Watching the news there was an interesting display of the “Helicopter Parenting” nature of government today and just how obstinate it can be.
I can’t say exactly the source. It was on the Roku and I think it was one of those channels that puts up the most recent snippets from other channels (the hot stories of the last 24 hours).
One of the major networks had a reporter down in the Florida Keys reporting on how recovery was going. It might have been the ‘Today’ show. He was at the police barricade where folks were being told they could go no further. The basic “story” was that an increasing number of folks were stacking up there wanting to return to their property and start putting their lives back together, but were being denied entry by the police. Typical after a disaster of dramatic proportions in some ways.
The reporter asked one of the police “why?”. His answer was that it wasn’t safe (the stock answer to any denial of freedom, it seems). The claim was that the First Responders and power company needed the streets empty so they could check houses for any dead folks and get down electrical wires out of the way. Unanswered was how those down wires had such dangerous electricity in them when all the generation and transmission in the area were down. OK, that much is pretty much SOP for such events. Authority wants to prove Control before it allows the peasants back into the space.
But then they went on. There’s no water, no food supply, no electricity, no street lights, no Air Conditioning. One guy with a large truck was busy ranting that he had water, food, a generator and more, yet was being kept out…
AND, said the cop, there’s no cell service and no internet “how can you call for help if you get in trouble?”
Really? Have we reached the point where without cell service and the internet we can’t function? Have these folks never been in the wilderness before? Do they not remember just a couple of decades back when nobody had cell phones and the internet was for Nerds? Have we forgotten folks lived in Florida, Texas, heck even Phoenix Arizona prior to A/C? Do they not understand the notion of “camping” where you bring your own food, water, and light with you? Where, GASP!, you might actually just go to bed when it gets dark and not need 24 hour / day lighting?
In about 1970 a friend and I went “car camping” up in the Sierra Nevada mountains near Quincy. We stayed in a State Park, but it was the old style parks you don’t see anymore. No fee. No lights. No “facilities”. About all it had was dirt parking spaces under the trees and some garbage cans for your trash. You were on your own for things like water and food and lighting. We put 2 sleeping bags in the truck bed and slept under the stars. Middle of the night we heard some rattling noises. A flashlight played in that direction showed a smallish black bear working the garbage can route. He looked at us with a “Hey, Buddy, kill that damn light will ya!?” look. We did and he went back to the garbage cans while we went back to trying to sleep.
Now we had no cell phones then. We were about an hour drive away from anywhere with significant population. The last street light was far far away. Electricity was something used in the city, not the wild. The internet was only a dream in the mind of someone at DARPA. His truck had no radio and no air conditioner. Food, water, bedding those were all things you provided for yourself, along with any policing or protection ( I think the County had about 1/2 dozen Deputies to cover the whole thing, then.) Shelter? That was your tent, trailer, or in our case, the back of the truck. As not-quite-adults, we were encouraged to go out on our own into that wild to “build character” and learn to be independent. What was sometimes stated as “growing up”…
So to my world view, taking a pickup stocked with luxuries like a generator and portable self cooling “ice chest” with LED lighting and more water and food than they could eat and drink, including an AM / FM radio with CD player for entertainment and likely having modern conveniences like A/C built into it; well, that just seems like paradise on wheels.
Yet here was Authority stating that it was not safe to be self reliant. That it was essential to life to have grid electricity, cell service, the internet, running water and sewers, hospitals with ambulance on call, policed streets and all modern City Central Services before even a temporary occupation for purposes of repair and recovery could be allowed. In short, citizens are only dependent chattel of the Helicopter Parental State and all must be treated as imbecile children.
In essence: When the Central Authority demands you evacuate and not shelter in place, expect your home to have the door broken down BY THE AUTHORITIES so they can assure nobody is dead or injured inside before you are allowed back in. (then they spray paint that fact on your home so expect to repaint) Expect to be kept out until long after the electric company has come and gone, the streets are bulldozed of debris (so forget retrieving any items from the rubble of your home), gas stations are stocked, cell service verified, and proper oversight of your activities is assured (no doubt with fee collectors and permit issuers in abundance). Do NOT expect to be self reliant on any score or to “camp out” or “rough it”. After all, no one can survive without Oprah on TV and a long nightly chat with friends on the cell phone…
Sigh. Whatever happened to the people who crossed a continent of wild lands in a conestoga wagon…
But it gets worse.
The Police, getting testy after all these uppity independent Keys folks wanting to just go rebuild their lives again were demanding answers; said that they were going to enforce the “Curfew” last night. Anyone near their barriers overnight would be busted. Now, normally in a curfew, you are supposed to go home. But these folks are specifically being prohibited from going home. The Prepared Pickup Guy was busy saying “Where am I supposed to go? I’ve got nowhere to go.” And he is right. It’s 700 miles from there to anywhere not raked by a hurricane and there isn’t a lot of gas available in between. Oh, and one would need to drive into the night curfew to get there even IF gas was available.
So here they are, in the middle of a hurricane mess, 700 miles of mess to get to not much going north, being told there’s a curfew and get off the streets. Or Else. Sigh.
The Stupid, it burns.