1. #1
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    Sep 2004

    Default Dennis Smith's Article

    I was disgusted by Smith's comments regarding the lack of mitigation efforts by FEMA prior to Katrina. It seems Smith is following the N. O. mayor and other LA official's lead by blaming all of the Katrina problems on the feds to divert attention from their own failures and possibly in hopes of future political gains.

    I see a massive display of support and relief effort for the Katrina victims, just as I saw for the victims of 911.

    Smith seems more than willing to dissmiss all local responsibility with a true welfare dependency attitude which is in total contrast to the leadership we saw from the Mayor of NY post 911.

    I would like to see Mr. Smith address several issues including: When did President Bush issue an emergency declaration for N. O.? When did the Mayor declare a mandatory evacuation? When did the governor of LA activate the LA National Guard? Where was the NOPD and why were they too busy looting for themselves rather than protecting and serving (read doing their jobs)? Why were there hundreds of city and public school busses covered water in N. O. when thousands of victims were f"orced" to remain because they were too poor to have the means to evacuate.

    Please don't misunderstand, I support the relief effort 100%. But. I can't help but to feel a large part of the problems we now face are a direct result of a lack of self reliance and personal responcibility that has been fostered by years of dependancy on a welfare state and the associated mentality it breeds.

    I'm glad I read Report From Engine Co. 82 while I was too young to notice political attitudes. I suppose Mr. Smith will defend the NY fire & police union's withholding and delaying the distribution of funds donated to the families and survivors of the 911 Heroes as ardently as his condemnation of Feds' reponse to Katrina.

  2. #2

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    Jun 2006


    Forwarded Reply from Dennis Smith:

    Normally I would not respond to someone who has misread or distorted my writing, but this response is so insensitive in the wake of the thousands who have perished that it should be replied to. No one is more independent of mind or committed to individual responsibility than I, and my list of who might be within the chain of responsibility for the mismanagement in New Orleans is quite long, and at every level of government. We should hold these observations until those who perished are recovered. As to the personal attack, it is pretty mean-spirited in the midst of a serious issue.

    Dennis Smith

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    Feb 2001
    Illinois-where pertnear is close enough!


    I have nothing but great admiration and a profound respect for Dennis Smith. No one has researched their topic more and poured more passion into what they write than Dennis Smith. You don't "read" his books; you are mesmerized by them.
    I haven't always agreed with everything that he writes, but then, he encourages the reader to draw their own conclusions.
    And he is probably more surprised than anyone to find out that he has political aspirations. The climate right now in the Gulf Coast is politically charged, but I doubt that ANYONE-yes, anyone-is motivated purely by the prospects of seeking election or getting re-elected.
    I wish that we COULD go about the business of providing rescue/recovery/relocation for the Gulf Coast citizens without playing the "blame game", but unfortunately, that started with the first interview of the Mayor Nagins. And has continued ever since. The most recent volley comes from Senator Hillary Clinton.
    Blame is not going to improve anyone's condition from this terrible tragedy. It's too late to ask "what did they know" and "when did they know it".
    But it's not too late for Americans to help Americans. It's not too late to make a humane effort to lift the human spirit.
    The ones needing the help far out-number those who just stand there and criticize.
    And in my mind, Dennis Smith was offering his insight and not criticism.
    Perhaps there was confusion.
    Visit www.iacoj.com
    Remember Bradley Golden (9/25/01)
    RIP HOF Robert J. Compton(ENG6511)

  4. #4
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    Sep 2004

    Default Reply to Dennis Smith

    Mr. Smith,

    Upon reading your reply, I feel we agree on more points of this issue than we disagree. My post was not intended to be a personal attack on you, nor was it intended to distort your views or writings.

    When I read your article, I acknowledged your mention of a failure of the system at the local level in New Orleans; however I could not help to feel that the Federal Government’s failures were the focal point of the article. The purpose of my post was to simply pose the rhetorical question, “What purpose would additional federally supplied resources have served when local officials failed to fully utilize the resources that were available?”

    I am not claiming the Federal response to this is without fault. The people representing the Federal Government and the Local Entities involved are just that, people. People are human and humans regularly make mistakes, as evidenced by debriefings after typical structure fires and other minor, routine responses. It would be ludicrous to believe the response to a disaster of this magnitude would have no room for constructive critique and evaluation.

    Only a fool will ignore the opportunity to learn from the experiences of others. Luckily, in the Fire Service we have the tool known as “Lessons Learned”. I am certain that the lessons learned from this event will be published in volumes, not pages. I am also certain that no problem will be solved without first being honestly assessed. To many, perception is reality. It is my concern that if one’s perception of an event is prejudiced by partial information, they will fail to accept the whole truth, thereby diminishing the value of the lessons learned from the event.

    Further more, I never intended to insinuate any political aspirations on your part. Sadly, the lowest form of politicians will try to exploit any tragedy for personal gain. You speak with far greater authority and credibility than I, and there can by no denial that parts of your article could be cited by those that would place their own aspirations above the welfare of the victims of this tragedy for personal gain.

    Lastly, if my calling of a spade a spade as I see it, or my posting of a message that challenges or disagrees your position results in you viewing me as being mean spirited and insensitive, that is your prerogative. My heart goes out to the victims of this devastation, just as it did for the victims of 9/11. I have nothing but the utmost respect for the men and women that are doing everything they can do to lesson the severity of this unprecedented tragedy. I also have nothing but scorn, and indignation for anyone that would exploit the situation for personal gain or in any way hinder the relief effort.

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