May 06, 2010

The Disaster America Ignored

I'll be frank: I didn't have a grasp of how bad the flooding in Tennessee was, because I didn't see enough news coverage to grasp to severity of the disaster.

I know now. [via Hot Air]

It's amazing and inspiring to watch a community exhibit so much courage and a can-do attitude in the face of such utter devastation. They didn't cry and wait for others to rescue them; they rescued themselves. They didn't loot and riot and shoot at those trying to help them; they organized and helped those most in need.

In several years, I suspect most of Nashville will bear few physical scars from the 2010 flood, because the city and people of Nashville are not just survivors, they are winners determined to triumph.

Years after Katrina, New Orleans will still be a stinking cesspool of quitters and defeatists crying for handouts.

Look at the character of these two cities, and see if you can figure out why one will thrive no matter the odds, and why one will fail no matter the treasure wasted.

Character matters.

Update: Frank Ross has similar thoughts:

Nashville had all of the elements of Katrina, except for the "narrative" bits: no helpless population, no incompetent governor, no hopeless mayor, no looting, no screeching about FEMA, and most important, no Republican in the White House. Instead, it offered a community that banded together, took on the task, saved its neighbors, fought back the floods and is now getting on with its life.

In other words, it offered an old fashioned America: folks doing what Americans do best, including that most important thing: not whining. Maybe that's why they call it the Volunteer State.

Meanwhile, readers of left wing blogs did what liberals always do, and immediately attacked this post as being—sigh—racist. Why of course it is, dear liberal.

Strong moral fiber. Deep sense of community. Selflessness. Courage in the most extreme circumstances. Charity. All racist.

At least for liberals, I mean. For those of you able to comprehend a more complex world view, I'd suggest re-reading Bill Whittle's excellent post-Katrina essay Tribes.

As I said... character matters.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at May 6, 2010 09:13 AM

1,836 people died in Katrina. According to CNN, the death toll in Tennessee is now 21.

Katrina was orders of magnitude worse than the current disaster in Nashville -- you comparison is inaccurate.

Posted by: AndyS at May 6, 2010 10:04 AM

Sorry, AndyS, you missed the point.

It's not about the magnitude of the storm. It's about the magnitude of heart of the people.

Posted by: Goatroper at May 6, 2010 10:25 AM

That "stinking cesspool of quitters and defeatists" known as New Orleans have spent the past 5 years re-building their city in some parts by scratch. Quit whining and suit up if you care. I'm sure you can find a "defeatists" to show you how.

Posted by: Syntax_game at May 6, 2010 10:59 AM

Remind me: how much warning did the residents--and the local government--have that Katrina was imminent?

Posted by: baldilocks at May 6, 2010 11:57 AM

I went to help a friend last night who lives about 100 yards _uphill_ from one of the Harpeth River branches. The water ended up going up to the level of his kitchen counter tops, and covered his mailbox in the front yard. Luckily, he seems to have been one of the few folks living near a river here who had flood insurance.

Posted by: Glen Harness at May 6, 2010 12:15 PM

"Luckily, he seems to have been one of the few folks living near a river here who had flood insurance.

Luck had nothing to do with it. Your friend displayed foresight and commmon sense by insuring an obvious exposure. Good for him!

Posted by: Diogenes Online at May 6, 2010 12:21 PM

Yankee, I've only replied to one of your posts in the past, and it was regarding Katrina. I think you need to pay the City of N.O. a visit and see for yourself how your uninformed opinion is dead wrong. I guess you are paying too much attention to the media coverage and not to the reality. I agree with previous poster, the severity of Katrina and it's Corps of Engineers' disaster, was on a whole different scale. I'm not sure what your problem is with N.O. and the people of Louisiana, but you have a misguided and perhaps media-generated view. BTW, not everyone in the affected area lived in the ninth ward or are minorities. You fail to realize that the largely cnservative majority of this area did fend for themselves. There were many heroes and self-sufficient people who brought the city back from ruin. Educate yourself, Yankee!

Posted by: DwnSth at May 6, 2010 02:41 PM

Thanks for keeping us in the loop C.Y. I was caught up in bailing out my basement and checking on the one roof leak I had to know that there was a Bomb in N.Y.

Posted by: Picric at May 6, 2010 03:48 PM

@ glen harness:
"I went to help a friend last night who lives about 100 yards _uphill_ from one of the Harpeth River branches. The water ended up going up to the level of his kitchen counter tops, and covered his mailbox in the front yard. Luckily, he seems to have been one of the few folks living near a river here who had flood insurance."

wait a minute, you're saying that the one of the Harpeth River branches actually raised 100 yards from normal flow?

charcoal grill tidos?

Posted by: faster at May 6, 2010 04:09 PM

False equivalency FAIL.

This is like comparing a dust-devil and a tornado.

