Natural disasters and the police protected government monopoly on helping people.Submitted by fiodax on Tue, 05/21/2013 - 23:02
The recent tragic tornado in Oklahoma has resulted in a police lock down of the affected area. Of course the justification is to protect the public and first responders and to help keep looters away, and that is all good as far as it goes. However, the police here are going so far as to identify and badge every person who will enter the "restricted zones", and only allowing access to people there on "official" business. This kind of police protection does more than it's stated intent.
There is an unintended consequence (at least I hope it is unintended) of the police lock down of a disaster site to allow only official workers to aid in the relief. It magnifies the legitimacy of the state, it creates an artificial highlight of our dependency upon them. When realistically, especially considering the technology available to us, we could identify needs, direct resources, and rebuild our own neighborhoods much more efficiently and effectively and with a greater sense of purpose on our own.
As I watch the politicians literally line up to take the microphone, from the President down to the city council, they consume the political capital that the disaster has provided, pointing to their agents who are working hard to rescue, protect and recover, of course all under the brilliant leadership of the current administration. The police protection of the disaster site ensures that no competing do-gooders, such as neighbors or family or friends, will enter the area and break the monopoly of care the state has secured upon this disaster.
I appreciate the first responders. I really do. And I know they are professionals who are trained and equipped to do an excellent job rescuing our friends and neighbors. However, I can't help but to wonder, when we are denied access, even scolded to stay away from the disaster site, even though we might not do it right, I wonder if we really aren't missing out on an important part of life and community, where we help each other, face to face, in a non official capacity, just because we really want to.
I think it's worth reminding the victims of a disaster, such as the one in Moore, that if the recovery effort hasn't made it to you, or if the supplies you need haven't found their way to your neighborhood, or if you're having trouble finding the decision maker in your area in charge of delivering the help you need, you don't have to wait for the government. Just get the word out, and the wonder of modern technology will call the people and resources to custom meet the need you have where you are. If you need the state's help after that, then you'll know exactly what to ask for.
We don't have to ask permission to help each other, we just have to get the word out!
Well, that is if the police will let us past the barricade.