|Satellite Image of Hurricane Irma|
Credits: NASA/NOAA/UWM-CIMSS, William Straka
It matters when government is prepared to lead. We honor and fully appreciate our first responders whose mission is to serve and protect us in the wake of disasters, both natural and human caused. We want and fully expect our governments -- federal, state and local -- to execute a coordinated and effective disaster response of immediate rescue and relief followed by supportive recovery and reconstruction efforts.
It's a team comprised of weather scientists from NOAA and NASA who could rationally predict with a high degree of certainty the course and magnitude of the storms as they approached; of a network of seasoned news media skilled in broadcasting events as they unfold, and disseminating the government's warnings alerting the public; of expert first responders ranging from FEMA to military units to local fire, police, and emergency medical services; of hospitals and NGOs fully prepared and ready to fulfill their missions of aid and relief; of faith-based organizations calling on their congregations to respond; and concerned citizens, like you and me, ready to answer the call to assist our neighbors in need. Our ability to respond is the value of time-tested responsible government leadership. It is born of commitment to collaboration and trust, and a willingness to partner.
Our natural rush to respond to disasters brings out the collective best in us to help each other survive and recover. It unifies us. Let's capitalize on this unifying spirit to mitigate the occurrence of self-inflicted disasters. Disasters caused by how we may choose to negotiate international diplomacy; to send our military into harms way; to address economic growth and security; to understand science; and to enforce the rights and fair treatment of the abused and vulnerable. Being passive observers won't do. We must rush to help our government focus on creating a common good that is meant for all of us. To avoid self-inflicted disasters our leaders must choose wisely, and choose our leaders wisely we must.
This post also was published in CT Viewpoints on September 21, 2017
Don Shaw, Jr.
Writer and Editor