What Hurricane Harvey Can Teach Us About Small Government

When tragedy strikes, civilians can and will band together for the benefit of their communities

Hurricane Harvey
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By Sam Bocetta:

What we can learn from Hurricane Harvey is that big government is not only outmoded but unnecessary…

As a survivor of Hurricane Sandy, I can tell you first-hand that the devastation is matched only by the perseverance of the people. I can readily recall my meeting with a woman who drove from forty miles away to bring $500 worth of Dunkin Donuts and hot coffee to the houses without power in my neighborhood.

I can also remember the Red Cross trucks who could be counted on to bring us warm meals twice a day, to say nothing of the good samaritans who set up camp in front of our neighborhood bar to hand out canned goods and blankets.

Natural disasters act as a sort of real-world simulation of social media. Only instead of sending someone a heart emoji after they’ve posted about their hardships, you’re there to share your love with them face to face.

The mainstream media would have you believe that Hurricane Harvey is all degradation and chaos. It’s easier to sell fear and cynicism because they make for more sensational headlines. It appeals to the basest human curiosity—bloodlust. After all, no matter how good a person you are, you’ve probably slowed down on the highway and craned your neck when you came upon the scene of an accident.

The fake news feeds on that morbid curiosity and they’re dedicated to delivering you tidbits about the dark part of the American character. It’s why Hollywood actor Ryan Gosling breaking up a fight between two strangers only earns itself a sidebar on Page Six but President Trump Tweeting a spelling error becomes a national scandal.

Establishment journalists are keen on perpetuating the narrative that people can’t take care of themselves and that the ruling class know what’s really good for us. But President Trump clearly knows something that they don’t.

Right before Hurricane Harvey touched down, he had this to say: “When one part of America hurts, we all hurt. And when one citizen suffers an injustice, we all suffer together. Loyalty to our nation demands loyalty to one another. Love for America requires love for all of its people.”

In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, the American people echoed that sentiment. With eighty percent of their hometown demolished, residents of Bayside, Texas took to helping each other rebuild. And at the town’s city hall and community center, donations poured in from San Antonio, Kingsville and Corpus Christi with volunteers on standby with meals and drinking water.

This illustrates something one and all Americans should take notice of. Through resilience and compassion, we the people can function autonomously. When tragedy strikes, civilians can and will band together for the benefit of their communities.

What this teaches us is that big government is not only outmoded but unnecessary. As we saw with Hurricane Sandy, the power companies may fail us (leaving New Yorkers without electricity or heat for months on end), FEMA may fail us and our (then) President may fail us. But we don’t have to fail each other.

When we look at the outreach of local law enforcement and special interest groups post-Harvey, we see that where big government busies itself with arbitrary paperwork and perpetual stonewalling, regional power rises to the occasion and races out to protect its own.

In Austin, an industrial office park has been converted into a home for evacuees. The “mega-shelter” is housing at least 2,000 flooding victims. City employees did what big government could never do with all their red tape and bogus bureaucracy—they burned the midnight oil in an effort to properly outfit the labyrinth of warehouses and office parks with cots, A/C units and lights so that it would be prepared to reach capacity.

Transportation was organized, portable toilets were set down in rows, shower trailers were set up, and local police and firefighters were deployed in mobile command posts.

While the aforementioned command posts are courtesy of President Trump’s lifting of the controversial 1033 program ban that was put into place by the Obama administration, the rest is thanks to the hard work and big hearts of the local government and those loyal volunteers.

Of course, it’s not all wine and roses for the people of Texas. Looting has become an issue, which is why it’s a good thing that the Lone Star state supports its citizens’ right to bear arms. But a major concern among the shelters should be having strong gun safes on hand to house evacuees’ guns.

That being said, local government has seemingly thought of everything this time. Vidor Police Chief Rod Carrol admonished looters that they would be facing “eternal damnation” and mandatory sentences are being meted out.

Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg cautioned looters against the penalty that could await them if they prey upon the poor people that have been harmed or displaced due to the hurricane, adding that burglarizing a home in an affected area could result in a life sentence under Texas law.

All across the coastal bend, the citizens are uniting to lend each other a hand. In the town of Refugio, volunteers from a church in Runge traveled from fifty miles away to deliver clean clothing and canned goods to those whose homes were ravaged by the Category 4 storm.

And it’s not just the locals that are offering support. Faith-based organizations, far-reaching nonprofits and the Cajun Navy, a famous volunteer group, are also preparing to make a difference.

“There are hundreds of volunteers and we’ve already made hundreds of rescues,” Cajun Navy man Clyde Cain told the press. “Our goal is to help people get out if they are trapped in their homes or apartments, get them to safety.”

The Cajun Navy are currently using social media to encourage people to join their team and assist in mobilizing to offer Harvey victims solace and sustenance.

In a recent Facebook group post, they wrote, “If ANYONE is willing and able to start mobilizing towards Texas with equipment—surface drive, flat bottoms, air boats etc to start heading towards Pasadena Texas, the central command center is staged at Academy sports and outdoors at 4627 E Sam Houston Parkway S Pasadena TX 77505.”

The most impressive and touching part of all is the altruism we’re seeing from people far and wide. Strangers are making their way into Texas to provide food, gear and lanterns to the locals who have suffered this terrible plight.

A 25-year old man named Jordy Bloodsworth filled his car with equipment and supplies and drove from Baton Rouge, Louisiana to Houston with an 18 ft fishing boat in tow to do his part in the effort to rescue those stranded in the flood.

If this kind of selflessness and samaritanism says anything, it says that the nation can function as a network of good, a network that can mobilize to get ‘er done when our own governmental institutions are too busy mincing words over political differences to concern themselves with the little people.

We’ve got the numbers and we’ve got the ability. Let’s all continue to look out for each other. God bless the people that make America great.

© Copyright by Sam Bocetta, 2017. All rights reserved.

Email Sam: sambocetta@gmail.com

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Sam Bocetta
About Sam Bocetta 7 Articles
Sam Bocetta is a retired contractor who worked for over 35 years as an engineer specializing in cyber warfare and Navy computer systems. Past projects include the development of EWTR systems, Antifragile EW project, and development of Chaff countermeasures. Sam now teaches at Algonquin Community College in Ottawa, Canada as a part time engineering professor.