Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Lessons from Hurricane Katrina (via Libertarians of PA)

Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania
3863 Union Deposit Road #223
Harrisburg, PA 17109

For Immediate Release:
Date: 09/14/2005

For more information contact:
Doug Leard (Media Relations) or David Jahn (Chair) at 1-800-R-RIGHTS

Lessons from Hurricane Katrina
Pennsylvania Should Encourage Private Responses

Harrisburg, PA -- The Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania (LPPA) extends its deepest sympathies to those who lost so much from Hurricane Katrina. In the days ahead, much national attention will focus on how the loss of life and property could have been minimized and on policy matters regarding disaster preparation and costs.

Local, state and federal responses to Katrina are not within the LPPA's scope, but lessons learned that apply to Pennsylvania are. One observation is that in times of crisis, communities that are highly dependent on government are highly vulnerable if all levels of government can't coordinate, predict and prepare for every possible contingency.

The lesson is that citizens and local communities need to accept their personal responsibility for self-reliance in times of crisis and that government must not obstruct private relief efforts. To that end the LPPA suggests a legislative review of state laws and regulations to identify those that deter emergency preparedness and response. Some obvious focus areas include:

* Private Organizations Aiding Disaster Recovery – From the Salvation Army to Wal-Mart to churches to credit unions, private organizations have been effective all along the Gulf Coast. We should ask our own private organizations how Pennsylvania can avoid obstructing their efforts during a disaster here. In addition, local businesses and service groups, being on the ground here, should be given latitude since they have invested locally and have special incentive to minimize damage and maximize recovery.

* Medical Licensing Requirements – Out-of-state medical professionals kind enough to offer their services along the Gulf Coast were stopped due to licensing issues. The rapid or automatic granting medical professionals a functioning status here should be a high priority.

* Absolute Right of Self-Defense – In a time of crisis, citizens’ right to self and community defense must not be impeded or questioned by government authorities. Nor should it be for those volunteering for the relief effort.

* Keep Vicitms’ and Responders’ Affairs Private – Some private organizations helped to arrange victims’ mail delivery to their offices where some of that mail was illegally opened and monies taken from victims who received aid. State private property laws should reinforce failed federal laws in these instances for victims and responders.

LPPA spokesman Doug Leard added, “Of course, a well-balanced state budget, a lean state legislature, a healthy economic climate, the absence of parasitic slush funds, would make it easier for Pennsylvanians and private organizations to make preparations and to actually assist during a time of crisis. That in turn makes it easier for the state to step in when truly necessary."

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