Friday, September 2, 2005

Engulfed

I received this from a friend here in Florida:

Engulfed by the price of gas

A man’s life should not depend on the price of a full tank of gas. This has become the most appalling aspect of Hurricane Katrina’s assault on the Gulf States of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama as the number of fatalities climbs; due, in part, to the high price of gasoline. Citizens who could not afford to fill up at the pump with the average of $45 for an economy-sized car were unable to flee despite evacuation orders and had no option but to remain helpless in their vulnerable towns. Officials will not formally estimate the amount of fatalities but it could be assessed in the hundreds if not thousands.

Those who survived the storm surge now await the sluggish arrival of federal aid reminiscent of the citizens of South Florida who awaited the arrival of aid after Hurricane Andrew. The arrival of the National Guard signaled the long road back to normal for Andrew survivors. But the majority of our National Guard troops in 1992 were not deployed to the Gulf War. In 2005, the Louisiana National Guard is reduced in the ability to offer quick relief to survivors of Hurricane Katrina as most of its members have been deployed to Iraq. An integral part of our government’s ability to respond to national disaster has been compromised in an effort to protect oil interests in the Gulf States of the Middle East. The irony is complete. The Big Oil companies reap profits while our citizens are suffering.

I detect a scrambling of the mission and the message here. I would like to see the Big Oil companies: Shell, Exxon Mobil, Citgo, BP, Chevron and the rest make a mission out of helping the citizens of the Gulf States here at home. Perhaps a percentage of their windfall profits from the past year could fall on those who need it most. Let the Big Oil companies be the major donors for relief and aid to Katrina’s survivors. Imagine what that message would do for our national economy! Let our internationalized National Guard come home where they are needed most. There is no justification for a tank of gas to be the measure of a man’s fate.