Not to downplay what happened in Tennessee. It is obviously very bad. But Katrina was a perfect storm of nature, poor engineering, and very susceptible geography.

Nashville had a bad flood, and parts of the city were under water. New Orleans got hit by a major hurricane and areas got wiped the f*#k out.

Posted by: t4toby at May 6, 2010 04:54 PM

He is talking about New Orleans, not Louisiana. I live in Louisiana and have lived in New Orleans. The city is not really a part of the state. In fact, I have often thought it inhabited by space aliens. But the characterization of New Orleans is dead on accurate. The majority of the city is inhabited by people who have never worked in their lives and this is assisted by the Democrats in our state. It assures them a block vote for any liberal. The scenes of the fat, lazy, ignorant people sitting around waiting for someone else to do something is very much typical of what occured. All of the law enforcement folks knew that the city was dangerous as the population is nuts and was very dangerous with the status quo disrupted. Do you know of any other major city with a catastrophe were it would be necessary for such a show of fire power? I know first hand that many of the rumors and wild reports that the media suppressed were indeed true. Remember there was a second hurricane that hit us. It did considerable damage to Lake Charles and surrounding area. Yet the people there took care of themselves and did not need the extraordinary efforts that were required in NO.

In short, NO is a poster child for the evil that big government does to humanity.

Posted by: David at May 6, 2010 04:57 PM
In short, NO is a poster child for the evil that big government does to humanity.

Like the evil it's currently doing trying to save the entire gulf coast? Or the evil of the roads? Or the evil of the police, fire, national guard? that kind of evil?

Seems the gubmint is evil until you need something, then suddenly it's responsible for everything...

Posted by: t4toby at May 6, 2010 05:12 PM


I think given extremely similar circumstances, the same 'population' you are referring to is capable of the exact same response. Whether it is Los Angeles, Oakland, New York or any other city with a large segment of the 'population' you hint at. Again Yankee attacks the entire city and its people and by reference the entire metropolitan area and does not distinguish that the large majority of the population does and has taken care of itself. The generalization is his error!

Posted by: DwnSth at May 6, 2010 07:20 PM

"In fact, I have often thought it inhabited by space aliens."

As a side note, I once listened bemusedly to an NPR commentator praise New Orleans precisely because it was so pathologically dysfunctional.

Posted by: pst314 at May 6, 2010 07:52 PM

Today I was tired when I woke up. But I got out of bed anyway and went to work.

This proves that I am awesome and everybody in New Orleans has no character. Or something.

Posted by: Joe Bauers at May 6, 2010 09:01 PM

The whole rebuilding of NOLA makes me wonder what would have happened had Katrina *actually hit* the city. The brunt of the hurricane impact was in Mississippi. Therefore, the whole "apples and oranges" argument some are making here is bogus. The effect of broken levees vs. 500 year flooding and the quantifiable affected area of each may be compared and contrasted, but they are certainly analogous.

Posted by: Shwiggie at May 6, 2010 11:02 PM

Exactly. For example, while government, businesses and schools were disrupted in New Orleans for months by the flooding there, I am going home to Nashville this weekend for a college graduation--they were only obliged to reschedule one day of final exams. This is clearly a sign of the superior moral fiber of Tennesseans, because the two natural disasters were otherwise exactly the same.

Posted by: Bosola at May 7, 2010 01:46 AM

Item: Nashville floods knock out city’s beer distributors (

“The waters that spilled over the Cumberland River’s banks shut down — temporarily — all three of Nashville’s beer distributors…the shutdown has led to few empty coolers in the city’s supermarkets and gas stations, and the industry says delivery trucks should be back on the road before beer stocks run low.”

Do you see what we’re talking about here, people? There is still a serious risk that local _beer supplies_ might run low before normal distribution is restored. I know for a fact that white people in New Orleans were able to “find” (and blacks were able to “loot”) plenty of beer there, even in the worst days of their piddly little so-called “flood.”

Posted by: Bosola at May 7, 2010 02:13 AM

I like how these people whine about "big government" when also whining about Nashville and Tennessee and the Conservative welfare state that it has become. If you don't like "big government" than clean up your own damn mess and don't touch my tax dollars that funded FEMA. David, go to Nashville and grab a mop and make sure you tell them people to leave Liberal "big government" entitlement programs like FEMA and National Guard disaster response teams alone. Make sure you tell them "big government" Army Corps of engineers that the "Tea-partiers will take care of this mess" and tell "big government" to go on home so us Liberals don't have to waste our tax dollars on you ungrateful spoiled rotten brats. Hate "big government" so much, grab a mop and get off my tit!

