The Government's Lack Of Preparedness For Hurricane Harvey Is Inexcusable

The Government's Lack Of Preparedness For Hurricane Harvey Is Inexcusable

We've known for years that Houston was due for a massive storm and yet we did nothing.
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In March, 2016, independent journalism organization ProPublica ran a story in conjunction with Texas Tribune entitled "Hell and High Water" about the state of hurricane preparedness in Texas, and especially in Houston.

The article was heavily researched and included quotes from interviews with public officials from both parties, scientists, businessmen and women, heads of agencies, and other experts. It was focused around Hurricane Ike, which hit in 2008, the potential for a much stronger and worse hurricane than even Ike (which caused the third most damage in US history behind Katrina and Sandy), and the city and state's total lack of preparation and preparedness since Ike hit.

I stumbled upon this article just a few days ago while reading a "Best of 2016 Journalism" list compiled by Conor Friedersdorf at The Atlantic, and was shocked and appalled. I was incredulous at a city and a state's total unwillingness to do something, anything to prepare for something they knew was coming.

In the article, Phil Bedient, the co-director of the Storm Surge Prediction, Education, and Evacuation from Disasters Center was quoted as saying, "We're sitting ducks. We've done nothing. We've done nothing to shore up the coastline, to add resiliency...to do anything."

Later in the article, the authors note, "Six count executives formed a coalition in 2010 to study the issue, but for years it had no funding to do so."

Look, I know that no amount of preparation, preparedness, or precaution could have totally prevented the disaster that Hurricane Harvey is and will continue to be for so many people whose homes and lives have been wrecked. I know that natural disasters are not preventable and that no matter how much preparation Houston could have done, there still would have been massive damages and costs on both an economic and human level. But we could have done so much better.

Seemingly everyone in both the scientific and political community knew that Houston and the state of Texas were at great risk of a dangerously large storm hitting sometime in the foreseeable future and, yet, they did practically nothing.

There has been much politicizing--for better or worse--of certain aspects of this storm, but this lack of regard for the risk to people in communities now devastated by Hurricane Harvey knows no political party. Both Democrats and Republicans alike are to blame for the government's inexcusable lack of action and preparation.

The fact that we knew that this was coming, that we knew the risks of people losing their homes and their lives, that we knew whole communities would be crippled and devastated possibly beyond prepare, that we knew and we did absolutely nothing to try to alleviate the inevitable pain and suffering this storm would cause makes me sick.

America is supposed to be a great country, a country whose government cares for and about its citizens. In Houston, this vision of America failed.

Cover Image Credit: Flickr

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5 Perks Of Having A Long-Distance Best Friend

The best kind of long-distance relationship.
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Sometimes, people get annoyed when girls refer to multiple people as their "best friend," but they don't understand. We have different types of best friends. There's the going out together best friend, the see each other everyday best friend and the constant, low maintenance best friend.

While I'm lucky enough to have two out of the three at the same school as me, my "low maintenance" best friend goes to college six hours from Baton Rouge.

This type of friend is special because no matter how long you go without talking or seeing each other, you're always insanely close. Even though I miss her daily, having a long-distance best friend has its perks. Here are just a few of them...

1. Getting to see each other is a special event.

Sometimes when you see someone all the time, you take that person and their friendship for granted. When you don't get to see one of your favorite people very often, the times when you're together are truly appreciated.

2. You always have someone to give unbiased advice.

This person knows you best, but they probably don't know the people you're telling them about, so they can give you better advice than anyone else.

3. You always have someone to text and FaceTime.

While there may be hundreds of miles between you, they're also just a phone call away. You know they'll always be there for you even when they can't physically be there.

4. You can plan fun trips to visit each other.

When you can visit each other, you get to meet the people you've heard so much about and experience all the places they love. You get to have your own college experience and, sometimes, theirs, too.

5. You know they will always be a part of your life.

If you can survive going to school in different states, you've both proven that your friendship will last forever. You both care enough to make time for the other in the midst of exams, social events, and homework.

The long-distance best friend is a forever friend. While I wish I could see mine more, I wouldn't trade her for anything.

Cover Image Credit: Just For Laughs-Chicago

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That One Time I May Have Shot An Ex-Police Officer

Yeah, you heard me.

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In England, we don't really have guns, maybe hunting guns but I think it's pretty rare. Anyway, point is, barely any guns. I have never seen a gun, shot a gun, I don't even know anybody that owns a gun so as an exchange student in Oklahoma it's a novelty to visit a gun range.

I was pretty nervous about shooting but the instructor was super nice and told us how to hold the gun and load it before we went into the range. He also let us ask any questions we had about guns and explained the process of getting a gun in Oklahoma and he said he had visited Europe and was talking about England, and how he used to be a cop and opened his own gun shop. Basically a really really nice guy, which honestly makes harming him ten times worse.

We went into the range and we were shooting a 22 caliber and another guy at the range, I'm assuming a regular, asked if we wanted to fire his revolver so of course, we said yes.

This gun was definitely heavier and the trigger was super hard to pull but he kept his hand on the gun whilst I struggled with the trigger and then I fired it.

I heard a bang and I heard a yell.

I turned around and he was holding his thumb and there was blood dripping onto the floor. At this point, I thought I had shot him, so you can imagine the sheer level of panic that I was feeling.

The color drained from my face and I was frozen solid and all I could say was, "are you okay?" which was answered with a "Ma'am, put the gun down."

Basically, I'm freaking out and I look over at the lads for some form of reassurance, which was met with them looking equally as freaked out as me. So I asked,

"Do we need to call someone?"

"Yep. We are definitely gonna have to call someone"

So at this point, my nerves were shattered and I had no idea what was going on or what the procedure is for this sort of thing. I mean, the guy also took it like a champ and barely even winced and kept repeating "little lady, you're fine" – safe to say I did not feel fine nor did the situation, in my eyes, look at all fine.

Luckily the regulars knew what to do and took him to the ER so we were left in the store with another regular shooter.

Everyone else went back out to shoot but I didn't feel like assaulting/ shooting/ potentially murdering anyone else so I decided to sit this round out and talk to the woman that stayed with us and he called and said it wasn't me, something came off the bullet or gun and went into his hand- so no I didn't actually shoot him and he was going to be okay.

The point of this now very funny story is that whilst guns are cool they're also pretty dangerous.

I have no idea how someone can participate in these mass shootings because I didn't even shoot someone, only thought I did, and it was probably the most terrifying moment of my life.

So, if you are around guns, have fun, be safe and try not to send your instructor to the ER.

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