Mom Update

Mom made it out of Houston today, making the normal 2.5 hour drive in a little under six. She said that the roads were lined with stranded or abandoned vehicles but that people from local communities were also present along the way handing out food, water and gasoline.

Mom concurred with the BeldarBlog post that Jonathan linked to below that the gridlock problem was caused by people in non-critical areas evacuating before they had to. The evacuation was planned to go in stages, with the area divided up into risk zones labeled A,B,C etc. People in “A” zones should’ve gone first, then “B” and so on. However, it looks like the “Katrina effect” combined with over the top reporting in the media caused a large number of people to evacuate before their turn. That is what caused the overload of the road and fuel systems. Next time this happens, we will have to concentrate more on public education and media responsibility to make sure people evacuate in the planned order.

Mom’s boyfriend is a Houston area motorcycle cop. He says that downtown Houston is utterly deserted and that something of a party atmosphere has infected the force as they patrol around with nothing to do. He spent some time feeding cheese doodles to ducks in the park. They do expect to be super busy after landfall for a week or more. They expect days of rain and flooding.

They don’t expect much of a looting problem or at least not much of a sustained looting problem. This is Texas after all.

11 thoughts on “Mom Update”

  1. Good to hear that your mom is OK.

    “. . . people from local communities were also present along the way handing out food, water and gasoline.”

    This, of course, is typical behavior in the USA. It always annoys me when leftie journos run down the USA based on the behavior of only its most aberrant citizens in its most dysfunctional places — e.g., New Orleans.

  2. Jonathan,

    Yes and the ordinary decent behavior is always spread out and off camera. Goodness is usually diffused while Evil concentrates making it always easier to film the Evil than the good.

  3. I too have family in Houston. They are still there. They live in an area that does not have a mandatory evacuation. The party atmosphere you mentioned is definitely going on. My family has been going out to dinner parties at friends houses each night. I even sent them my “rules for the ethical looter” For after the storm, if need be.

  4. Btw, journalists do that everywhere.

    I’m interested to find out if average citizens everywhere also respond to mass need with generosity. I suspect that it happens more often than not, just as crime and lawlessness also increases after a disaster.

    The area around Kobi, Japn suffered from an earthquake in 1995. The biggest impression I retain from that terrible event was the way that the media kept harping on the fact that the Japanese people were very generous towards the afflicted. According to the talking heads on the TV, the Japanese were usually only concerned with helping immediate family and would leave others to fend for themselves. (I don’t know how accurate this claim is.)

    On the other hand, I’ve read many first-person accounts written by Allied prisoners during WWII. The German people would usually respond to POW’s with gifts of food or water if they would come in contact with them while they were being transported somewhere outside of the prison camp.

    This isn’t to say that they would receive much help if they were escapees. Then they’d be in trouble if civilians spotted them. But it seems that there’s always someone in the crowd who is moved to pity by the plight of the less fortunate.


  5. One thing that I heard on Fox News earlier is that a lot of households were taking two or three cars in order to carry more stuff away.

    Our old nemesis, the tragedy of the commons, bites us in the ass once again!

  6. James R. Rummel,

    “I’m interested to find out if average citizens everywhere also respond to mass need with generosity. “

    Those that study peoples responses in emergencies have found that cooperation is the rule of the day. They call it emergent cooperation and spontaneous altruism. Breakdowns in social order during large scale disasters are in fact the exception and not the rule. The circumstances in New Orleans, for example, were a historical anomaly.

    The way that people are portrayed as acting in movies or other art is almost exactly backwards from peoples real behavior. People don’t panic, don’t attack each other and they do self-organize.

  7. “The circumstances in New Orleans, for example, were a historical anomaly.”

    Michael Barone wrote recently that “Robert Putnam in Bowling Alone noted that Louisiana ranks No. 50 among states in measures of social connectedness.” New Orleans is exceptional in the USA in terms of low social cohesion, high crime, low trust. The pre-existing, ongoing cultural disaster made the material disaster much worse than it would have been if it had happened to other communities.

  8. My hunch is that the release of criminals by overwhelmed local officials in New Orleans led to most of the violence that the media implicitly attributed to otherwise-law-abiding poor black people (and that the media also, implicitly, in an act of obvious racial prejudice that should have been more widely noted, reflexively excused). IOW, as lacking as NO was in social cohesion, things might have turned out much better if the incompetents who ran the place had made timely arrangements to move prisoners. So it could be that low social cohesion led to ineffective govt, which led to bad decisions that set the stage for social calamity, but that NO society itself was not quite as uncohesive at it appeared. I don’t know, I’m merely speculating. Maybe we will eventually learn more about what caused what.

  9. It’s not just those released from jail:

    Half Katrina Refugees Have Records

    Thursday, September 22, 2005

    MIDDLETOWN, R.I. — After Hurricane Katrina (search) hit New Orleans, federal officials flew Brian Murph and more than 100 other victims to Rhode Island. They were greeted by the governor and cheered by residents.

    Then the handcuffs were placed on Murph.

    State police did criminal background checks (search) on every refugee and found that more than half had a criminal arrest records — a third for felonies. Murph was the only one with an outstanding arrest warrant, for larceny and other crimes.

    Around the nation, state and local authorities are checking refugees’ pasts as they are welcomed into homes, schools, houses of worship and housing projects. In some states, half the refugees have rap sheets.

    Decades of welfare dependency, racial hatemongering by Al Sharpton and others, etc, etc.

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