Wednesday, January 20, 2010

HAITI: PRAISE FOR THE RESCUERS AND RANTS ABOUT THE REPORTERS

See video: http://www.cnn.com/video/data/2.0/video/world/2010/01/25/am.haiti.search.rescue.cnn.html

It’s been a week now, and my heart is aching for the pain and suffering those poor souls are going through in Haiti. I can’t imagine how it will end. How can you fix something that’s been broken for so many years? True, the infrastructure, small though it was, can somehow improve with the right people handling it. But as we watch and wait, there seems to be no Haitian taking charge. Maybe it’s being done somewhere, somehow, but they need to put down the pencils and paper and start talking to their people.


We can only do so much for countries that are in such disrepair. We send our best and brightest, trained to save lives; doctors and nurses flock to help the injured. But what can they do without the supplies that a well-staffed hospital can offer. They bring in supplies, only to be turned back by a crowded and run-down airport. They come in ships, but cannot get the supplies over land because of the bad roads and thousands of people who want to commandeer the trucks and drive them away.

My son signed on for this. He took the training that is required for a First Response Search and Rescue. Just like so many others that are dispersed around the capital trying to find people who are still alive and buried under the rubble. They want to succeed, they dearly want to bring someone out and hear the clapping and crying of their loved ones. Sometimes it works; sometimes it doesn’t. One young girl the the team rescued was so badly injured that she died shortly after they pulled her out from under the tons of debris. But still they go on.


However, it seems like some reporters love to stir the pot, love to get people agitated. It makes for such a great story. Maybe they’ll get a Pulitzer for their reporting. They look into the camera, put on an “I feel your pain” look and then say something so asinine that it voids the whole effort of those brave men who are trying so hard to save people. I’ve seen this on CNN and Fox News and I want to strangle someone.


They must search the crowd until they find someone who is in the depths of despair; someone who is so angry that he can’t wait to spew it into the microphone. I don’t blame the Haitians. They are suffering unimaginable things. But I blame the reporters, who hold the mic under the person’s chin, and then ask: “How do you feel about the help taking so long to arrive?”

What the hell type of question is that? Does this reporter know what it takes to deploy thousands of men, equipment from all over the world and get them to Haiti? Has he even bothered to look into it? I doubt it.

The man answers that he doesn’t understand why it is taking so long to get help, so long to rescue all the people that are trapped under buildings, that he is hungry and his family is hurt. Just what the reporter wanted to hear as he nods sympathetically while standing there in his Tommy Bahamas shirt and shorts, leather penny loafers, full stomach and wallet, then looks into the camera and says: “There you have it folks, the true feelings of the Haitians. Why is it taking so long?”

I’ll tell you why. My son and hundreds of other rescuers are spending ten to eighteen hours on one person who they think might still be alive. They put their life in harm’s way as they straddle hunks of timber and concrete perilously close to crumbling. They work in 24 hour shifts, not knowing if another quake could drop them all below. They do it because they were trained to, because they care, because they want to save a life, even if it takes 24 hours, which some single rescues have.

They are split into teams around the city. They are working while the reporter is asleep in his comfy little quarters. They are bending over piles of rubble, hacking away with equipment to break away barriers that have fallen on the victims while the reporter waves a mic under their noses. But the rescuers pay little attention to the reporters. They are there to save lives.

The rescuers flew to Haiti on cargo planes, packed to the rafters with their equipment. Cold, no toilets, no air conditioning. Wonder how the reporter traveled? Could it be in the Network jet? Would they have had snacks of caviar and crackers? The Search and Rescue teams are getting MREs(meals-ready-to-eat).

If anyone reading this would like to take a stab at answering some of these questions, please feel free to do so.

To keep current on what our guys are doing over there, click on: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?ref=profile&id=748640194#/pages/Los-Angeles-County-Fire-Tech-Services/268856409432?ref=mf

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