Disasters and Dumb-Asses: A Bad Combination

Having lived through the worst hurricane to hit my state in more than a century, I feel qualified to make a few statements on things which are happening in the world around you and me. Let me start by stating that as bad as things were in Howell...


Folks my town does not need any more sound bites and press conferences. It does not need a visit from the governor or the president. It needs funding in order to be able to fix all of the bridges which were attacked by the flood waters. The same holds true all over the map here in New Jersey. Let me also suggest that the same holds true in any state where the citizens are struggling to get on with the living of their lives. We get visits from politicians when what we really need is a rapid infusion of capital.

Let us now look to another source of annoyance. I also want you to think about the rants and raves of that infamous father and son team known as the Paul family. Talk about the danger of having people in positions of power without a clue as to the reality of life in these here United States; wow what a couple of losers. They think the federal government has no place in the world of disaster relief. They also want to cut funding for FEMA.

Ron and Rand are the people who seemingly believe that we should all return to the "good" old days when it was "every man for themselves" when disaster struck. These are the sorts of people who would rather that you and I float down the river and out to sea than spend a single, red cent to help us, or at least that is how I read the bovine by-products which they are dishing out to the media.

Are you kidding me? From where do we dredge up dopes like this? Now given that many on our federal government are more interested in ideology than humanity, let me turn for a moment to one microcosm of what makes up America: my fire district here in Howell Township, NJ. Let me share one small segment of the human experience with you.

Let me now share one man's view of this great storm tragedy with you. There is nothing special in my story, for you see it is but one of many similar tales which could be shared with you. However, it happens to be the one which my firefighter daughter Katie and I lived over the course of the last week or so. Katie and I worked together for many hours gathering the data for the reports, until she was sent out on the rescue truck to assist with the flood evacuations at one of our hardest hit developments.

In order to properly set the story I want to share with you the fact that our area here in New Jersey has been pounded by a series of storms this summer dating back to late July. It was at one of these storms that a pumper from our fire company suffered a heavy dose of damage when a pine tree struck the right front end of the unit during a Friday night storm. Luckily for us, all the members onboard the pumper were wearing their turnout gear, and all were seated and buckled. So we entered August light a pumper unit.

My friends, the past two weeks have been particularly rough for those of us who live along the right coast of our great nation. Although Hurricane Irene hogged the headlines for the last several days, the problems which we have been experiencing here in my humble little fire district actually went back to the week before the damage done by that devastating dame, Irene.

Our share of the Garden State got smacked by a series of three back-to-back thunderstorms on the Sunday before the hurricane. Here in my little part of the world, we saw flooding unlike any ever seen in my lifetime spent in the Greater Freehold area. I know there were three because I enjoyed a cigar on the front porch during each of them. However, I knew there was going to be a problem when the rain from the third storm just kept right on a coming and my gutters kept overflowing.

By the time the night was over, we had responded to a whole host of the usual wires down, trees down, and transformer fires one would expect during a hard thunder storm. However, we were not prepared for the major flooding which tore through one of our developments. People were being evacuated ahead of the flooding Manasquan River and the Adelphia Fire Company was in there pitching hard to help out.

Our guys were called upon to rescue a number of people from various precarious positions. In addition, we had major flooding on U.S. Highway 9 unlike any we had ever witnessed before. However, the power outages were limited and electricity was quickly restored. Just as the citizens of our district were beginning to get back to some form of normal, Hurricane Irene began rumbling up the East Coast on her mission to make our lives more miserable.