News wires across the spectrum are filled with harrowing signs of unfolding social collapse in the wake of Sandy that could exacerbate in the days to come as power outages are expected to last a week, pitting residents against each other over access to gasoline, food and other necessary supplies in large pockets of the most densely populated area of the nation.
That desperation is sure to further intensify in proportion with strained resources, as order has already started to dissolve under reported limits on cash and commerce as electronic payment is suspended and those on food stamps are unable to use EBT payments.
Images of hungry people diving for food in dumpsters make clear that neither individuals nor governments were prepared to keep things running and meet basic needs despite the hype over the “superstorm” leading up to Sandy.
Shocking accounts of eroding civility have cropped up across social media and in reports. As Breitbart demonstrated, numerous threats were made at gun or knife point, while long lines for gasoline saw fights and high tension. Gas stations continue to be guarded by armed police, as supplies are rationed.
Just a few of these chronicled comments include:
Just watched two people beat the sh– out of eachother in the gas station….On the bright side i have a full tank of gas now!!. #yay
Just awful! RT @metrogypsy: Someone just pulled a knife at Greenpoint #gas station as line stretches with hours long wait #gettingrealFAST
— Camila Xavier (@camilaxavier) November 1, 2012
2hrs at line in Rt23 in Butler. Got to pump They ran out of gas two cars before me.On reserve and can’t make it to other station #njgas
— Divina Arpino (@thearpinos) November 1, 2012
Watching the breakdown of society at a gas station on Long Island. #sandysucks
— Christina (@wooly_says) November 1, 2012
fightss at the gas station #madness
— Frank leahey (@fleahey22) November 1, 2012
Lootings and break-ins are predictably taking place as well, including reports that many thieves are dressing up as Con Edison or FEMA employees to gain access to homes.
Food and water will continue to be an issue for days to come, with many residents already begging for help, with distribution of supplies hampered by a lack of power, and many groceries contaminated by the floods.
Meanwhile, it’s politics as usual on the campaign trail – not in trading blows between the Obama and Romney camps just days ahead of the scheduled election – but in praising FEMA and endorsing more power and billions more in money for the bloated agency.
GOP Governor Chris Christie, presiding over the heavily affected state of New Jersey, has been most notable in embracing federal disaster relief in force – and with full federal funding – even praising President Obama despite the tense election season reaching crescendo, irking many GOP politicos.
Mitt Romney had to quickly backtrack from a populist-toned campaign pitch to put power back in the hands of state and local entities during disaster, instead backing the big government FEMA solution that has proven ridiculously incompetent during past disasters despite extensive and costly planning for emergency plans and a blank check to Homeland Security’s mission.
Mainstream media have echoed this uncritical endorsement, giving FEMA preemptive praise for its efforts in Sandy. ‘FEMA is the solution,’ and other bold claims are made to ensure the public does not break out of the illusion that FEMA is its loving savior.
But FEMA remains an agency capable only of a mismatched response, too slow to handle the most immediate needs to contain potential chaos, but always on pace for a gradual power grab after the fact, actually feeding off a greater disaster.
Once again, this bloated government agency can’t and won’t help the masses in a disaster. Yet politicians throughout the corporate-owned two party system are lining up to meet any request for FEMA funds, already approaching $12 billion plus, despite its track record of failure.
While nearly 5 million people are without power for perhaps another week, the Huffington Post, among others, has identified 17 million living in FEMA’s disaster relief zone, soon to be occupied by an inefficient, top down control mechanism.
This infographic details the extent of areas and populations under FEMA’s thumb:
Notoriously, FEMA botched any meaningful relief efforts after Hurricane Katrina in terms of its primary mandate to quickly rescue and care for the needs of displaced victims, yet went over the top in creating an occupied martial law zone where guns were confiscated even in dry areas, the needy and vulnerable were placed in a hotbed of criminals at the Superdome and people were shot for trying to cross the bridge and exit the disaster zone.
Congressman Ron Paul weighed in as a lonely voice willing to critique FEMA’s history of inefficiency and naked power grabs, while defending the centuries of local aid organized within the community in simply helping each other:
There is a good case for stating that FEMA’s true intent is not to prevent natural disasters from devolving into social chaos, but rather to simply step in and soak up massive funds and dominate local and private relief agencies.