Just Sayin’ …Harvey’s wrath—More must be done to keep people out of harm’s way (Ulish Carter's Column Aug. 30, 2017)

ULISH CARTER

I watched the destruction of Hurricane/Tropical Storm Harvey in southern Texas by many of the networks as hundreds of people were rescued.
But what really has me baffled is why so many people were still in their homes after storm warnings?
I live in Pittsburgh, yet via CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News I learned two to three weeks in advance that this was going to be possibly the worst tropical storm/hurricane in history and that all people should leave just about all of southern Texas, including Houston. The forecasters predicted it would be a level 4 storm, the worst in modern history. Yet, thousands of people, including elderly people and homes for the elderly, chose to stay. Why? You can replace a home, you can’t replace a life.
I saw all the water damage and all the storm damage and I watched some of the rescued people say they didn’t think it was going to be that bad. What were they thinking? Didn’t these people watch the news and the warnings? One man was so old he could barely move, and his wife had Alzheimer’s and only got rescued because their daughter called out to a CNN staffer traveling in a boat covering the area. They were headed back when they heard her call. The daughter was staying with them overnight to make sure they were alright, but why didn’t she simply take them to her home away from Houston or southern Texas where everybody knew the Hurricane was going to hit? What could she do? She could holler for help.
Everyone rescued said the water rose so fast they didn’t know what to do. Yeah, that’s what water does in a regular flood, so just think of how fast and how much in a Level 4 or 5 storm.
I only heard and saw the results of the first half of the storm, it’s to last for two weeks which will be until the end of this week. Then officials will be able to figure out just how much and how long it will take to get these cities and towns back functioning, because the second week is feared to be even worse than the first.
It should be mandatory that people evacuate these areas when there are storms. If there are no laws, then create a federal law that people, especially elderly, be taken to shelters by officials or relatives or friends. Because so many unnecessary lives were lost in Hurricane Katrina, there shouldn’t be any lost in this one. Even one life is one too many, when everyone should have been evacuated from these towns and cities ahead of time, and officials should have made sure. The senior citizens home where people in wheelchairs were sitting in water up to their butts was terrible. The home should be charged with endangering seniors and put on probation.
Pittsburgh rallies against hate
Kudos goes out to the organizations and people in Pittsburgh who sponsored the rallies and marches last weekend (Aug. 18-19). In Homewood, at the corner of N. Homewood Avenue and Bennett Street, it was the corner of love, not hate, peace not violence, according to a front-page story in the Courier. The sponsors were a group called Black Brilliance Collective, who said they wanted to have a group that countered White hate groups.
Hopefully 4-year-old Amenah Tucker will feel the same about love over hate when she’s 40.
Another small rally was held in McKeesport (Aug. 26) to try to bring a halt to the violence in that city which has moved it to the number two spot behind a much-larger Pittsburgh in homicides.
Reverend Christine Pope Portis, pastor at True Vine Ministries, told Courier reporter Christian Morrow that the homicide rate is unacceptable and she is making sure the community knows how she feels.
“Every Thursday we have prayed on specific street corners for people who’ve lost someone to violence in the streets, and we’re going to hit every corner in the city,” she said. On Aug. 26 she did it at the intersection of 6th Avenue and Market Street in front of her church.
“I have members of our congregation who’ve lost children and I’m tired of it,” she said.
Pittsburgh probably has more anti-violence groups, with more rallies than any other city per population. Hopefully it will eventually have an effect on the number of homicides.
One homicide is one too many.
The debate on statues
I agree that the Civil War statues must go, but I also agree with Rev. Andrew Young and Courier columnist Louis “Hop” Kendrick, that we need to concentrate on jobs and education. Elimination of the statues will get us neither.
Kendrick has spoken out against racism for years in Pittsburgh, and Young, who was among Dr. Martin Luther King’s inner-circle during the ‘60s, spoke on CNN.
(Ulish Carter is the former managing editor of the New Pittsburgh Courier.)
 
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