the weather was just crazy. The main factor was a big ice jam down river at a spot known as Bishop Rock. The jam formed not long after the Yukon broke in our area. If the thick river ice begins to break up and move downstream before it has melted into small pieces, it can jam in narrow or shallow portions of river and create a temporary dam that backs up water into villages.

“Sure enough, the waters rose and took over the town while plans laid early were implemented quickly. The dike that the Air Force built after the flood in 1945 protected our public boarding school, which is on the old Air Force base; that and the runway are the only areas in Galena that did not see flooding.

“My sister Kim‘s husband Jason saw it was time to get most of the kids from the neighborhood out if he could. So he and father Ross Tulloch boated out five youth and one mother. Because the road was compromised, the boat couldn’t follow it, so Jason & Ross navigated through water-filled snow machine paths, grass lakes and forests. Swift currents pushed large mounds of ice from the Yukon in the boat’s path. When they could get no farther, they piggybacked their passengers through flood waters to another father with a boat, who then ferried the evacuees to a school bus which was waiting at the dike road to transfer evacuees to the airport. Then Jason and Ross went back to Crow Creek for another load of passengers.”

Planes were brought in by the school district to evacuate over 200 residents.  About 12 hours later, the Governor sent an HC-130 to evacuate 32 people and 19 dogs.

Notice who responded first and who got there last?

In the aftermath of the flooding, they have to deal with how to rebuild, but with far different issues than we have down here.

When the flood hit Galena lost power. And three days ago the continued electricity outage led the recovery team to ask residents to collect the meat that’s been spoiling in refrigerators and freezers, with the Incident Management Team led by the Alaska Division of Forestry working on a plan to dispose of the thousands and thousands of pounds of meat.

Why’s that such a big deal?

Brown-Bear_AKBecause up there it attracts bears.

It attracts bears in really large numbers. So how do they get rid of it?  It gets hauled out in a sling by helicopters. Not exactly a Johnson County style problem.

So how does this little town find its way back?

The generosity of people, already, has been amazing.

“Being gone on tour, Kim and I formed a mini command center to start fundraising, contacting government officials, arranging for supplies to be sent to those who chose to stay in Galena,” Karrie says. “I had an idea to start a place for online giving where 100 percent of the money would go to Galena, with no overhead costs.”

www.akmissionconnection.org/galena-relief/

“It’s a partnership directed by Galena Bible Church, with input from the city and tribal and school leaders to make sure everyone’s needs are satisfied,” Karrie adds.

Galena will need diesel mechanics, clean-up crews, construction folks and volunteers to help harvest the salmon, berries and moose. The first snow usually comes the end of September and starts to stick in October.

“That’s not a big window for us to rebuild in Galena,” Karrie says. “Usually during the summer and fall we are fishing, gathering logs, picking berries and harvesting moose.

“But we can do this if we get lots of generous donors and volunteers to partner with us. Galena people are hearty folk, who’d rather work hard than take a hand out. But someGalena kid tweettimes, Mother Nature has other ideas.”

If you would like to volunteer services or resources, please contact galenarebuilders@gmail.com or www.akmissionconnection.org/galena-relief/

 

 

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77 Responses to Paul Wilson: Galena, Alaska Wiped Out — Why We Should Care

  1. Paul, I was in that hurricane. Had my entire life ruined for years. Took a city years to recover. And I did get out, and took a truckload of people with me to the evacuation site.

    Good to see you are turning it into some twisted racial point after the fact. Watch your mouth with your uninformed generalizations. I’d love to see you try to make this point among people who have been through that diasopora.

    If I ran into you in the street today I’d probably spit in your fat face.

    • the dude says:

      Gotta agree with you on this baloney except for the spitting part.
      Wilsun, your comparisons are totally off and in poor taste.

  2. He’re another “Welfare Queen” trying to sponge off Paul’s generous tax contribution:

    http://old.post-gazette.com/images3/20050914wap_kat_rescuePJ_580.jpg

  3. The fact that you would compare a flood on the Yukon in a small Alaskan town with a catastrophic levee breech in the most historic but poor city in America shows what a mediocre prick you are.