Posted by: Syntax_game at May 7, 2010 03:39 AM

Oh and David, when you're done cleaning up Nashville like a good little small government patriot who takes care of himself, you want to head on over to Louisiana and tell that "secessionists", Bobby Jindal, Haley Barbour and the Louisiana and Mississippi "Tea-partiers" to stop sucking on the tit of every Liberal disaster response program they can find and just clean up their oil? I mean, where are all the Tea-partiers who hate "big government" helping the secession states in cleaning up their mess. Why is it these secessionists always whine and snivel to "big government" whenever there is a crisis of some sort? Where is Palin, Bachmann, Beck, Limbaugh and the rest of to help these small government lobbyists to help in this crisis so "big government" don't have to be bothered helping those who don't appreciate it unless they need it and then MY taxes have to pay for these ungrateful bastards.

Posted by: Syntax_game at May 7, 2010 03:46 AM

Syntax_game, are you giving back my tax dollars before you start insisting on how yours can be spent?

Here's the think about Nashville and Tennesseans: They're not victims. They pull together and get to work. Oh, and there's a damned lot of them that are people "of color". God Bless 'em all.

Yes, read Whittle's Tribes if you don't get it.

Posted by: Pablo at May 7, 2010 08:54 AM

Frankly, I think these strong folks should tell the good ole' federal government that they don't need the money the two republican senators are asking for:

That will show them weaklings in New Orleans by God!

Posted by: Scratch at May 7, 2010 12:51 PM

In your first post, I was confused until I realized that you were really serious about the roads and other things that the great government has supplied us. Do you really want to hold up those entities as examples of good government? If so, I really don't think you know what you are talking about. Of the whole rant, lets take roads. I have a good friend that builds the roads. He built I49. Now the problem is that I49 which was built 10 years ago is falling apart. I asked him about that and he said that was so. That they had told the Federal engineers that their plan of construction would not work in Louisiana. But they said that was the specs and the build it anyhow. So they did, and now it is a mess and will have to be rebuilt. And no, it was not his fault as he has not been brought on charges. Your other examples have similar problems if you scratch the surface.

Now, lets take disaster response. I am flat out against it. In fact, I think it is a joke. I would guess that if the Federals were not in the way, then the oil spill would have been corrected days ago. Are you aware that BP is a government company? That right, it is partly owned and run by the British. They have a terrible safety record. As to Tenn, it would be useless to go help now. That is because the government is there in the way. With Katrina, Fish and Wildlife was stopping people with private boats from going to rescue people as they did not have enough life preservers. That is one small aspect, the rest was pure government stupidity. I know as I was around.

Big government is bad. It has not been our friend and is often our enemy.

Posted by: David at May 7, 2010 01:52 PM

Um, you know that the mayor of Nashville is a Democrat, right?

Posted by: Lou Vuoto at May 7, 2010 03:54 PM

Scratch, if the Feds want to stop stealing it in the first place, we can talk. until then FOAD.

Posted by: SDN at May 7, 2010 04:27 PM

Both LA and TN, like most Red states, get more Federal dollars back than they pay out so do be too quick to talk about the Feds taking your money.

Posted by: Jim at May 7, 2010 04:34 PM

How about this, let us break away and form our own country. That is what we wanted to do and you jerks stopped us. Your statement makes no sense at all, by the way. Simply beacause we have a large number of people sitting on the asses here does not mean that the working among us feel that we should pay a significant amount of taxes. Besides, I can assure you that our politicians are the ones carrying off the money. Not the working man.

Posted by: David at May 7, 2010 07:59 PM

I live here, and you don't know what you are talking about. First and foremost, the level of destruction is not comparable. NO was basically destroyed - on the other hand, plenty of folks in Nashville weren't affected at all. Seriously, you have no idea what you are talking about.

Posted by: Theron at May 7, 2010 08:42 PM

David, how 'bout we don't. I'm Southern and actually proud to be an American and happy that the single greatest act of treason against my country failed. :) I'm sorry that you don't love your country. ;)

Posted by: Theron at May 7, 2010 09:59 PM

No theron, you are not Southern. You may live in the South. But, no, you are not of the South.

Posted by: David at May 8, 2010 09:47 AM


That's rich. An admitted apologist for treason telling me if I'm a true Southerner or not. You do know there's a long history of dissent and radicalism in the South, or did you think it's all authoritarian anti-patriots all the time? I'm proud of my home, and not you or anyone else will be running me out. Enjoy!

Posted by: Theron at May 9, 2010 12:44 AM

Theron: Too bad about no one running you out. Your support of the sticky-fingered subversive seditionists in the democrat party makes you a first order disgrace - not only to the South, but even more so to America as a whole. The title "Traitor" fits you to a "T" komrade rimmer.

So. Gratuitous insult returned. Now, get off your parasite backside, and copy/paste the inevitable pre-recorded, infantile Progressive nya-nyas. JUMP NOW, you fool.

Posted by: CFM at May 10, 2010 09:10 PM

Yes, I saw the video when it first came out; I was irked by the righteous indignation. Bad things happen to good people but spare me the Daniel Boone self-imagery.

Posted by: Steve Schwab at May 11, 2010 06:53 AM