Hurricanes, Florida Style

Hurricanes, Florida Style

Today, John Hawkins has a new column up on Townhall called It’s Time to Get Over Katrina Already. He makes an excellent point:

Two years after Katrina, everywhere you turn, there are people carping, whining, and kvetching. Just why hasn’t the pity party for the citizens of New Orleans run out of booze and chips yet?

It’s not as if hurricanes are a once a millennium event in the United States. In fact, residents of Florida have so many of them that they don’t even cancel a barbecue for anything under a Category 3.

Can I just say how true that is? We get hurricane warnings constantly. Most of the time, I yawn. And honestly, if it’s a Category 1 or 2, it’s a non-event… unless, of course, you are a surfer, in which case you can be counted upon to be at the beach trying to take advantage of the good waves, all the way up to a Category 4, when police have to be there to forcibly keep them away.

To us, hurricanes are kind of like big thunderstorms. Unless a really big, bad one comes along (like a 4 or a 5), it’s pretty boring.

A few years ago, Florida got hit by four hurricanes in one season. Two of them, Frances and Jeanne, came through Jacksonville. My friends and I were all pretty excited. At the time, I was living at the beaches, and at my parents’ request, came to stay with them further inland. Their house lost power for a few days due to downed power lines, my apartment at the beaches didn’t. Wind and rain was minimal. Some friends and I even threw a hurricane party, completely ready with non-perishable food items, “beverages”, and lots of candles. We were all set and ready for the exciting stuff to happen. But as we waited, and the hours passed, nothing happened. We didn’t lose power. There were no gale force winds, no trees whipping about. The surfers ate it up out at the beach, and while some people lost power for a while, it was pretty much a non-event. It wasn’t that anyone wanted large-scale destruction, but we were waiting for something to happen! You know, give us some strong winds, some power outages. It was more eventful a few months after 9-11, when the entire city lost power for no apparent reason (and there was definitely no hurricane in sight). Jacksonville hasn’t had a major storm hit since the 1960s, and I’m not betting on it happening any time soon.

In the areas where the hurricanes were much stronger, like in Pensacola and the southwestern tip of Florida (Tampa, Clearwater, St. Petersburg, etc.), there was large scale damage and destruction that took years to rebuild. But did you see those people clamoring for the government to swoop in and solve everything for them? Did they whine and cry to the media about how the government wasn’t paying enough attention to their plight? No! It was actually a pretty inspirational story, in my opinion, to watch these people see everything they owned destroyed, and pick themselves back up and keep going. Not only did they show resilience, but (to use a corny phrase), the spirit of brotherhood was alive and well. People from all over the state traveled to help with the rebuilding efforts. Neighbors pitched in to help neighbors. They worked together, usually selflessly, and over time, things got better. Then again, we also didn’t have Louisiana politicians to screw it up for us, either.

There was no looting. No influx of crime. No Army Corps of Engineers needing to be called in to rebuild, only to be attacked by angry residents. Shit happened, and people took care of themselves. They picked themselves up, and went on with their lives, without requiring the rest of the United States to do it for us.

Contrast that with Katrina. And when it comes to Katrina, specifically, how many people remember that New Orleans was not the only city affected? States from Mississippi to Texas were affected, hit badly, yet how much media coverage and aid went to them? Was there an outpouring of compassion to help rebuild those cities? I’m sure there was some, but it was nowhere near the spectacle of New Orleans. We’ve spent more on rebuilding New Orleans than we did on the Marshall Plan, for crying out loud. At what point does enough become enough? I mean, sheesh. Obviously, there are Katrina victims who have picked up and moved on to lead productive lives. There are too many, however, who are enjoying the situation, milking it for all its worth, and happily living off the taxpayers’ dime.

I’ll say it again: shit happens. In Denver, it was massive blizzards. In Minnesota, it was a bridge collapsing. In the midwest, they have tornado alley. Here on the east coast, we have hurricanes. Pick up. Move on. Get a life.