    FYI ponce, Slidell Louisiana and Metarie Louisiana all flooded and had casualties and deaths too. Those are about as lilly white as you can get.

    DAMN SLIDELL RESIDENTS ASKING THAT THE GOVT REBUILD THE BRIDGE.

  4. balbonis moleskine says:

    7 levee breaches, all built to substandard specs by the Army Corps of Engineers.

    http://youngleaders.nssga.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/New-Orleans-Hurricane-Katrina-tour-e1360096738572-1024×669.jpg

    Clearly it is the fault of the people living in the city.

    • the dude says:

      Baloney is 100% correct, Katrina was a MAN-MADE disaster that could have been avoided or greatly lessened if the proper steps had been taken by the corps. And there were people that simply could not leave seeing that a lot of people had no form of transportation to get out.

  5. Paul Wilsons pseudo intellectual word vomit says:

    Wow… just wow. Balbonis, I couldnt have said it better, enough of the self righteous windbags bullshit proselytizing.

  6. balbonis moleskine says:

    Since Katrina is now a GOP talking point….good to see we have a party whose response during a natural disaster is ‘every man for himself’.

    If we only had that Randian paradise we wouldn’t have clods, only Gods.

    Did you end up with one of these sprayed on your house?

    http://danswenson.com/paper/katrinagraphics/04Kat-house-marks.jpg

    Luckily mine was 0DB bottom quadrant you piece of fecal waste

  7. paulwilsonkc says:

    Well, I’m glad to see this has started off with a bang!

    Balbo, what came across as racist in that story? We heard the protests for weeks that the government didn’t do enough in NO, thats all I said.

    As best I can tell, having been there many, many times, N.O. is occupied by both whites and blacks. As best I can remember, I saw both whites and blacks looting, living in the dome, etc.

    And as I pointed out, actually, 49% of the city is below sea level. It’s the same thing pointed out in this story, the people of Galena live with Mother Nature, they learn to take her seriously. If you live below sea level, there are some things to keep in mind. One would be, if a hurricane is coming, get to higher ground when they warn you.

    This was supposed to be a “feel good” story about a little town that has lost it all but got ahead of the power curve and reacted to it. No lives lost and they will be back. They planned, they listened to warnings. Does everything have to be about race? I even pointed out how revered the Native Indians and elders are up there.

    I find it interesting how people can make almost anything, racist. To me, that’s THE most racist perspective. I used the “R” word for sure; not race or racist, but reaction and responsibility. Some people chose avoid those two words and rely on other rebuttals; racism or FEMA wasn’t fast enough. I think it’s hard to debate, the garden variety citizen of NO, white or black, could have done more than they did.

    The people of NO had considerable warning, and you know what, they would not have had to go far to escape it. Sure, as you point out in your pictures, there were way too many victims, but the Governor, Mayor; local authorities did virtually nothing to assist.

    At no time did I down play the effects of the storm and it’s great you helped as you did. There should have been a lot more of people like you there. That’s what saved this little town, people who took action and did it early. That was the point of the story. If you try hard enough you can make anything racist, this story was not.
    Sorry that how you took it.

    No matter what your opinion of me, I’m incredibly sorry for the victims of Katrina. There were way too many, hospital residents, nursing homes, people who had no ability to react, people who were way too poorly looked after and lives were lost. That’s not defendable by the administrators of those facilities or officials of the City. For the people who lost lives and homes, there’s no way to relate to that tragedy if you’ve not lived it, and I sure haven’t. I didn’t short sell that for a moment. In the zest to call out “racism” you overlooked the message of the story, but that’s fine. You have my apology for anything that was offensive to you personally, as nothing was intended to do that at all.

    But as I’ve said before, if you’re a hammer, the whole world looks like a nail.

    • balbonis moleskine says:

      you are a piece of garbage and you tried to use my misery and the misery of the people of the great city of new orleans to make some Randian point about ‘self reliance’.

      Go to hell. I’m done with this place.

