Higher ground…

With the Mississippi on the way up, I wouldn’t say we’re necessarily abandoning our position in West Tennessee, but we are making preparations for a tactical retrograde to positions on higher ground. If flooding along the Mississippi and its tributaries gets somewhere in the vicinity of the worst case scenario, my office will be at least partially underwater, roads and bridges leading to the base will be impassable, and there’s some disagreement about whether entire swaths of the county could see their power turned off for 1-2 weeks. That last part begs the question, who in their right mind builds the main electrical distribution panel for a city on the wrong side of the levee? Yes, I’m looking at you MLGW.

Looking at the FEMA flood maps, I can’t foresee any circumstances where the house would be in any direct danger from flooding, aside from the possibility of stormdrain and sewer backup – there’s a happy thought. The biggest risk for me seems to be the possibility of multiple days with no electricity. In the grand scheme of bad things than can happen, I know that being without power isn’t even close to the worst of it. However, if you’re a dedicated technophile, being without the juice even for a few hours can be cause for developing nervous tics. A week or more? That’s enough to fill your heart with dread.

Being forewarned, as they say, is being forearmed and plans are being put in place that would give me the opportunity to pull up stakes temporarily until something approaching a civilized level of public services have been restored. Assuming that the word is going to come down making this a reality the real questions then becomes – When and for how long? If it looks like a situation that will last more than a few days, the logical answer is to pack up the truck and head east. Sure, I could get a hotel alot closer, but the thought of spending an indeterminate amount of time in a hotel room with two 80 pound dogs doesn’t seem ideal. Then again, leaving the house undefended in a city like Memphis, with no electricity (and therefore no alarm), and hoping it hasn’t been looted and pillaged while I’ve been away doesn’t sound appealing either. For some reason, I don’t think the fine citizens of Memphis would respond to natural disaster any better than those of New Orleans did.

I plan to stay in place as long as I have two things: electricity and an open escape route to the east. When either one of those things seem to be in danger of going away, then I’ll be in the wind and headed for high ground.

Appropriate areas of federal responsibility… or not so much.

Beginning this year, the evacuation of pets during declared emergencies will be a national priority for the United States government. That’s right, ladies and gentlemen, Fluffy, Fido, and Aunt Gurtie’s pet python Stretch will be evacuated right along with Ma and Pa Dipshit who were too stubborn to get out of the way of the next hurricane.

Evacuating people, of course, I’ll buy off on that as a legitimate responsibility of government. Preservation of life is precisely one of the major tenants of the social contract that makes government legitimate. And while I know Fluffy, Fido, and Stretch are “like members of the family,” a quick review of your high school biology (that’s right, the good old kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus and species definitions), you’ll quickly be able to determine that they are not, in fact, a member of your family. They are pets and some of them are even downright loveable, but getting them out of harm’s ways is not a legitimate responsibility of the federal government (i.e. your fellow citizens). Ensuring the safety of your family (and your pets) is by in large a personal responsibility. I’m not entirely sure where we lost the thread of individualism in this country, but those of you sitting back, waiting for big daddy government to drive with a horse trailer and travel kennels to do what you should have done are appalling… and downright un-American.