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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Disaster planning needs civilian input

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Most people are aware that the greatest loss of liberty occurs when one's own government centralizes power, not when a foreign force invades. This loss happens most frequently during war. After the war, the centralized power is reduced but it never gets back to the original level. This same phenomenon is now occurring with respect to disaster preparedness.

Most responses are being planned by government, and at increasingly higher levels of government. If we want to retain our freedoms I believe that civilians and those not involved in law enforcement must organize and plan, too, so that government does not completely dominate.

My last position in the U.S. Air Force Reserve was as an emergency preparedness liaison officer. I could see even then, some 15 years ago, that emergency response was being taken over by government entities. The pace only quickened after Sept. 11, 2001. Some provisions in laws like the Patriot Act reinforce this trend.

We need to exercise that eternal vigilance that is the price of liberty.



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