    • the dude says:

      I am all for touchy, feely good stories wilsun but when you tried to compare and contrast this event to Katrina is where you totally tripped yourself up.

    • Jess says:

      I have read this story twice now, I just do not see the racial tone? Maybe Balbonis Moleskine was just to close. I do not see the issue. What am I missing? Race was not the point of the story.

  8. smartman says:

    Simmer down Balboni. It’s not a black and white issue it’s an awareness and preparedness issue.

    And yeah when sh#t hits the fan the only person you can rely on in many cases is yourself. The world is cruel like that sometimes.

    When life gives you lemons make lemonade or STFU.

  9. the dude says:

    If these people are so self reliant then they can build a little farther away and higher up from the river when it comes to rebuilding. And since they are so self reliant they obviously don’t need any of my damn money so we are good.

  10. balbonis moleskine says:

    You should tell the people of the Netherlands to abandon their country as it is below sea level! If the government-built dikes breach they should just pull themselves up by their wooden shoes and move! If they are poor then screw them!

    • the dude says:

      Take that you clog wearing, stereotypical, gubment leaching Dutch!!
      If you don’t get your land above sea level and get more self reliant (government leachers!!) pronto, wilsun says you get what you deserve when the great flood comes!!!!

  11. balbonis moleskine says:

    >As best I can remember, I saw both whites and blacks looting, living in the dome, etc.

    You didn’t see anybody living in the superdome. You know why? Because the city was closed and entering the city was prohibited.

    I had to sneak in with a handgun and a u-haul to collect my broken dreams.

    Please Paul tell us when you saw the people in the superdome. I’m very curious.

    • balbonis moleskine says:

      or do you mean you saw it on TV? And thought you were an expert.

      • paulwilsonkc says:

        Balbo, come on; you can voice your opinion any way you choose, but 99% of the people who saw what was happening in NO saw it on video and the news. You can at least have some level of balance as you attack.

  12. smartman says:

    Comparing the dikes in the Netherlands to the levee’s and other flood control in NOLA is like comparing Tito’s to Viaka.

    Again AWARENESS and PREPAREDNESS are the key words here. Was NOLA failed by the city, state and feds? Hell yes! Everybody knew it was a disaster waiting to happen. And you know what happens when you wait for a disaster? Sonofabitch if it doesn’t show up.

  13. paulwilsonkc says:

    BALBO; there was lots of VIDEO from the Dome as well as all that was going on inside, what life was like, the deplorable conditions, etc. I wasn’t there and didnt pretend to be. “Saw” has more than one meaning.

  14. paulwilsonkc says:

    Smartman, thanks for your valiant attempt to clarify what I meant…. but as you can see…….. if you’re a HAMMER….

  15. balbonis moleskine says:

    Garbage article. So you didn’t see the Superdome. You saw it on TV.

    I did. And I will never forget the misery. The misery caused by government mismanagement. The misery caused by an ineffective federal government that we have been giving additional powers to for 150 years.

    And last but not least the talking head, cold hearted randian jerks who used my city to make some point about ‘self reliance’. You aren’t the only one, mediocre Paul. You are just the last pink starfish in a line of pink starfish.

  16. balbonis moleskine says:

    Here is the New Orleans Convention center (you probably know it as it was probably your only interaction with the city if you ever stepped foot there).

    Here we can see some non self reliant individuals trying to cash in on the hard working man’s paycheck, asking for yet another handout from Uncle Sam because they can’t handle a little Category 5 hurricane by themselves:

    http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_CqI8H_v_jYY/THsV8OBwduI/AAAAAAAAACQ/NXW3HDbj7nY/s1600/hurricane-katrina-victims-03.jpg

    • paulwilsonkc says:

      Balbo, not that it matters to you, but I’ve spent a lot of time in all parts of the city. My best friend from HS and college owns property a block off St Charles. Used to live at Camelia Grill, riding the street car down for breakfast.
      Five posts after you say you’re done with this place, Ill say one last time, I made it clear there was NO comparison in size or scope between the two towns. I didnt make a racist remark or comparison.

