Originally Posted by redneckrob
Most of the "really bad things" related to breakdown of society style stuff happened immediately during and after Katrina. Didn't happen that way in NYC
. I was involved in the Coast Guard response to both, well aware of the differences. If you were still there 6 months later it was because you had nowhere else to go or chose to stay, we were offering free rides out on helicopters on day 1 as long as you were willing to wait on your roof
Bottom line is that you can't extrapolate the human response to a disaster before hand based on past disasters except to plan for the lowest common denominator, which we did a lot of in the Coast Guard. Of course we kind of had the opposite mentality of this thread, we were running to while you all are running away!
Actually, I was federal law enforcement, so I wasn't running away, either. And, while you guys got to see things from the air, some of us got to see them from ground level, and from helicopters. It was not the same perspective, although I was surprised how bad New Orleans
still smelled at 2500 feet after a few days (imagine what it was like one the ground, standing next to very dead bodies, a lot of whom weren't even identifiable as bodies until you were right on top of them, because of the rapid decomposition).
We had one house we searched three times, before we found the woman we were looking for, lying on the couch, that she had become part of by this time (almost a month later).
Worst story, wasn't one of mine, but one of my best friend's. My agency was using small boats to pick people up from rooftops and high ground. I ran into him back at our base, and he simply looked shattered.
He and a National Guardsman were trying to get a guy into their boat
who had become delirious and kept wading away from them in the putrid, stinking, crap filled water
. They kept paddling after him, and finally he went under. The National Guardsmen dove into the water
after him (which was one of the most amazing acts I heard the whole time) and pulled him out and they pulled him into the boat
and then saw that he was dead, and they couldn't revive him. The poor guy came so close to getting rescued, and didn't make it. That's the kind of stuff that was happening on the ground.
And, like the most accurate way to gauge a location's crime rate is to look at homicides, (because it's pretty hard to fudge or relabel a dead body as anything else), the number of people killed in a disaster, is a pretty good way to judge it's severity.
I think the worst thing for me, was knowing now, that people who assume that civilization will continue to run normally in a real large scale catastrophe, despite all of their sincere belief, (and, at one time, I was probably one of them) just simply don't know what they are talking about. If it does stay normal, you're lucky.
I sure don't want to go through another one. It took me too long to recover mentally from the last one (if I ever did).