I just finished listening to a press conference on the Waldo Canyon Fire. Someone in the audience asked (I am paraphrasing) ‘Why can’t we call on the armed forces since there are so many stationed here – they can help with this type of event – why can’t we call on them and why are they somewhere else when we need them here?’ – to which this question received an applause from the people listening.
The answer was something to the effect, that although there are many trained firefighters within the armed forces, stationed there in Colorado Springs (and/or deployed) – that there are federal laws that prevent our local officials from “calling on them” until our local and State resources are “exhausted”.
This is exactly what is wrong with how our disaster-management is set up. The pyramid structure that requires top-down dictation to localities that take the initial brunt of any disaster is a formula for disaster in itself. The Colorado National Guard should NOT be in Iraq and Afghanistan in fire-fights – they should be fighting fires in OUR State in Colorado Springs, and in other communities that have been so terribly affected by Mother Nature’s (and arsonists’) wrath.
What are these mighty laws that have taken our own troops and made them inaccessible to our own homes’ security? The Department of Homeland Security is one of the culprits – if you are going to protect “the homeland” – why in the world aren’t you protecting these people’s homes who are burning? So much tax-payer money in resources that are inaccessible to the taxpayers! This is unconscionable – there is no reason that more of our own resources that we pay for should not be more accessible to these people who desperately need it. Now! Not after the disaster gets “bad enough” to warrant the “help” and mighty hand of the federal government that is putting more money, time and effort in fire-fights than fighting our fires.
I am proposing and supporting legislation that brings home all State ‘National’ guards so that Governors and localities can access to these men and women who serve in the interest of their own State – and not the federal government.
And now I am watching, on 48 Hours Mystery, they are showing a soldier in prison with PTSD among other issues that came back from Iraq and killed his girlfriend because “you can take the soldier out of the war, but you can’t take the war out of the soldier”. Why on earth do we have soldiers doing the unthinkable, when they could be hear at home doing what they train to do – protect the American people?