      About anyone, I think, would agree the people of NO could have done more than they did. Sure, there are exceptions, there always are. But if you ONLY wait on the government to come to the rescue, like in Galena, they were the last on the scene.

      It’s intent….was a feel good story about a disaster in a small town that didnt make our news where the people reacted and, as a result, experienced a much better outcome than they could have.

      I’m sorry for you, your loss, your trauma and anyone else’s in Katrina. I made that clear too. But RACISM isn’t at the root of everything; it sure isn’t here.

  17. chuck says:

    Take it easy balbonis.

    Your commentary on this blog is appreciated and of value to us all.

    Your emotion on this subject is understandable as you say NO is your city and you personally saw your neighbors suffering because of what you perceive as Government inefficiancy and malfeasance. Got it.

    Could it be the racial inference you made is not entirely spot on? The quote about population figures starts with American Indians making up 62% of same, which would seem to preclude any “White Supremacy” implications.

    New Orleans and Katrina brought out the best and the beast in people, what folks mostly saw, was the beast.

    http://race.iheartsociology.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/looters2.jpg

    You menitoned that you yourself needed a pistol to go into the Super Dome. It doesn’t sound, like the folks in Alaska are killing each other or stealing each other’s property and they are mostly Ameican Indian and Hispanic, not white.

    Let me apologise for any misunderstanding, this blog would be diminished with your absence. You offer views mostly the opposite of mine, however, I love to hear what other folks think, discourse is always the clearest way to understanding each other.

    I am hoping the folks in Alaska are back on their feet soon.

    🙂

    • the dude says:

      He said he need a pistola to sneak into his own house to collect his broken dreams, not the super duper dome.

      • chuck says:

        Oops.

        He still needed a pistol though, so the point could still be valid.

        🙂

        • paulwilsonkc says:

          Racist

          • the dude says:

            Das Racist?

          • paulwilsonkc says:

            Dude, poo runs downhill; I’ve taken enough of a beating for one afternoon. I’m just going to develop the same position, anyone who says anything; RACIST. It doesn’t seem to have to be backed up with much fact, does it?

          • the dude says:

            Das Racist is the name of a band, I wasn’t calling you racist.

          • paulwilsonkc says:

            Nor me, you. Just messin with you based on all my earlier labeling, none of which was done by you! I’m just like a Timex…… Just had to jack with you some.

  18. Mr Brown says:

    Listen, I’m nto going to get into any of the racial undertones. But before you start talking about self reliance, seems like a good idea to mention that Alaska gets more Federal money per capita then any other state in the union..

    This from the Wall Street Journal
    1) Alaska
    > Federal spending per capita net of income taxes: $15,197
    > Total federal spending per capita: $17,762
    > Federal income taxes per capita: $2,565

    No state in the U.S. received more money per person from the federal government than Alaska. One contributing factor is that the state had the second-highest figure for defense spending in 2010, at $7,337.59 per capita. The federal government also allocated a great deal toward wages and salaries in Alaska — $5,709.52 per capita. This was more than any state other than Hawaii, which spent $5,805.78 per person, and twice the next-closest state within the contiguous U.S. — Virginia — at $2,638.68.

    • the dude says:

      Self reliance my ass. Don’t forget the handout checks they get from oil companies raping the land for teh ‘back gold’.

  19. smartman says:

    Guy walks into a bar in New Orleans, sits down, robot comes up and says “Whadya have”? “Whiskey” he replies. Robot comes back with his drink and asks “What’s your IQ”. He replies “158”. Robot says “Wow, you’re pretty smart!” and begins talking about theoretical mathematics, nuclear fission and wormholes.

    Guy finishes his drink and starts to walk out then turns around and sits down again. Robot approaches and asks “Whadya have?” “Whiskey” he replies.Robot comes back with his drink and asks “What’s your IQ”. He replies “108”. Robot begins talking about NASCAR, nutria hunting, LSU and the Saints.

