Posts Tagged ‘Disaster Emotions’

Not Again!

Monday, April 27th, 2009
An Unwelcome Visitor

An Unwelcome Visitor

In Prepare for the Worst, Plan for the Best: Disaster Preparedness and Recovery for Small Businesses (John Wiley & Sons Inc., second edition, 2008), I wrote (page 190) that “the residents {of Lower Manhattan} who heard the planes crash into the towers were especially sensitive to loud noises. I remember being woken up at 3:30 a.m. one morning by a pair of F-16 planes overhead. As it turns out, the planes were not supposed to fly that route at that hour. The pilots presumably did not appreciate that the residents of Lower Manhattan were probably sleep-deprived and hyper-alert to such sounds. Having spent some time with small businesses on the Gulf Coast, I can tell you that they are going through exactly the same process.” Today, the White House organized a photo opportunity that consisted of a military aircraft chasing a civilian aircraft over the airspace of Lower Manhattan, directly in the vicinity of Ground Zero. You can imagine the reaction that was provoked by that abuse. The White House claims that New York City authorities were given advance notice of this planned exercise, presumably implying that local authorities were responsible for the anxiety that ensued. My colleague photographed the planes with his cell phone, which is the first photograph on this blog entry. The second photograph shows a group of Dow Jones employees, nearly all of whom worked in the World Financial Center on 9-11, outside their office building when a mandatory evacuation had been ordered.



The context of the quote from my book concerns the emotional reactions to disasters, sometimes years after the original event, which is something you have to anticipate. One of my colleagues said it best in an e-mail he sent to our group, so I will quote him directly “The fact that the White House could not be bothered to let the New York authorities know that there would be A FIGHTER JET CHASING A PLANE! AROUND LOWER MANHATTAN really makes me wonder who is keeping Gotham safe when something actually happens. I am sufficiently enraged that I will be communicating in ALL CAPS for the rest of the day.” So I think you get the point about emotions. Actually, all Americans should be angry about this, not just those of us in Lower Manhattan who were subject to more abuse. The White House has some explaining to do as to why taxpayer monies were spent on this “photo op”. Don’t we have an unemployment rate approaching 10%? Haven’t our as yet unborn grandchildren been sold as indentured servants to our foreign creditors? It is not like we have money to burn.