Many years ago, shortly after the attacks of September 11th, I heard a report on npr. It mentioned the loss of life and property in 2001. There was an incredible loss of life and property in the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. But it mentioned that if a category 5 hurricane were to hit New Orleans, that there would be increased loss of life and property. The reporting specifically mentioned the levees and the poor state they were in.
What the report was attempting to do was to put tragedy into perspective.
And then some years later, in 2005, hurricane Katrina hit close to New Orleans.
I will simply never understand why it takes a crisis for our country to act. And it's not just the government, businesses are the same way. Certain oil companies skimp on quality and safety measures, and skip the reviews of their vendors and contractors (to make sure they are following safety and quality). And then a well blow out happens.
I think it's just a part of our current culture. Most of the time, people will try and cut back - to not spend money if they don't have to. Things don't have to be ideal - but it seems to me that maintenance and infrastructure are an investment.
It is a difficult line to draw - and there is a big difference between necessary improvements and waste. But it makes me angry that we knew the devastation of a hurricane like Katrina was possible and we chose to let it happen. We can't figure out the probability of every disaster. But there has got to be a way to invest and prioritize.