    Guy finishes his drink and walks out of the bar impressed and after half a block, turns around, heads back to the bar and sits down again. Robot approaches and asks “Whadya drinkin?” “Whiskey” he replies.Robot comes back with his drink and asks “What’s your IQ”. He replies “65”. Robot leans in slowly and asks, “so are you people still happy with Obama?”

  20. The Other Guy says:

    There is really no comparison to Katrina and this river flood. None.
    Sorry for the loss of belongings and the struggle for these people in Alaska, but this is a shameful article.

  21. paulwilsonkc says:

    Other Guy; “I began to see a sharp contrast between Galena and Katrina. Sure, Galena’s a fraction of the size, but that’s not the point. ”

    The story isnt about how similar the two were on any of the ways commenters have taken it upon themselves to point out;
    hurricane vs flood
    black vs white
    dike vs river bank

    None of those were the topic. It was about how a close knit group of people saw the disaster coming, planned for it, implemented a plan and while the town is lost their lives were saved. They took it upon themselves to care for one another. Its just that simple.

    Chuck said it pretty darned well: “Could it be the racial inference you made is not entirely spot on? The quote about population figures starts with American Indians making up 62% of same, which would seem to preclude any “White Supremacy” implications.”

    But you know, you always make yourself a target if you talk about personal responsibility. People dont like that much.

    • the dude says:

      Wilsun, coordinating the evacuation of 500 compared to a few hundred thousand are entirely different animals. The logistics of the latter would make multiple heads spin.

    • The Other Guy says:

      I am not referring to race either. I am talking about comparing a city in the top 50 of US population and a town of 500. Do you not think the size matters, even though you say it is not the point?
      Do you not think there were 500 NO residents who had a plan, implemented it and cared for one another? Your article makes it seem like the entire of city of NO sat and waited to die or for W. to come rescue them and was unwilling to help each. It is a not fair because we are dealing with an enormously larger group of people vs 500. Then add in the complexities of large urban area vs a rural community.

      • paulwilsonkc says:

        I hate to be repetitively redundant, but,

        “I began to see a sharp contrast between Galena and Katrina. Sure, Galena’s a fraction of the size, but that’s not the point. ”

        And that wasnt the point of my article.

        I’m going to let the robots and racists battle it out. You guys are smarter than this, you get the intent of the article. Sure, you can make it 100 other things, but thats not the tone or intention.

        • the dude says:

          But it was a poor comparison wilsun, that is my major gripe. If you wanted to tell your gooey, feel good story about some place most of us have never heard of, well, bully for you. But attempting to compare this event to Katrina is wrong and misinformed at the very best.

  22. KCMonarch says:

    This community:
    Enjoys public boarding schools with strong vocational programs…
    Relies on federally subsidized school district,city govt, etc…
    Gets their information from The National Weather Service…
    Relies on a dike and runways built by the U.S. Air Force…

    More like a bunch of commie pinkos up there feeding off the government teeth.

    • the dude says:

      Gubment teet is what we like to call it down in Storyville.
      I guess it really depends on who is tugging on that teet at the end of the day as to whether it is self reliance or leaching, eh?

      • KCMonarch says:

        Sorry. *teet is what we call it in CandyLand as well. Apparently my phone’s spell check doesn’t like that word. I blame Obama.

  23. smartman says:

    A week later the guy goes back to the bar and grabs a stool. Robot approaches and asks Whadya have? Whiskey he replies.Robot comes back with his drink and asks “What’s your IQ?” He replies “12”. Robot, looks, rotates his head and says, aw sh#t harley, I’m sorry I should know you by now.

  24. Orphan of the Road says:

    What I see comparing the two communities is one is smaller, rural and populated by persons who are used to being first-responders to whatever nature throws at them.

    Rural communities tend to rally because their populations and lifestyle are sustainable. Dial 911 and you die.

    Perhaps you should compare NOLA with The Jersey Shore. Sandy destroyed the shore but those homes were second homes (primarily) and owned by very wealthy individuals. They have received so much government cheese over decades/generations to build and rebuild in areas where no building should occur. Also the foolish and expensive fight against beach erosion which is futile. North Carolina makes no such kow-towing to property owners who build in precarious locations.

