October 25, 2014

Storm aftermath cause for celebration not blame

It’s not the mayor’s fault. It’s not the governor’s fault. It’s Mother Nature, and she can be an unpredictable, moody beast.
As you read this, the community is likely buried under several inches of snow. That’s what the forecast is predicting as we pen this editorial. Last week, Gardner, Edgerton and Spring Hill residents tested their winter mettle when the area was hit with sleet, freezing rain and a dusting of snow. While some complained about the clearing of side streets, the city and authorities responsible for the roadways did their best. Traffic moved — maybe not prettily or easily, but main thoroughfares were better than passable.
Hopefully, we Midwesterners will handle the thick, white blanket this week better than our southern peers last week.
Everyone saw the news coverage of stopped of roadways, causing hundreds of people to hunker down in shopping centers and Home Depots as crews worked to make the roads passable.
It was shocking to witness a few inches of snow turning Atlanta into a winter dead lands. In hindsight, we shouldn’t be that surprised.
Atlanta, after all, doesn’t see snow and ice all that often. And from this end, it seems the breakdown of services should be forgiven.
But that’s not how it’s panning out.
Pundits began blaming public officials first. Public officials turned the blame to forecasters, who they said didn’t issue accurate reports of when and how much snow would fall.
This is the kind of blame game where everyone will lose. Maybe a few small changes to where snow plows were positioned and additional pre-treatment of the roads may have lead to a better response to the snow in the south. Hindsight is 20/20.
If we were Atlanta patrons, however, and city or state officials began spending large sums of money on salt, sand and new snow plow equipment, we would have been upset spending money on things that would likely very rarely be used.
The response wasn’t perfect, but where Mother Nature is concerned, no amount of pre-planning can make for a seamless response.
We are disturbed by the immediate rush to place blame. We are even more concerned that everyone seems to look to the government first for a response to every minor inconvenience.
We are frequently reminded that we can’t know the future, and that the best laid plans always look weaker in the rearview mirror.
The story of Atlanta’s great 2014 snowstorm shouldn’t be that government should or could have done more. It was heartening to see that when highways and communications broke down, Atlanta didn’t become the post-apocalyptic scene we see in so many movies and television shows.
The citizens and local businesses opened their doors to one another to assist those who were stranded. The vast majority of people found a warm place to wait out the storm and the clean-up. The government didn’t solve the problem. Friends, neighbors and good Samaritans did.
We’d rather see a celebration than a blame game.

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