Tuesday, September 06, 2005

On Private Relief Efforts

Two emails have arrived in my inbox in the past 24 hours about people who just can't sit idly by any longer and are therefore driving to the Gulf Coast to offer what aid they can fit in their cars.

This is noble and well-meaning, but also likely incredibly foolish. If one volunteers via an established organization (and from what I've heard from my father and grandfather, both war veterans, the Red Cross really ain't all that, but you choose your own charities), then more power to you. If you're a doctor, a search specialist, or some kind of expert in a needed field and can do it, get thee to LA, MS, etc.

If you're someone with a big heart and extra resources who can just parachute in, don't.

You're likely going to put yourself in harm's way and drain resources as someone qualified has to come in and rescue you.

There are many ways to be a hero. Showing up in a lawless area armed only with some bottled water and a Honda Civic probably isn't the best strategy for recovery at this point.

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