    One thing people overlook in NOLA is the inherent corruption which dates back well before there was a USA. What other city in this country allowed a person with a felony conviction to become a police officer?

    You only scratched the surface of each town and the government/residents ability to prepare and tackle a problem.

    • paulwilsonkc says:

      Orphan, I purposely didn’t comment on the Jersey Shore. President Obama and Chris Christy walked hand in hand, down the beach and agreed all was well. Thats good enough for me. (I hope that wasn’t racist)

  25. Super Dave says:

    I have never seen such disgusting crap written as comments since Glazer was posting stories here. When you lose your home to mother nature it has to suck I know I have seen it as well. And each time those who suffer feel like theirs was worse than the next persons. But I did a little digging before blowing all hatefull here at Wilson’s story and it do appear this town does plan for this flooding stuff all the time. I bet in the Netherlands they do the same. I’m sorry but I had many friends who had to go to NO to work before the flood levels had even dropped and their stories are a real eye opener about how people act and acted down there. So while what happened in NO is sad a lot didn’t have to happen as it did. So far not seen Galena on the evening news wanting to know where their FEMA trailers and debit cards are.

    • paulwilsonkc says:

      Thanks, SD. It doesn’t take a genius to Google Katrina and find 1,000 stories about how little the people did, how much they depended on the government to “save them” and how they, POLICE INCLUDED ravaged their own town instead of helping. The stories are legion.

      Therein was the intent of my story.

      I’m incredibly sorry for every lost life. I had no idea Balbonious was a resident then, but something like that has to be without comparison. Your heart goes out to the GOOD people who were caught up in that.

      But there’s also the stories about what they could have done and simply didn’t. The police, who walked off their posts, quit and became part of the problems. Rapes in the Dome, apartment buildings where people were sleeping in the halls, etc.

      I never once drew a line to race being a factor. I never once drew a direct comparison. People of Galena had a plan, worked the plan. Out of all their evacuation plans, the government’s planes arrived LAST. That was NO; if you took responsibility for yourself, as many did, they got out. If you sat and waited on the government, many, many didn’t make it out.

      And in my opinion, not that the descanters would believe it, but those lost lives are no less important, it’s all the same to me. All life is precious. White, black, rich, poor.

      It was a simple moral. Personal responssibility, to what ever extent you can exercise it, always leaves you ahead of the game.

      And, the other good point, they aren’t waiting on trailers or debit cards.

    • the dude says:

      I’ll ask that question then.
      Where is MY formaldehyde FEMA trailer Brownie??
      Where is it?!?!?
      Oh, you’re out whispering to horses, never mind.

  26. paulwilsonkc says:

    Im going to leave a final thought, for now, and see if it doesnt make sense, even to those who see the world through racist eyes. The ones who, if you oppose our President on any single act, youre racist.

    People live in Big Bear.
    People live in Malibu.
    People live below sea level in NO.
    People live on the banks of the Yukon River in Galena.
    People live on the fault line in Missouri.
    People live on the Gulf Coast in Pensacola, my home away from home.
    People live hung on the cliff, overlooking the SFO Bay and bridge.
    People live in high rises where hook and ladder trucks can’t possibly reach them.

    EACH of those come with a potential price. Sometimes its huge. Some of those people take precautions based on where they live and the potential fall out from it. Some dont.

    And that…. makes me a racist if I point out some did less than others.
    I’m cool with that.

  27. chuck says:

    This is a wild video of Katrina that shows the cops looting Walmart.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3RVHDlPqZWE

    Wow.

    • paulwilsonkc says:

      Racist cop hater.

    • balbonis moleskine says:

      That’s the WMT on Tchop. There was an understanding with WMT and the Police/City that being the only major grocery store in the Tchop/Lee Circle/Irish Channel area they would allow people to take from the store as that area is one of those grocery store wastelands. People literally needed supplies and medicine.

      And kudos to Wal-mart by the way. And I know nobody EVER says that. But they allowed people to rummage the store (I did not as I had already evacuated). When I got to the evacuation point they gave me a no strings attached 200 dollar WMT giftcard.