Cross-posted at Wizbang

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  • Scott says:

    What I see most people missing when they talk about this stuff is the fact that in Florida the people were there putting their lives back together themselves, with some help from others, unlike in New Orleans where we have people still living all over the country mooching off the government complaining that someone else hasn’t rebuilt their homes yet.

  • Joe says:

    We should evacuate New Orleans then nuke it.

  • Huck says:

    joe – first time I ever heard anyone argue for dropping a nuclear bomb on his own country with an intent to do harm — if not to people, then to its territory. Pathetic.

  • gredd says:

    “blogger sidekick, Cassy Fiano”

    “acolyte, Cassy Fiano”

    “fraud Hawkins”

    Pathetic. I stopped reading right there. You had a chance to present an opposing view and you blew it. And what respect I had (and I did), is now gone. You play this high and mighty, “don’t call me names because that’s mean and disrespectful and I don’t do it,” crap and then you turn around and pull the same exact stunt. Do as I day and not as I do, huh? Looks like we found the real ‘fraud.’ Like I said, pathetic.

  • Huck says:

    gredd – I think Hawkins is a fraud. And I think he’s an intellectual coward, too. I also think it’s clear that Cassy’s blogging career owes a lot to John Hawkins. She’s admitted as much. In fact, this whole post on Cassy’s blog is a tribute to a Hawkins column.

    Is your refusal to read what I wrote because of the presence of the words fraud, acolyte, and sidekick? I wrote those because I believe them to be accurate. Would it have made a difference to you if I had called Hawkins disingenuous and purposefully deceptive instead of a fraud? Or would you still accuse me of name-calling? Would it have made a difference if I had referred to Cassy as a Hawkins protege and follower? Or would you still accuse me of name-calling? The way some conservatives use the word “liberal,” I’d say by your logic that there’s spiteful name-calling going on by conservatives all the time. If you think my characterizations of Hawkins and Cassy are not accurate, we can dispute that. I can give you my concrete reasons for why I believe them to be accurate according to what these terms literally mean, reasons which I have, and you can give me yours for why they’re not, and we can go from there.

    Just like you can call me (as you have) a fraud, a minion of the DailyKos, or … how was it that someone called me in an earlier thread here? … elitist, pompous, and arrogant. And we can argue whether these are accurate; but I’d be unlikely to charge the person levying them with gratuitous name-calling.

    Sure my choice of vocabulary conveys a certain mood, and I won’t deny that my choice of words conveys a certain contempt and anger at how Hawkins and Cassy stomp on my hometown and my people; but I stand by them. Robin might not like being called Batman’s sidekick or acolyte, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t. My own Congressman, Bill Jefferson, might not like being called a fraud, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t.

  • gredd says:

    I have no problem with name calling. I have a problem with people trying to act all high and mighty when in reality they’re garbage wearing a pretty dress.

    (and LOL at ‘my people.’ That was precious)

  • Huck says:

    You’re a sweetheart, gredd.

  • Cas says:

    Huck —

    You call John Hawkins a fraud and an intellectual coward, yet the only reason you dislike him is because he banned you from commenting at RWN. You have a stupid, silly, immature vendetta against him and it’s pathetic that you’re still carrying on with it all this time later. It was sad enough that you whined for weeks and weeks on end that you were banned on your own blog, but now you’re bringing that crap to mine? I don’t think so.

    Yes, John has helped me tremendously in my blogging. It’s something I’m brand new to, and without his help, I probably would not have been able to do half the things I’ve done. That doesn’t mean I’m his little sidekick, acolyte, protege, or any other variation thereof. If you knew John at all, you’d know that he is willing to help out anyone who needs it. He gives me advice occasionally — sometimes I take it, sometimes I don’t. I don’t swallow every single word he says and then spit it back out on my blog, as I’m sure you believe. He’s always there to answer any questions I might have, and having someone as experienced as he is in my corner is a huge benefit. John’s an incredibly smart and talented man, and he got where he is by working his ass off for years. I may not agree with just about anything that Markos Moulitsas says, but I won’t deny him what he’s done. It obviously took tremendous intelligence and determination to build DailyKos to what it is, and for that he has my respect. It’s too bad you can’t do the same for John. He’s smarter and more talented that you will ever be.

