In the event of a disaster, whether precipitated by Mother Nature or the peace-loving terrorists, our city bureaucrats are endeavoring to help us get through it.
You should take that as a warning that you will be on your own if the misunderstood members of the religion of peace try to take us out with a dirty bomb or induce fear and panic in the region with a series of suicide bombers.
In such a case, we will be left to our own devices. Let's not fool ourselves. Let's not pretend our do-good government workers will be there to bandage an arm or provide comfort or tell us what to do, as if they will know what to do in the chaotic moments after an attack.
We have not come this far because we expected government to wipe our noses after a sneezing attack, although you do find more and more Americans looking to have such services. And, of course, those services will be provided to us "free" by ever-efficient government officials at the local, state and national levels.
Apparently, we learned nothing from Hurricane Katrina. You remember the gust of wind that hit New Orleans nearly two years ago. You remember the stirring response of city and state officials and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. You remember the cable screamers reporting live from the bridge, expressing fury and righteous indignation, while pleading with the government to do something, anything, to help the poor souls stranded there.
Anderson Cooper and Shepard Smith were especially brilliant at this, and no doubt earned whatever awards television presents to the righteous and the indignant.
Lots of us at the time actually thought that is how government usually functions — at speeds of slow and slower. I mean, really, you have been to the post office, which purports to be a model of efficiency by the modest standards of big government. You have seen the pace at which these poor people work. It always has been my contention that they are victims of chronic fatigue syndrome or Lyme disease.
In fact, that probably is how many of them landed the job. They checked off the box next to chronic fatigue syndrome and immediately moved to the front of the line to fill a valuable diversity niche.
What would it say about us as a people if we left behind the sufferers of chronic fatigue syndrome? So many of them land in the post office laboring — at speeds of slow and slower.
That is big government for you. And that kind of mushy thinking infects so many of our institutions. My house is going up in flames, I am about to be overcome by smoke, and now here is a one-armed, 100-pound female firefighter ready to carry me out. Great. Now we're both about to become corpses.
You certainly have read of or had firsthand experiences with the jokers of the D.C. Department of Fire and Emergency Medical Services. These jokers are always out to lunch or getting lost on the way to a call or, in the case of mugging victim David E. Rosenbaum, diagnosing the person as an incoherent drunk and transporting him to a hospital across the city instead of the one in his quadrant.
If that is the attitude of the first responders in the time of a major event, who needs them? But city leaders are working on it. Oh, yes. When something bad happens — not if, when — just sit tight and someone will be at your doorstep with a helping hand.
If not, you always can wait on the big television trucks to hit your stretch of asphalt and tell the nation of your sad plight and how government has let us down yet again.
Or you can take personal responsibility and draw up your own checklist before a disaster hits.
Personal responsibility versus the fatigued hand of big government? It would seem like a fairly easy choice.