      It remains to this day the only actual assistance I received from anyone or any aid organization, or any government. Regardless of all those beggy Red Cross and Salvation Army ads.

      Want to hear a sad story? I shopped at the WMT on Tchop all the time. When you would go down the aisles and bought food you would have to look to make sure the packages were sealed on high-calorie items like Peanut Butter as starving poor people would come in, grab a handful of jif and return it on the shelves. You would occasionally catch skinny people doing this if you pulled around the corner with your cart. You could see the shame on their faces.

      Made you stop and pause for a second and remember how good a lot of us have it in this country.

      We might be slouching towards fascism in a fading empire with a declining standard of living but at least Im not trying to scarf down PB so I don’t starve.

      Food for thought. Cheers.

  28. BG says:

    So New Orleans folk waitied for government help, in contrast to Galenans?
    Yet Karrie writes of the Alaskan Div of Forestry helicoptering the meat out to avoid a conflux of bears, and also of spending time “contacting local officials!”
    I see no contrast, just difference of scope!

    • the dude says:

      Bingo, this man wins a handful of the internets for a spot on observation.^^

      • paulwilsonkc says:

        Post flood clean up is a little different than waiting for help to be saved. Those are government services, in the aftermath, for remediation, just like the State rebuilding highways; except they don’t have highways to escape on or rebuild.
        Maybe a half a hand of internets?

  29. Screw NO says:

    Screw NO. Fact remains that this country suffers more from our own sense of greed, dis-respect, and absolute distain for thy neighbor. You want the proper face of disaster then look no further then Japan and the tsunami. Smartman makes a good point regarding the preparedness and planning of Alaska vs. NO. What is missed is the complete break down of humanity that occurred in that city. Poor, rich, dumb, smart regardless of your race, color, or affiliation what happened in NO was more about selfishness and the decline of humanity. And right now Balbonis your setting the same example. Sorry you lost your dream but you should be more pissed about the absolute failure of your local, state, federal, leadership and the actions of not just a few but hundreds of NO citizens. Were you one I doubt it are you a victim of their actions i’d say so.

    • paulwilsonkc says:

      +100 and give this man two fists full of internets, Dude!
      That’s better than I explained it and STILL not racist. The antithesis of what you saw in Galena.

  30. harley says:

    60% of the nation lives in dangerous possible disaster areas…what do we do…
    move them all.
    I know of people who lived in flood plains who every other year got a check
    from the flood insurance people when their property flooded. They asked
    the flood adjusters why not just pay me to move and save money…
    the reply…we can’t pay you to move.
    We all know our uncle sam isn’t the brightest biz in the nation…but they
    have so much money (yes…even in a so called recession they had more money
    than they knew whaat to do with) that if its not spent…they don’t get it next
    year.
    Right now…tax coffers are filling up…instead of using that money to create
    jobs rebuilidng our infrastructure or doing something that works to better the
    future (like a massive training program for the 4 million jobs left unfilled)…we’re
    still arguing over how to spend this money.
    WE’ve become a dysfunctional nation….frozen like a deer in headlights…
    and we’re looking at a future that is really scary for the kidds and grand kids.
    I saw pics of what they’re building in europe and china in infrasstrcture from
    high speed trains to new bridges and incredible new transportation projects…
    then i look at what we have and it’s so old and worn out that we have to
    wonder where all our money is going.
    we’re not broke…we’re just being f*cked!!!!!!!

    • the dude says:

      If only they followed the advice in your wonderful advice column harlinatorisahorribleadvisor@law4life.yoohoo.com this country would be better off.

      • harley says:

        dude…come on….do something better than that.
        or come up with some ideas of your own.
        we’ve got problems…serious problems….what do you
        feel should be done…
        show us your wisdom instead of trying to
        jump and insult ….id’ be interesteed to see some of your
        ideas becuase you probably have some decent ones.

        • the dude says:

          I do but it would require a fundamental restructuring of our government and more than a few people would be against that.

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