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Katrina and Free Speech: Making the Connection

I just found this riveting counter-conventional wisdom discussion of the Katrina rescue efforts by Lou Dolinar. It illustrates what I call the "Flight 93" approach to problem-solving: Get off your tuchus and act, don't sit around waiting for some distant group to rescue you. As the story shows, this applies to members of the government themselves, who acted well on their own initiative. Dolinar writes:
Largely ignored by the agenda-driven national media, one of the largest rescue operations in history saved more than 50,000 people by boat and helicopter. In this Dunkirk on the Mississippi, Coast Guard and other military units, volunteers, and state and local first responders delivered thousands from death by drowning, dehydration, heatstroke, fire, starvation, and disease. The three goats of Katrina — FEMA’s Michael Brown, Gov. Kathleen Blanco, and Mayor Nagin — had little if any role; in fact, because local communication was wiped out by the storm, they may not even have known about the scale and success of the rescue operation.

I thought about Dolinar's article in light of yesterday's pro-free speech rally in New York. About 100 people showed up in a city full of supposed free-speech enthusiasts. Islamists can draw hundreds or more for their events, along with mainstream media eagerly waiting for the wild men to go berserk and threaten slaughter (and they always put on a bloody good show for the thrill-seeking media).

I felt sad, but not surprised, that New York couldn't draw more people. That's the nature of public protest in New York. A quarter-million showed up for the August 2004 anti-war rally in New York; maybe 250 lent support to a Darfur rally in New York just two weeks later.

Numbers count, but so do devotion, consistency, and determination to act in the face of overwhelming indifference. One boat, one voice, one call of "let's roll:" let enough individuals find one another -- as we did yesterday -- and resolve for a common purpose, and the results will follow.

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