    I’ve considered banning you for quite some time, because while I welcomed your debating at first, as time went on you grew more and more annoying and less and less civil. When GothGuy called you pompous, arrogant, and elitist, I was inwardly cheering because his entire post was so right-on. In fact, you bitched and complained about so many of my posts, that I was starting to wonder why you even bothered reading my blog at all. And if you’re going to be insulting me, and someone I consider a friend, then don’t even bother coming back. Civil debate is one thing, but immature name-calling (towards me, towards John, towards other readers, making fun of people’s names, etc.) is stupid and pathetic. Dragging me into your months old grudge over someone who has every right to ban whomever they choose to ban at any time is even more pathetic. Frankly, the only reason I haven’t banned you yet was because I didn’t want to have to deal with your adolescent whining and moaning for weeks on end about it the way you did with RWN. So don’t even bother commenting anymore, consider yourself banned, and I’m sure you’ll have plenty of posts on your blog about this whining about how I banned you.

    I. don’t. care.

    You’re a hack who can only regurgitate liberal talking points, who can never think for yourself, gets angry because I have someone helping me out, and lately, can’t make a single post without being rude, insulting, or just downright annoying. So just go crawl back under whatever rock it is you came from. I’m tired of your bullshit. I’m sure I’ll be reading about this on your blog soon anyways.

  • Huck says:

    OK, Cassy. After this reply, I won’t comment here anymore. I also won’t mention you on my own blog.

    I’m sorry you feel so insulted and offended by me. With this particular post, I was only trying to defend my oft-maligned city and the many people I know who are continuing to struggle to put back together a life here from what I considered to be an insulting and demeaning posting.

    I used to read you when you first started writing a blog through your local newspaper’s online service. You had some wonderful columns about personal redemption and conquering real adversity in your life. You were a different kind of blogger then.

    Unlike Hawkins, you at least had the decency to explain to me why you are banning me. I can’t say that I agree with you that my comments deserve banning, but I can respect that you think so and have told me so.

    I know I can come across as an arrogant ass sometimes. Apparently, I have gone too far here. I regret that.

    Well, I’ve said too much already, so I’ll just leave with a sincere apology personally to you and generally to all your readers for anything I’ve done to offend you so terribly. May you all live happily and find fulfillment in whatever it is that you do in life.

  • Varg says:

    As a resident of Florida for 15 years and countless Hurricanes dating back to David in 1979, I am compelled to tell you your opinions on Floridians responses to hurricanes are among the most ignorant and immature views I have ever read. Just painfully, hurtfully lacking even a shred of knowledge about the people of your state. Commentary without experience is a terrible thing. Please shut up.

  • bbartlog says:

    shit happens. In Denver, it was massive blizzards. In Minnesota, it was a bridge collapsing.

    And in New York, it was some terrorists who got lucky. But as far as I can tell based on your previous post, you seem to think that was different. But I don’t.

  • D-Vega says:

    Huck is a good man. A righteous liberal. And he’s actually from Louisiana. He has the right to speak up.

  • Cas says:

    I never said he wasn’t a good person. And I certainly never said he shouldn’t be speaking up, whether he is from Louisiana or not. However, he is required to do so without insulting me, my readers, my friends, or anyone else. He is required to do so in a civil and courteous manner, and over time he has become less and less able to do so. I’ve gotten several complaints from readers about him, and then he went and insulted someone I consider to be a good friend, and myself as well. Therefore, he was banned. I really, really did not want to have to resort to that, which is why I’ve put it off too long. But he crossed a line. I’m genuinely sorry I had to do that, but he left my hands tied.

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