Thursday, September 29, 2005
No sooner do we get the Gulf hurricanes behind us and have settled back into business as usual -- pointing fingers, destroying careers and people, and maneuvering for political advantage, and looking for missing hot blondes -- than nature grabs the headlines again.
Wildfires are raging across a wide swath of the California countryside.
So far the containment crews have performed splendidly and there has been no loss of life, or much property for that matter.
One striking point comes across in the coverage -- that is competence. The local and state officials seem to be in Giuliani mode. There are no hysterical rants or pleas, no dithering. They have deployed their resources, give regular factual updates telling the media exactly what they're doing and why, and chart their progress in a reasonable and measured way. The residents are behaving responsibly too, evacuating in an orderly manner, et mirabile dictu, the media seem to be on good behavior, reporting what is happening, not what their fevered, racist imaginations could conjure.